Work Life Balance

Mommy Wars: Even If I Work From Home, My Children Will Go To Daycare

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about working from home. I’m in the process of transitioning my career a little, and will be spending less time in a traditional office environment. When I started discussing this with my friends and family, everyone was thrilled for me and “all that free time.” They were celebrating that I would be able to take my daughter to and from pre-school, I could volunteer in her classroom and go on field trips, we could spend more time painting and playing… everyone was so excited for this whole new world of opportunities that opens up when you work from home.

I was terrified. Where was the work going to fit in between the storytime and swim classes we would now have time for? Even if I didn’t have an office, I would still be expected to complete my assignments. In fact, my time would probably be monitored more closely, because I wouldn’t be sitting behind my desk where everyone could see me. It’s wonderful get more involved with my daughter, but not if my work starts to suffer and my stress levels soar.

Suddenly, the cost of daycare didn’t seem that extravagant. All of a sudden, I realized just how accustomed I am to the traditional office setting and stable daytime schedule. I like the routine of taking my daughter to daycare, knowing that she’ll have fun, socialize with other kids and maybe learn something. For my sanity’s sake, I appreciate being able to compartmentalize my work and home lives. Because I completely trust the woman who takes care of my daughter, I never sit around at work worried about how her day is going. When I’m in the office, I’m focused on my tasks and projects. When I’m at home, it’s all eyes on my little girl. That’s our time to connect, cuddle and get creative. The thought of breaking those boundaries is scary for me.

 So even though I feel like a terrible mother for not wanting to spend additional time with my beautiful daughter, she’ll continue to go to daycare, even if I work from home. I need a separation in those two areas so that I can give them both the focus and attention they deserve. I need the distance. My friends and family, even my husband, can’t completely understand why I’m so against the idea of having my daughter home with me. After all, isn’t this what working mothers are supposed to live for? Isn’t this ultimate arrangement for a woman who loves her kids and her job? You get to combine them both isn’t one wonderful mixture of a day!

My daughter is an energetic and lively pre-schooler. I can’t imagine trying to get serious work done while she’s home. I get frustrated when my co-workers interrupt me! Just imagine a three year old bouncing around the office, wanting to play pirates. And even more than worrying about my work performance, I know that getting behind or overwhelmed is extremely stressful for me. During those times, I’m not patient or controlled, I’m frazzled. I don’t want to take that frustration out on my daughter. I want her to know that when I’m with her, she’s the focus of my attention.

I realize that it may be blasphemous to say, but I don’t want to combine my personal and private lives. I enjoy keeping them in two separate areas. If work is going to invade my home, it’ll have to do it when my daughter’s away from the house. I may be a working mother, but I don’t want to be working and mothering at the same time.

(Photo: Money Saving Mom)