The biggest source of angst and frustration for mothers (and, increasingly, fathers!) is the fact that it seems that none of us can "have it all." The challenge of balancing work and family life is common to moms of all walks of life. Stay-at-home moms often feel empty (or broke!) without separate careers, while moms who work outside the home feel like they don't get enough time to enjoy parenthood and family life. As one of the very few moms who really can "have it all," I have to say it's not what it's cracked up to be!
I'm lucky in that I have a successful, full-time career as a freelance writer. My schedule is flexible, I can work from home, and I don't have to call in to work if my daughter needs me to stay home and to take care of her when she's got the flu. I can work while my daughter's at the playground, or at school, or asleep in my lap, but, when she needs me, I can be there. I have the financial security and independence of a working mom and the close family bonds of a stay-at-home mom. It sounds like every parent's dream, but, to be perfectly honest, it's not much fun.
You see, when you have it all, you're never really off work. At any given time, I feel totally obligated to either have my computer in my lap and my fingers on the keyboard, or to be directly entertaining my daughter. When she was a baby, I would often nurse her, or rock her, or let her sleep on my chest while I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning, desperately churning out articles and stories to make ends meet. I never had time to myself. Even now that my daughter is much older, a day "off work" sounds completely alien to me. On the rare days that I'm not writing and that my daughter is away or occupied, I'm a whirlwind of house-cleaning and errands.
After five years of having it all, I don't know what a real "day off" feels like anymore, or what I would do if I had one. I'm lucky enough to have the benefits of being both a stay-at-home mom and a working mom, but that also means having all of the responsibilities. It's suffocating, exhausting, and tedious.
I'm not saying that my life is inherently harder than any other parent's life. There are benefits to both staying at home and to working outside of the home, but even those of us who get to have both at once don't have perfect lives or careers. No matter what road we take in our journeys as moms, we've got our own set of challenges to face.
If you could "have it all" with a work-from-home career, would you want to?
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