Things were moving in a routine until a pee stick turned positive. I was overjoyed. I was the kind of a person who had always wanted to have kids. I was the kind of a person who had thought about baby names even before I decided to get married. I was also the kind of person who thrived on productivity and friendships. A workplace was too dear for me to quit. I liked to get things done. I was hoping that I would be that person who would go to work in fancy maternity gear right until my water breaks. But I had to stay at home due to complications in my pregnancy. That desperate situation led me to search for my options to stay productive.
I slowly started to find freelance work including web content writing, translating and illustrating. That feeling when you finish something on time and send it off and receive a pay cheque for your hard work, that is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world. I wasn’t ready to let that go. I sent a finished illustration right before the day my son was born. I received the payment on the very next day after my son was born. To be able to do that was an incredible feeling.
The world of freelancing includes risky waters. You might not find work all the time. You might not find the desirable kind of work all the time. At times you might not find time to finish all the work you have at hand. It is really not a smooth sailing. Working from home is a difficult choice to make. But for a new mother who also happens to live away from relatives and who needs to make sure that the baby gets the best care in the initial years, working from home is a very desirable choice. Working from home has its pros and cons. I would like to paint an exact and honest picture as experienced by yours truly.
Flexibility: Working from home offers you great flexibility with respect to schedules, deadlines and your working style. If staying up late and working for a couple of hours straight is what is suitable for you, you are free to do that. You do not have to miss out the morning hours you get to cuddle with your kid or play peek-a-boo. You can work whenever you feel comfortable and at peace. You do not have to keep a tab on the bus/metro/cab timings since all you need is to go to your work desk at home and switch on your computer and start working. You can even put your laptop in the baby’s play area and watch the baby crawl and play while you work.
Financial Stability: A sudden baby break from regular office space might create a huge gap in terms your financial balance. It is only commonsense that every household plays its own little games of debits and credits, interests and mortgages. When one person decides to be a stay at home mom, it would give you a picture perfect frame straight from a baby product advertisement where the kid and the mother play around all day. But things are not as rosy as the ad world depicts it to be. The only way to keep things moving even if on a tight rope is to be a work from home mom rather than a mere stay at home mom.
Watch the Kid Grow: Now this is the most tempting factor which connects freelancing and parenting. There are certain things you do not want to miss out in life. Your child’s first words or his first individual steps might be one among those. When you work from home, you are technically working. But you are also at home. You will be available at home all the time and you will not miss out on a thing in the child’s growth chart.
Peace of Mind: You leave your kid at some infant care center or even with a relative who baby sits on your way to office. While you are supposed to be working in office, all you can think about is how your baby will be coping with someone who is not ‘you’. For someone who can avail a lot of maternity leave and has reliable relatives to baby sit, peace of mind at work can still be achievable. But to someone like me, working from home seemed to be the only possible way to keep a sane mind while working.
Traffic Juggles: Another best deal I got out of this work from home option is that I do not hassle with the routine heavy traffic any more while commuting to a work place. Commuting, be it in a bus, car or metro required more energy than it ever required to actually be productive at work. While I was working in an office far away from where I lived, I was drained of the energy I had stocked up for the entire day by the time I reached the office. Working from home seems to cut down my time wasted on the roads drastically and I am thankful.
Social Life: This article is not meant to paint an unrealistically beautiful picture of working from home. It has its own negative effects on you as well. It is just that even with the negative points, it just turned out to be the optimal option for work for me right now. One of the things I miss most in this work from home deal is that I miss my social life I used to enjoy while I was working in an office. Now all my colleagues are virtual beings who interact with me through email. It is not a bad thing to interact with people online. But you will start missing the social life nonetheless. In a work from home scenario, it is easier to be lonely (excluding the presence of the baby and the partner) unless you have friends who drop in all the time. It used to be effortless to have pep talk in an office when all you had to do is duck your head, slide your chair slowly to the other cubicle and sit and chat. Well, no pain, no gain, I’ll say. You can always hold house parties; invite friends over and chit chat. You would have to miss the office gossip still.
Dressing up: I do miss dressing up and going to office everyday. On a good office day, you take your time to pick your clothes and matching accessories and you carry yourself in style that people will notice you. You will get those admiring looks from the fellow commuters. You will get good comments from the colleagues. Now that is something I miss. I do dress up everyday even when I am home just to put me into the right mood to work. If I sit in my pajamas and work, and sleep in the same pajamas and wake up in the same pajamas, well that doesn’t sound like it is a lot of fun. Even if that would mean saving a lot of time on the laundry, I make it a point to dress up smart and sit and work. Changing to pajamas at the end of the day means something this way.
Day Light: Another important trouble with working from home is that you can easily go on for weeks together without seeing the light of the day. You can be a nocturnal being and work at night. Now that is a mistake you are committing to yourself. You should, if ever you intend to work from home, make it a point that you have a good night’s sleep by the end of the day. You must get out at least once a day and go for a walk or something to get your share of sunlight. Now, in my case, my little one is programmed in such a way that he needs his evening walk everyday. So even if I chose to stay indoors, I will be forced to go out and play.
That’s all folks!