Your Work at Home Dream Job Might be More Like a Nightmare

Why Working from Home with Kids May Not Be for You

If I could trade in the amount of times someone’s told me I have the “perfect job” for cash, I’d be on my third consecutive trip to Disney right now (yeah, that’s how’d spend my cash, don’t judge me). And the thing is, they aren’t wrong. I get to stay home with my daughter. I don’t have to pay for daycare. I can wear my pyjamas all day, book appointments between 9:00 and 5:00 on weekdays, and all the other popular cliché’s about working from home. (Do you want to kill me yet?)

But sometimes this “dream job” can really be a nightmare. And I don’t mean that I wish I went to work everyday instead, but there are days when I am drowning in so much parental guilt I could sit in a bathtub with a pound of chocolate and cry my face off for hours … and then feel guilty about that, too. And don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. As I sit here writing, my daughter’s lovingly piling dishes of plastic food and “coffee” on my desk for me, and pampering me with play make-up — I mean, I might eat her it’s so cute.

I’ve spent countless hours working at my computer or on my iPad as she nurses, or sleeps, or plays on my lap, and those are hours I realize most working parents would give anything for. But, that doesn’t erase the challenges.

She’s also, at various times, turned off my computer (x infinity), left a scavenger hunt of half-eaten freezies around my house, emptied my entire bookshelf, stickered and coloured our white coffee table, stickered the cat, and stole a pen off my desk and coloured a picture on my boob while she breastfed (my personal fav).

So, while the obvious rewards of working from home are all true, there’s also a few things you should consider if you’re thinking about going down this road:

  1. Saving on daycare doesn’t mean you save time too. You’re now the full-time caregiver. That means snacks every 15 minutes while working, cleaning up the same mess 5,000 times a day, and countless distractions. The dishes and laundry will pile up. The toys will be everywhere. And it’s okay, if you’re okay with it.
  2. People will not sympathize. Be prepared that most people, including your partner, will stare at you with laser beam eyes if you even remotely complain about your job. And that’s fair, you do have a “dream job,” after all. Find parents with similar situations to yours and commiserate with them when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
  3. Mom- or Dad-guilt will eat you alive if you let it. The number of days I’ve spent feeling like crap because I let my daughter watch countless hours of YouTube Kids so I could make a deadline are too many to count. Everything you’re “neglecting” is right there to stare you in the face as you consciously choose work over it, and it’s hard.
  4. Some days you’ll want to throw in the towel. There are weeks I’ve had to just take a break and spend time with my daughter to recharge and feel like a good parent again, and that’s okay. When my husband gets home, I kindly hand her off to him or I get up after I put her to sleep at night and punch away at it again. Working from home successfully requires a lot of self-care and creativity.
  5. It’s all so wonderfully worth it. If after reading all this you feel like working from home is still the right move for you, you’re probably right.

Have I lost my cool a few too many times to count? Definitely. Is my house a disaster most of the time? Yes, a thousand times yes. Has my daughter had more screen time daily than most two-year-olds? Probably.

But we’ve also, had wonderful adventures, afternoon naps, ice cream dates, and rainy-day movie marathons, and spent every beautiful day of her two-and-a-half years of life together, and I wouldn’t trade that for a lifetime of Disney trips.



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Britanie is an adventurer at heart stuck in an introvert’s body. Her days are spent juggling being a stay-at-home mom and working as a freelance book editor, indexer, and writer. Britanie loves sports, especially hockey, and finds herself desperately tying to relate to her daughter’s princess obsession (God help her). Her parenting motto is “we can eat pizza for breakfast if we say thank you to the chef.”

After years of helping others publish their stories, she hopes to spend some time taking the trusty red pen to her own writing. She hopes that writing about her parenting fails will be much more conducive to life with a toddler than contemplating misplaced modifiers.