As a parent, one of the most important things to me is being able to work around my family commitments, and being there for my children as much as possible.
Working from home has allowed me to do this- I have the flexibility to set my own working hours, and make changes if any family commitments present themselves during the day.
If one of my kids is sick and can’t go to school- that’s ok, they can stay home and I’ll be there to look after them.
I need to pick up my kids after school- that’s ok, we live a 2-minute drive from school. I don’t have to race home an hour earlier to make it in time.
During school holidays, I don’t need to worry about organising daycare or a babysitter. I’m at home, the kids are at home, everyone is happy (well, mostly!).
However, working from home can have its disadvantages. Other people think that we’re not really working if we’re working from home, or that we work in our PJs or roll out of bed at lunchtime. After I drop the kids off at school, I probably go home and have a nap for a few hours. Yeah right.
There are other myths too, and I’m going to bust them in this post.
7 myths about parents who work from home
Myth #1: We sleep most of the day
While it might be tempting to drop the kids off at school then go home and have a nap, the reality is far from this (unless we have the flu). Most working parents understand the importance of maximising your productivity while the kids are at school. Working from home, you can be more productive because you’re not sitting in traffic or driving long distances to your place of work.
When I drop off my kids at school, I know I have a set number of hours to get everything done that I need to get done. And I’m sure you’ll agree, once lunch is over, the rest of the afternoon flies! Before you know it, your precious children are home from school and it’s time to organise dinner.
Sleeping during the day is not being productive!
Myth #2: We watch daytime television
Have you seen what’s on TV these days? Absolute garbage. And it’s worse during the day! B-grade 80s movies at midday, repeats of boring reality TV shows and commercials after commercials. I find it hard enough to keep up with my favourite Netflix series, let alone waste my days watching cringe-worthy soapies and talk shows.
Myth #3: We attend all of our kids’ school events
One of the reasons I work from home is to be there for my kids. However, sometimes it’s not possible. I have deadlines, even though I work for myself, and sometimes I can’t make it to a school event or see my child be given an award.
Parents who work from home have to prioritise what’s important- usually we can be flexible and rearrange our days so that we can make it to the important school events. Sometimes, we can’t be flexible and have to say no. We feel guilty about it, but when putting things into perspective, it’s not the end of the world.
Myth #4: We’re always available for a coffee catch up
Just because we’re home, doesn’t mean we can always catch up for a coffee or a lunch date. We have a schedule to stick to, similar to someone working in an office. You can contact us to see if we’re available, but don’t expect us to drop everything last minute for a catch up. Don’t take it personally- we’d love to, but we have deadlines too.
Myth #5: You can drop by for a visit whenever you like
Yes we’re home every day, but please don’t drop by for a visit unannounced. It would be like walking into someone’s office or work cubicle without any prior warning- you wouldn’t do it. It could be awkward if I’m in the middle of a Skype meeting (or if I’m in my PJs).
Myth #6: Our house is always clean
Even though we spend more time at home than most other people do, doesn’t mean that we spend our days cleaning our homes. It can be tempting to wash the dishes and put on a load of washing, but most days I don’t have the time to do housework during the day.
If we were working in an office, we wouldn’t have time for housework during the day. Our home is our office- just because we’re there, doesn’t mean we spend our time cooking and cleaning. We’re working too.
Myth #7: Our work quality isn’t as good
This myth goes back to the previous myths about what we do at home during the day- that we take naps, wear our PJs all day, do housework, watch television. If you’re doing these things while working from home, maybe your work quality isn’t that great. But for the majority of work from home parents, the work quality can be better than if they were in an office full of distractions, meetings, emails etc…Often they can be more productive at home, and so produce better work.
While there are many benefits to working from home, it isn’t a perfect choice- there are advantages and disadvantages with any type of work space, whether it’s at home, or in an office environment. The most important thing to remember is to choose what works well for you and your family.