The problems with being a work-from-home parent

March 28, 2014

Problems with being a work-from-home parent

For well over a year now,  ever since I decided not to go back to my pre-baby job, I‘ve been working as a freelancerIt has been, for the most part, brilliant. I have work-life balance for the first time in my career, get to be my own boss, love what I do and spend lots of time with my daughter.

With occasional forays into an office, I mainly work from home on the two days that Eliza goes to nursery. It works for us and everyone’s happy.

However, working from home is not without its challenges and obstacles, I’ve noticed, And it seems to present an particular set of problems when you’re a parent…

  • Everything I read about working from home mentions the brilliance of being able stay in your pyjamas.  However; need to drop your child off at nursery first? You’ll definitely have to put some proper clothes on. And it’s pointless changing back into them when you’ll need to go out to get them a few hours later.
  • You don’t work in an office,  but everyone else in your entire street does. And they ALL have an obsessive online shopping habit. Which means that several times a day, a delivery man will ring your door – “Ooh, delivery for me!” you think – and then you’re faced with someone sheepishly asking if you mind taking something in for next door (“…oh….Again?”) The hallway is lined with parcels, none of them for you
  • This also means that no-one else is around when you go to do the nursery run, which is the only time of day your own parcels seem to arrive
  • However, going from working in a busy office to being solo at home can be quite, well, quiet. So you’re secretly glad to see the delivery man for a chat, and the builder knows your entire life story, why you’re eating cake for breakfast, and your long and rambling theories on recent news events. To be fair, you now also know all about his evening, children, what he thinks of the news, and how to construct downstairs cloakrooms in cupboards
  • It’s hard to pick a parenting label. I’m a working mum, but part time. I
    stay at home, but I’m not a stay-at-home mum (for some of the week) Where do I fit?
  • There’s no Christmas party when you freelance…but on the other hand there’s no 6am cold, prickly grip of fear, shame and hungover regret. That’s your festive bonus, right there
  • Making your own lunch is never as nice as going out for a burger, burrito or fancy-pants sandwich. Especially when the only things in the fridge are Babybels and Thomas the Tank Engine yoghurts
  • As my desk is the kitchen table, I often find crayoning in my work notebook, glitter on the laptop, and an assortment of plastic play figures in my paperwork.

OK, so I jest (slightly). In all seriousness, not going back to my old job is the best decision I ever made.  Are you thinking about it?  Do it!


  • Polly Davies

    March 28, 2014 at 7:40 am

    haha! this made me smile 🙂 I love working from home, but with three homeschooled kiddos it gets pretty tricky! You can guarantee that as soon as I sit down to work someone shouts ‘MUUUUM’!! Wouldn’t change it for the world though

  • Eleanor (thebristolparent)

    March 28, 2014 at 7:50 am

    So true, you become the local Parcelforce depot. You even recognise the dude delivering the parcels. You also develop an absolute hatred of junk leafleting and start chasing them down the street to give them back, or opening the door just before they shove them through and screeching ‘NO! NEVER!’.

    You save a fortune on coffee. And, if you’re lucky, like me, you get to do the nice bit (nursery pick up) whilst your partner does the sad bit (nursery drop off)

  • Bonnie Rose @ A Compass Rose

    March 28, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Oh I bet! I now have two school aged kids so I have time on my own for a bit, once they get home anything I need to do gets pushed off until after bedtime. I’m starting back at work soon though so will have to adjust. x

  • Slummy single mummy

    March 28, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    So true about the parcels!! A perk though in my case as a random neighbour actually bought me a bottle of wine as a thank you for taking so much stuff in for him!

  • lori

    March 28, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    I am kinda embracing the beginnings of a stay at home/work at home mum, but to be honest Felix is only in preschool four hours a week so I find it very tricky not working till all hours of the night. hopefully getting a bit more organised with my time might do the trick x

  • Jess @ Along Came Cherry

    March 28, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    I’m finding it pretty tricky at the moment as Cherry only goes to pre-school for 2 x 3 hr slots a week. This means most of my time I am trying to do things with two small children round my ankles! Replying to an email can be near enough impossible let alone everything else! But I love it and am so pleased I don’t need to go back to doing what I was before I had children and started blogging! x

  • Laura

    March 28, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    I agree with Jess I am finding it hard at the moment as well – when the little man was younger it was find but now he is 3.5 years and very demanding of time, which he should be, but if your trying to work to make an income it can be hard to juggle, especially when he only goes to nursery two mornings a week.

    Laura x

  • Laura

    March 29, 2014 at 7:12 am

    I’m normally one of those office types, but do work from home one day a week at the moment. I love having the opportunity to do it because I can do silly little things like the school run, but my biggest challenge is not snacking during the day. It’s so easy to grab a biscuit (or two, or three) from the tin… and that’s just in the morning!

  • laura redburn

    March 30, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    some of these definitely apply without children too 🙂 glad you’re happy about the decision you made though!

  • Fiona

    April 1, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Haha there is ALWAYS crayon/chalk/massive pen scribbles in my work book, it’s so annoying!

  • Rachel

    April 2, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    YES to all of this! I especially find classifying myself a problem – neither of the boys is in nursery, so I take in enough work to manage during naptime. But then I feel all presumptuous saying I ‘work from home’, because it is work, but how many people would kill to work just an hour a day? Juggling it is hard. You lose all boundaries when you step out of an office.
    (Still very grateful I get to do it.)

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    April 4, 2014 at 7:04 am

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