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The Pros and Cons of Being A Work-At-Home Mom

The many hats I wear...mommy, stylist and blogger.

I knew motherhood would have its challenging moments when I went into it, but once I found out I would be staying home with Fern, I thought I’d have a lot more time to take on these challenges. One thing I failed to take into consideration though, was the fact that I wouldn’t just be a “stay-at-home mom.” I’d be a “work-at-home mom.”

In my pre-parent days, I’d known stay-at-home moms and I’d known working moms, but I’d never personally known anyone who did both so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

The reality has been simultaneously wonderful and incredibly challenging and much different than I’d imagined. Some days I feel like being a work-at-home mom is the best of both worlds and I feel so lucky that I get to be home with Fern while still doing things that I enjoy. But then other days when I feel like work-at-home moms kinda get the shaft.

There are many things I love about working from home. I love that I get to be home with Fern and see her learning and growing each day; I love that I get to be there for all of her firsts. We have so much fun together and I love that she gets to be my little side kick on my day-to-day excursions. I feel like we’ve been able to develop such a strong bond, because we are pretty much together 24/7. I also like that I am able to still bring in income to contribute to our family in that way and I also get to get out and be creative with my freelance styling work from time to time. But, there are definitely some pitfalls to being a work-at-home mom too.

For one thing, I experience many of the negative aspects that both stay-at-home moms and working moms go through. Like stay-at-home moms, I get cooped up since I spend most of my time stuck at home. I don’t get to get out and have adult conversations all that often, as most of my work happens at home on my computer. And like working moms, I sometimes feel like I’m not giving my best to my baby. Even though I’m home all the time, sometimes I feel like Fern gets the leftovers of my attention because I work a little bit all the time instead of in eight consecutive hours. Sometimes I feel like it’s almost worse than if I were to leave her in day care all day, because at least at day care she would get quality, undivided attention even if it wasn’t mine.

It’s also hard working from home because people don’t really think of you as a “work-at-home mom,” they just think of you as a stay-at-home mom and the job that you do in addition to the job of being a mother is minimized. I know that it can be hard for me because I think my husband can, on occasion, forget that in addition to taking care of Fern all day, I’ve also been camped out in front of my computer writing and then there are loads of laundry to be done and meals to be cooked and groceries to be bought. All of the day-to-day tasks get relegated to me usually because my husband works 10 hour days at a very labor intensive job. Then he’s been working every weekend for the past couple of months re-roofing our house, so I don’t feel like the set-up we have is unfair necessarily, but it’s still hard. There are times when I kind of wish I had a 9:00-5:00 job so I would be able to get a break – the job of motherhood truly never ends.

I know that every job has it’s challenges. I realize that many stay-at-home moms have moments where they long for the days of getting dressed up and heading to a 9:00-5:00 job. On the flip side of that coin, I realize that many working moms would love nothing more than to be able to quit their jobs and stay home with their little ones instead of dropping them off at day care for eight hours a day.  The grass is always greener.

I just wanted to share my perspective as a work-at-home mom and find out if any of you have felt this way?  I’d love to hear about your experiences as working moms, stay-at-home moms AND work-at-home moms!

Lauren Hartmann is the founder of The Little Things We Do, a blog about life and adventures in Portland Oregon. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook, or catch up on all of her posts here on Babble.

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