Article by Wendy McCance
I have always dreamed of working from home. Over the years, I have known friends and family who had what I considered to be the best of both worlds, a paycheck and a home office. These days that is my life as well and I am thrilled. As a mother of three kids, I have to say, it is also incredibly challenging to pull of this extraordinary feat.
I have worked full-time since I was old enough to move out on my own. Over the years I got married and had children, but unfortunately, I was never able to be a stay at home mom. Working full-time with little kids at home was downright painful.
When the kids were young, I was an account manager for a wine company. I spent my days going to restaurants to meet with the person in charge of the restaurants wine menu. Many times I would stop into an account and see a mom having a meal with her children. Each time I would tear up. I missed my kids so much and desperately wished for that life myself.
Over the years the work I did changed. I was always looking for that job that would provide a good income while allowing me more flexibility to be with my kids.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that my life took a drastic turn. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and working at any job became a huge challenge. It was just too painful to stand or sit for extended amounts of time. Exhaustion would take over and I would need a nap just to get through the day. My health was not in line with any jobs away from the house that I could think of doing. It was this new challenge that forced my hand. I had to work, I needed a paycheck. I was having a miserable time working away from home. I had to make some major changes so that I could continue to take care of myself as well as my family.
It’s funny how you can spend years wishing for something and only when you are backed up against a wall do you see that dream realized.
I took advantage of the fact that I was getting offered some jobs writing for some companies and decided to pursue writing as a full-time stay at home job. It was the best decision I ever made. I love writing and have had some incredible opportunities. Staying home has done wonders for me. I can work any odd hours I want. If I feel sore and need to stretch, I can take a quick bike ride. If I feel exhausted, I will take a short nap. My world has turned around and I finally feel in control of my future again.
I have to admit, along with the perks has come some challenges. My kids are much older now. The youngest is in middle school. You would think that my timing would be ideal for working from home. Even so, the kids don’t get it. If they see me, they think I am available. If I am working on my computer, my kids aren’t able to grasp that I am not goofing off, but actually doing work - for pay.
I tend to believe that they have wanted me to stay home all of these years as badly as I wanted to stay home with them. Now that I am finally around more, they are looking to get that extra time and attention they had been craving. I have had to literally set aside time where I go in my bedroom and close the door to get some work done. The kids know that if the door is closed, I am on an important call. If my door is open, they can come in and ask a question or say hi, but I am working and am not available to hang out.
During the school year I had my schedule down to a science. The kids left for school and I worked from 7:30am until 2:45pm when everyone would start coming home. I would then be available to drive kids to their activities, make dinner and help with homework. I even got some time in playing frisbee with the kids. Once my husband got home and dinner was over, I would go back to work and my husband would take over.
Now that the school year has come to an end, I will have to tweak my schedule so that the kids have my attention, but my work won’t suffer. It’s a balancing act, but well worth it.
As far as procrastinating, being distracted or any of the other issues I often hear about when working from home, I haven’t had those issues. I am so happy to have found my niche that I become almost possessed. I actually have a hard time pulling myself away from the computer. If I didn’t have a family to raise, I think I would become a hermit spending my time typing out endless stories. Seriously, I have a hard time stopping and relaxing.
So my question to you is, do you have flexibility in your career? Do you ever work from home, or have you ever wanted to? As a friend of mine once said, she could never work from home because she would get lonely. She craves the interaction between employees. She has a highly social personality and is at her best when surrounded by others. I on the other hand love my time alone. I think I love it a little too much. Maybe that is one of the traits needed to be successful as a person working from home. What do you think?
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]
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