When I first moved here over ten years ago, I was planning to be a stay at home mom.Â It didn’t take me long to realize that I was craving professional interaction and recognition so much that I was trying to be superwoman.Â I felt like I had to justify my existence by being a perfectionist.Â I was cleaning the baseboards with alcohol for God’s sake.
Eventually I decided that working from home would give me the best of both worlds:Â The ability to take care of my children and be there for them as well as gaining professional interaction and being able to contribute financially.
Once I started my home business I found that there were some unexpected challenges.Â Friends who had taken it for granted that I was always home and available for lunches, chats, etc. were a bit surprised when I would say that I was working.Â In fact, one of them was truly offended.Â I had to explain to her that while I was at home, I was also working and had to maintain working hours.
I’ve also had to explain that no, I cannot watch your children for you.Â I am running a home business, not a daycare.Â I once had a woman ask me to drive 30 minutes to go pick her daughter up and bring her home because she was busy having a massage.Â Seriously.Â I don’t call people at their places of employment and ask them to pick up my children.Â Well, unless they are my husband.
It’s not just friends that have a hard time understanding that working at home means you are working, not just making a few calls during commercials.Â I’ve been working at home for ten years and even now my husband can’t always understand why the laundry piles up during the week.
When Jennifer Merritt started working one day a week from home, she found that her husband didn’t quite get how the new arrangement would work.Â He kept asking her to throw some laundry in, pick up some dry cleaning, etc.
“Early on I could tell he was more than perplexed, possibly even annoyed, when after my day at home, the apartment looked no cleaner than the day before. …I finally had to sit down and tell my husband that I was working, not hanging out and doing some work in between….I knew Iâ€™d have to show my bosses that my work-from-home day was productive and good for both the company and for me. But I was a little surprised to have to fend off the household requests from my spouse.”
Chris Simpson of HomeNetPro.com offers some advice on how to make working at home work for you and your spouse…
“Don’t be afraid to ask for support from your husband. You need to make him realize that if you are going to have more time for him, you need some help. Just because you work at home doesn’t mean that you can do everything. If you have some support, you’ll have more time for your family, so make this clear to your husband.
Getting your husband involved in your home business is a great idea as well. Allow him to help you out with the business, make it something you can do as a team, and schedule time when you can work on things together. This will allow him to realize more about how hard you work.“
Luckily, it does get easier with time.Â Once you establish your routine, it’s just a matter of communicating to your friends and family that while yes, you are at home, you are also working at home.