I loved the mini skirt suits of the 90s. At a time in my life, I could only imagine myself wearing a skirt suit and going to work in a bank or some other corporate entity every day. I also loved the idea of fresh crispy naira notes. After all, I wanted to be rich. By the time I became an adult, I had forgotten about short skirts and fresh mint notes. Somehow, I started to think about work fulfillment and value addition. I wanted to do something that made a difference and made me feel useful. So I flirted with thoughts of teaching or going into the academia.
Then I Had My Son
That was when I found that I wanted to raise him myself, maybe even homeschool him. I wanted to be a mum who baked and fed him treats when he got back from school. I wanted to be a ‘traditional’ mum. Surprise! However, I still had the desire to work and earn my own money.
Under pressure to start a career, and with a strong need to be with my child, I couldn’t see my way clear to combining them both. But my spouse could. And he started to put the word out: My wife writes well. Here’s her number. And that’s how I started a career working from home as a writer. For any other mom thinking of working from home, here are the pros and cons from my experience to guide you through the decision.
The Pros of Being A Work From Home Mum
I save time to spend with my family. I can work long and odd hours, and still save time to spend with my loved ones. Sometimes, I can even work while waiting in line at the bank or store, saving me time. Especially because I live in Lagos, I’m grateful that I can spend quality time with my child instead of sitting four hours in traffic.
I get the gift of being able to oversee the running of my home. I have a domestic assistant who does the bulk of the house work, while I do my work. But I’m still the engine that runs the home to plan meals, chores, structure, and budgets. I do the bulk shopping and cook the more delicate dishes. I’m available in a crisis. I wouldn’t trade these for anything.
I have my space. This may not seem like much to some. For a sensitive introvert like me though, this is gold. I get to control (somewhat) the sights, smells, and sounds around me. Even though sometimes I may be tired for one reason or the other by the end of the day, but I’m not a nervous wreck with my teeth on edge.
Then, I get to save money that would have been spent on lunch and transportation. Working from home, I transport myself on foot from my bedroom to the den where I work. I open a maximum of three doors in between. And I eat at home, because ‘there’s rice at home’.
I don’t have to dress up! That’s funny after the ‘mini skirt suit’, I know. But I was ignorant! Suit and heels every day?! Nope. I’m not at all a fashion plate: comfort is everything. Not having to dress up is easier on my nerves (AND my pocket!). And on a bad day, I get to work in my PJs. Whoop!
The lines are too blurred for comfort. You’re supposed to compartmentalise your life to maximise productivity, but it’s incredibly hard to do when you hear your baby/toddler’s cry of pain or distress while working. Work pressure spills over. Home drama spills over. When home drama spills over too much, work suffers. And vice versa.
You know that money I’m happy to save on transportation and lunch? I get to spend it on internet connection and fuel for the generator (because, Naija!). And sometimes, you’ll have a deadline and Murphy’s Law will prove itself to be true again.
I had thought I would have enough energy to work at my job like a regular 9-5, while still working at home like a full-time stay-at-home mum. Well, I learned that they’re both full time jobs and I don’t have super powers. I bake, but only a few times a year.
I choose my hours even with deadlines. And it’s a blessed freedom. But there are days when you could be sleeping or something, and instead you’re up at 2:30am on a Sunday morning, writing. Because the ideas won’t hit during human hours. And you can’t miss out on Lagos traffic and have weekends too. I mean, who does that?
Did you notice that there are more pros than cons? It’s deliberate. There are those days when I want to tear my hair out. But on a regular day, I love my work schedule, and I love my life.
Any other work-from-home mums in the house? Please share your thoughts and experiences via the comment section. Would love to hear your experiences.