The work-from-home mothering truths

March 20, 2013

Dear Max

This isn’t a post about what’s better – working fulltime in an office, or working flexibly from home.

Rather, this is a post about how things are challenging for us right now, as I suspect they will always be – whether you’re in an office away from home, or at home trying to work. See, you’re at the stage where you’re begging me not to go to work in the mornings, and when I leave from home for afternoon meetings or functions, it’s the same.

It’s hard for a three-year-old to understand why I need to work, and talk of Lego, aeroplane rides, iPad apps, food and school activities just aren’t doing the trick at making the separation easier. And most of the time, you insist on coming to work with me to “help”, and you aren’t interested to hear that your school is way more fun, and that hanging out with me while I work really isn’t. You just want your mom.

It’s upsetting me at the moment, not because I feel guilty about working – take away my work and we don’t have much safety or comfort. Plus working makes me happy and feel valued, and in turn, I hope I can mother better as a fulfilled mom.

Rather, it saddens me that it’s so hard many times for you to let go of me. When I see you thrashing and crying “Mommeeee, don’t gooooo” when I pull out the driveway, or turn my back on you in class, I hurt.

And yes, it’s fricking awesome to be flexible, and be able to fetch you from activities and spend more time with you in the afternoons, but this is the reality right now:

– It’s tough trying to get work done in the afternoons when I’m at home. You often have expectations from me when I’m here, and who could blame you?

– I feel guilty when I leave for meetings in the afternoons, because it’s another separation for you, and more tears you need to go through.

– A lot of the time I do some work at night and on weekends, taking up more time from being with you.

– I often think about getting an office space, but then I’ll miss out on time with you in the afternoons.

– The absence of routine is a friend and foe at times.

– I don’t know which is better – work fullday and spend quality time with you in the evenings, or work flexibly at home where work and leisure times clash


This is my parenting challenge at the moment. I know it will soon evolve into something else, but for now this is what I’m grappling with.

x Your Working Mom

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  • shane

    i think work fulltime then at least you get to spend quality time at night. thats always a great thing. I miss that so much

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