2 Legit 2 Quit

My Job is Real!Work at Home Mom (WAHM)

When I tell people that I work from home, they’re often skeptical about the nature of my job. My husband and I recently went to lunch with another couple, and when I told them I worked from a home office, they asked me if it was a ‘real’ job.

Yes, I patiently explained, it’s a real job for a real company. I’m not sitting in my pj’s all day putting together craft kits, processing medical records or participating in some pyramid scheme that’s advertised on late-night infomercials. The job is totally legit, even if I do work in sweat pants and t-shirts most days.

We live in a rural, conservative area, and most families adhere to a fairly traditional structure where the husband is the breadwinner and the wife is the homemaker. While there’s nothing wrong with this arrangement, my family doesn’t fit that mold.

I have a chip on my shoulder when it comes to my job. When we get together with friends who fit the more traditional family model, I feel like my job is dismissed. When talking with the family breadwinner, the conversation will inevitably turn to work, and my job is casually blown off.

I feel like shouting, ‘Just because I work from home doesn’t mean I sit around all day twiddling my thumbs. I work my ass off and get paid a damn good salary, thank you very much!’

OK, so maybe that chip is actually a boulder.

What people don’t seem to understand is that working from home often means longer hours and fewer breaks. You never really get away from your job because it’s always there. I realize this is true of most jobs today because technology never allows us to fully unplug and disconnect. But it’s even worse when your office is in your home.

I also have a theory that an eight-hour day in a home office is equivalent to at least ten hours in a ‘real’ office. You’re never interrupted by co-workers stopping by to shoot the breeze. You don’t take breaks to participate in office parties and events. Without the social interactions around the water cooler, you can really crank up the productivity.

Domestic Goddess I Am Not

Of course, it takes a certain mentality to work from home and stay productive. When I first started working from home, my mom innocently asked me, ‘Don’t you get distracted and want to do things around the house?’

Ha, you’d think my mom would know me better! I’d much rather work than do almost anything domestic.

But because I’m not in a traditional office, there’s often pressure –albeit mostly self-inflicted –to work AND get things done around the house. Or take care of errands that can only be done during regular business hours.

If my boss is reading this, no need to worry. My house is a disaster. When the girls get home, they find me on the phone or tapping away at the keyboard instead of putting a gourmet meal on the table.

Yes, it’s much easier for me to rearrange my schedule for unexpected doctor’s appointments, but I still have to make up that lost time, which often means working in the evenings after the girls are tucked in for the night.

Benefits of Working from Home

But working a few extra hours in the evenings is more than a fair trade off. I can take a break to attend the girls’ school parties in the middle of the afternoon. I can be there when they aren’t feeling well and need to come home. And, when the stars align, I can enjoy lunch with a friend or a much-needed workout. Major props to the working moms who juggle parenting and professional responsibilities from a cubicle or office - I don’t know how you do it!

I’m extremely fortunate and thankful to have a job that allows me to work from home. Just don’t ask me if it’s a ‘real’ job unless you want an earful!

(Did any other early 80′s babies catch the reference to MC Hammer? Do you remember rocking the hand motions to this song on the grade school bus?)

15 thoughts on “2 Legit 2 Quit

  1. Very nice article, Nicole. I totally agree with you on the fact that your work is always there when you work from home. When I worked from home, I actually think I had put more hours in at my home office than I ever had at any traditional office. On one hand, you have the lack of social interaction, which allows more time to actually work. On the other hand, working alone was – well – lonely sometimes.

    But, since you have your beautiful baby girls and husband, I am sure that helps fill the void. Having worked with you for several years now, you have embraced this life and you do a fantastic job at it!! I know how hard you work!! Keep it up. I look forward to more posts on your blog!

    • Thanks Alena. You’re absolutely right, working from home can get lonely. While my dog MacAfee is a great office companion, he isn’t the best conversationalist! I try to make time in my schedule to go out to lunch at least once a week so I get some real human interaction. While I’m on the phone all the time, it’s just not the same as seeing your colleagues in person. I’m a pretty social person, so this was one of the biggest adjustments I had to make when I starting working from home.

    • Hey girl! Yes, that’s a very fond memory for me. Do you remember our dance routines for ‘Step-by-Step’ by New Kids on the Block?

  2. I had a lot of trouble with this when I transitioned from being a teacher to working from home as a freelance writer. (Not that many people even respected teaching as a profession, but that’s a different story.) I find that a year later I’m actually getting over it, which is nice. I guess I just realized that I’m happy and my husband is really supportive, so I just care less about what other people think.

    • You are a better person than me! I’ve been working from a home office for almost eight years now, and I still get defensive about my job. I need to take a page from your book and just get over it because I love my job AND I get to work in my sweats!

  3. Ah, so YOU’RE the one with the dogs in the background barking away while you are on conference calls!! Well written post. Couldn’t agree more with work being MORE available from the home office, and you add on that extra commuting time that you would spend in the car, that you work on the computer.

  4. Discovered your blog today, and after reading a few recent entries I had to start at the beginning. I work at home as well. I don’t ever feel the need to tidy up during work hours either. But I do step away from my office when work hours are over, even if the work phone continues to ring. Boundaries save my sanity.

    Btw, I somehow missed that there was a Merrell outlet in Dawsonville. I’m in North Cobb. Time for a trip!

    • Welcome Leslie and thanks for commenting! There are new outlets opening in Towne Lake soon, so I’m hoping there are some good stores there. Would be much more convenient than the trek to North GA! I could have spent a small fortune in the Merrell store!

  5. Finallllly clicked my way over here from Turkey Runner (Meagan’s) blog – although I think we co-comment on more than one blog. :) In the “learning about a new blog” way, I found myself on this page.

    And boy does this resonate with me so strongly. I’m not a Mom, but I recently moved overseas with my husband, and took the opportunity for a career readjustment. Now I, too, work from home, in a profession that isn’t really highly in the country where I currently live (Singapore). I also have the characteristics (young, white, married female) of a group of women who often DON’T work, in this country. Often when we go out (especially in professional settings), I find myself explaining to people (begging that they understand?) that I DO have a real job, and I DO earn money, and I’m NOT sitting at home all day watching my nail polish dry.

    So – keep on keepin’ on. Looking forward to joining you for your journey! :)
    Holly @ Run With Holly recently posted…How I (emphasis on I) Am Marathon TrainingMy Profile

    • I’m so glad you found me Holly! Just popped over to your blog, and it looks like we run in a lot of the same circles. And have very similar running goals! Just added you to my Bloglovin’ feed so I can keep up with all of your adventures. I can only imagine the comments you get as a working woman in Singapore. But what an amazing experience!

  6. I just found your blog and love it already! You sound like a busy momma for sure! What do you do from home? Sometimes, I wish I could find a job from home in my field!!!

  7. Ugg, I’ve worked from home for 11 years and I still have the “bolder on my shoulder” about it being a legit job. So frustrating! But there are so many rewards as a mom that outweigh the negatives :)

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