Working From Home.
I’m not one for major goals and dreams and five-year plans.
In fact, if I truly did stick to my old ones I would have achieved those at the age of 26.
Married: Age 24 – check
Mama: Age 26 – check
Thanks God and Micah.
Whenever I was asked what I wanted to be as a kid, without fail, the answer was: a wife and a mom. Although I think I always said mom first. I bought baby dolls until I was in college. True story.
When I went to college, it was because it kind of seemed like what I was supposed to do. I loved JMU and my undergrad minor led me into my graduate studies: Human Resource Development and Adult Education. There were so many avenues you could take with that degree and I really liked it! I always hoped it would be something I could still use if I did become a mama. I hoped that it would be the kind of work I could do from home.
I’ve kind of always just tried to go with the flow when it comes to God’s plans for my life.
He led me to my first job after college – working full-time in an office in Newport News.
He led me to Frederick, MD – working part-time for that same company.
I couldn’t have planned that out.
I get weekly interview offers through LinkedIn for exciting opportunities, mostly because I am hitting my 5-year experience threshold and the location of where I live. I turn them down every time though. For now, what is most exciting to me is not the money, the project, or the location. It’s that I am here every day when my husband gets home. It’s that I am with my kids more than I am apart from them.
The fact that I am working from home right now, using my hard earned degree is not something I take lightly, at all. In fact, I have tears in my eyes just writing this because I don’t know why God is being so nice to me in allowing me to continue with my career and see my littles more. Truly the best of both worlds.
Now that I’ve been working from home for over a year, I feel like I can shed a teeny bit of advice for mamas who desire to do the same.
Here are a couple things to keep in mind if you are considering this type of arrangement, in no particular order:
Have a set space. Even if it isn’t an “office”. It’s easier to stay focused when you have a designated work space. My office happens to be in the basement so every now and then if I don’t need two monitors I come upstairs and into the light!
Have designated hours. I work Tuesdays and Thursdays full 8-hr days and on Wednesday mornings. For me this meant taking work email off of my phone and closing down my computer at certain times. I don’t want to be connected to it all of the time. Isnt that part of my goal in having more dedicated and designated time for each priority?
Have reliable internet and phone service. It’s kind of embarrassing to have to log back into a meeting or call your manager back because of a dropped call. I know from experience… as I’m still working on cell phone service in my neighborhood!
Get a babysitter. Find someone you love and who loves your kids. I know some people hate the idea of a sitter but I personally really like the fact my kids are learning to play with others and listen to other adults. Plus, then they aren’t sitting in front of the tv or crying for your attention 20 hours a week.
Get dressed. Okay, I don’t always do this one. Seriously though, if you have a client call, a meeting, etc. just put on some normal pants, a little mascara, and lipstick.
Practice Professionalism. Just because you can see dried cheerios on the floor and your pump with milk bottles full is beside you doesn’t mean you are not a professional. Answer your phone, texts, emails, etc just as if you were interacting in the office. No matter where you are or what you are doing – do it for His glory. Your reputation matters.
Take breaks. Don’t feel guilty about them either. If you were in the office you would be chatting with people, going to lunch, going for coffee, smoke breaks, etc. Just know your companies guidelines on break allowances and give your honest day. It’s definitely a fact, that I work better and faster from home. You might be more distracted though, that’s where space and time are important – or just go to the office!
FaceTime. I actually don’t mean it the way its spelled. I mean, go see your co-workers, bosses, and clients if you are able. In the meantime, email them, text, call sometimes and not just to talk about work. That’s one of the cons about working from home if you are an extrovert.
Evaluate. Ask your boss to evaluate too. This should be a mutually beneficial relationship.
That’s all I’ve got for now.
Someday my littles wont be so little anymore. They wont need me as much as they do now. I will probably want the fancy project, higher salary, to get dressed in a cute outfit every day and do my hair and go see people! That’s not right now though.
Whether, I am able to do this another 6 months or another 3 years, I’ll be forever grateful for this time.