The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

It happened again yesterday. Right in the middle of an important conference call, I heard the tell-tale footsteps. I watched the door knob of my room/office door turn and knew once again that my two-year-old had ignored my pictorial “Do Not Disturb” sign. We practiced not bothering Mommy while the sign is up and asking Sissy instead, but apparently he forgets.

With stealthy movements that might cause the FBI to consider me for employment, I picked him up and put a finger to my lips. Miraculously, he kept quiet until I got outside of hearing distance from the phone to see what he needed. This time.

By the time I got back to the phone, I had missed a few key pieces of information. I guess I’ll have to e-mail my boss for them. Again.

Working from home cannot be described in a cut and dry bullet point list. The scenario I just gave could be on the pro or the con side. True, it would be easier to listen to a conference call without worry that the boss is going to ask, “Do I hear someone’s baby?” As a Type A, “just get it done” person, I like to work without interruptions until the job is done.

However, the fact that my two-year-old has access to me instead of a day care worker is priceless in my opinion. It’s worth the antics I have to go through to fill up a sippy cup or deal with a discipline issue in the middle of my work time.

The truth is that the pros and cons are kind of jumbled. I have a flexible schedule, but I also have flexible pay. I can work and home school my kids, but some days one or the other priority has to suffer. I can see  each developmental stage first hand, but I’m also here for every temper tantrum and potty accident.

Lunch with the girls has been replaced with PBJ sandwiches with boys who like to make rude noises and one girl who enjoys reprimanding them.

A quiet, corner office has been replaced with a corner desk in my bedroom that is sometimes subjected to hurtling footballs when kids forget it is off-limits.

Career advancement moves only as fast as my kids’ independence advances.

I love being my kids’ teacher, my own boss, the chief home manager and head chef. Type A, remember? But some days, it’s hard. And that’s perfectly fine. Because whether you are a non-paid, stay-at-home mom or a high powered executive with no children, I’m guessing you have hard days, too.

For you, the reader: Do you find your pros and cons are actually be two sides of the same coin? What are the best and worst things about working at home for you?

10 Comments

  • Retha Groenewald

    February 12, 2013 at 8:18 pm Reply

    I love working at home. From getting ready for work to being at work takes me time walking from one room to the other. My time is flexible. The con is if I am not careful, I work longer hours from home.

    • JenniferLSelf

      February 13, 2013 at 7:21 pm Reply

      Retha,
      I find the same thing when working from home. The work is always there available, so it requires constant vigilance on my part to make sure my children and their work doesn’t suffer. Thanks for your comment and for visiting today!

  • Judy @ Contented at Home

    February 12, 2013 at 10:04 pm Reply

    I definitely agree that the positives and negatives are closely intertwined. I love that I can work from home, but because I am at home, my children don’t always realize that I’m working. In fact, I recently chose to go with a flat monthly fee instead of an hourly rate, in large part because I know I’ll have so many interruptions.
    I’ve found that the positives far outweigh the negatives–I just have to adjust my expectations!

    • JenniferLSelf

      February 13, 2013 at 7:20 pm Reply

      Adjusting my expectations is key! You are very right. I love your idea of charging a monthly fee rather than hourly. Hourly rates get very difficult to judge when dealing with children at home as well. Thanks for your comment!

  • Jaynessa

    February 13, 2013 at 6:20 pm Reply

    I’m glad you posted this. You are right, it’s hard work, and sometimes I wish it was easier, but then I remember all I get to be part of! I love homeschooling my children, and being here to see everything my 3 year old learns on his own, and I love spending time with my boys…but sometimes it would be easier to get done if the boys weren’t there at every turn.

    Sometimes I am a bit envious that my husband gets to leave the house 5 days a week, and there are weeks I’m lucky if I get out of the house just once. However when those moments come that I’ve been home to witness something great with my children, it’s all worth it!

    • JenniferLSelf

      February 13, 2013 at 7:19 pm Reply

      Yes, don’t we all have to deal with husband envy? 🙂 The truth is he misses a lot more than we do with the kids, so it’s a good trade-off, I guess. Thanks so much for your comment and for stopping by!

  • DaLynn McCoy

    February 13, 2013 at 7:37 pm Reply

    There are absolutely both positives and negatives to working at home (or working anywhere for that matter), but I certainly wouldn’t want to give up the moments with my kids here at home. The trouble for me is staying on task and getting things done, when there is so much to do and it all calls for my attention!

    And, psst, there’s a key code where you can mute yourself off of those conference calls. Kind of like the *69 for calling back the last person who called you, if you know how to do that, only you dial it when you get on the call and it mutes you out so no one else can hear your background noise. I don’t remember what it is though. Super helpful, eh? LOL

    • JenniferLSelf

      February 13, 2013 at 7:53 pm Reply

      Thanks for the tip on conference calls, DaLynn! For some reason, the mute wasn’t working that day. Grr! Just when you need it. 🙂

      I’m with you on so much calling for my attention. I have to take a deep breath and say, “OK, what HAS to be done today?”

      Thanks for your comment!

  • Susan Godfrey

    February 14, 2013 at 10:22 pm Reply

    I absolutely LOVE working at home! It’s such a blessing to be able to be home for my kids. But it can be trying as well.

    • JenniferLSelf

      February 15, 2013 at 4:30 pm Reply

      Thanks for stopping by, Susan! I love your site. We try to do real food, real frugal around here most of the time. I’ll be following you!

      I agree that working at home is a great blessing. I know not everyone is so blessed.

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