Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work from home? Imagined yourself having all the freedom in the world to work on your own terms. PLUS the ability to keep your house in tip top shape and your family organized. Fold the laundry between conference calls, clean the kitchen over your mid morning coffee, throw supper in the oven on your lunch break. You can literally HAVE IT ALL AND DO IT ALL! Or so I thought.
Freedom & Flexibility
For more than 4 years I have been my own boss full time and I LOVE WORKING FROM HOME! After all, I am a homebody, an introvert, maybe even a borderline recluse at times. There is no where I love to be more than curled up in the comfort of my home with my family. I would be lying if I said that it was all sunshine and rainbows and there weren’t some hard truths I have had to learn or at least accept.
The Other Side
When we think of a work from home lifestyle we tend to focus on the freedom and flexibility. The Choices! Oh how I love the Choices this lifestyle has afforded us. But, there is another side to working and living in the same space we often discount. We don’t talk about the hard parts, the challenges, the guilt and the pressure. Many of us don’t consider the common misconceptions, the pressure (whether from outside or within) to do it all, the misunderstanding of how “free” our time is.
Raising a Family
As a parent who works from home, we are spoiled! We are! I couldn’t imagine raising my family any other way. The freedom I have to be there for the things that matter while not sacrificing my income or bargaining for vacation days, to us, is priceless. Working my business around family life, having the freedom to spend my time where I choose is truly a beautiful thing. I see so many families struggling to make it all work, or missing out because they couldn’t get a day off and it makes me value even more the choices I am afforded.
We All Have Our Challenges
Every career, every workplace has its challenges, and a work from home career is not one without its own set. Existing in one space for it all is my personal challenge. Let me explain…I work from home, I live at home, I raise my family at home, I eat, sleep, breathe and spend most of my days at home! Most days, I love it!
My struggle began 4 years ago, when my husband and I began renovating our fixer upper. Between work, family, extra curricular activities and raising growing boys, time is becoming harder to find. We try to carve out 1 weekday evening or even a couple hours on a weekend. At first it was exciting and fun to dream up and begin a new project…until it wasn’t. Most days our home has donation piles in our entry, drywall sheets in the hall, laundry without a closet to live in, toys without a home, tools scattered in various rooms at the ready. The list goes on, and on! Its messy on a good day and things are never as orderly as I would like or need them to be. The perfectionist inside me is screaming for order and consistency.
I know, I know what you’re thinking. I thought you worked from home and lived the dream life you painted above. What happened to throwing a beautifully marinated pork tenderloin in the oven at lunch and between calls swapping over the laundry and running to pick up groceries on your morning break. You’re home all day aren’t you. Why isn’t the laundry done? Why couldn’t you clean the floors? Why can’t you meet for coffee today? Why isn’t supper prepared by 4?
I Had It, Then I Lost it.
Truthfully, there are times when I feel like I have it all together. I have the energy to make it all work. But some days it’s a distraction to see a laundry basket on the counter while I’m working. I have anxiety from the piles in the front hall. I am paralyzed by my task list. I am often drained from the chaos making it hard to work effectively. Then there’s the guilt. OHHHH the guilt! I think its called mom guilt… but I’ll avoid diving into that topic today. Lately, I find myself exhausted by the process because living in and working through home renovations with a family can be just that, exhausting.
It Won’t Be Like This For Long
What has working from home taught me so far? I’ve learned that it can be hard, really hard! That it’s not always perfect (no matter how hard I try). That its okay and even necessary to ask for help, hire a cleaning service to get you through. To take a break! I can’t do it all and I can’t be everything to everyone. Asking for help is hard because it makes me feel like I’m failing but I’m learning to just let myself feel it, whatever it is, and be okay with it. Do your best! Every day! Juggling too many things at once isn’t realistic. Pick one thing and learn to pivot when things don’t go as planned. Living through renovations is disorderly and unsettling but it’s just a season, and in the words of Darius Rucker, “It won’t be like this for long.”
The Best Choice I’ve Ever Made
Working from home is still the best choice I’ve ever made. I am so grateful for this lifestyle and so proud of our home. I see the light at the end of the tunnel on these big messy projects and I look forward to the day our focus will shift to smaller home decor projects rather than mega gut jobs and full floor makeovers. Until then, I shall blow up my Instagram with all the beautiful pictures I can. I will focus on the good and avoid the stress of the bad and the ugly. Gratitude will be my guide through the rest of this season and onto whatever may come next.