Working from home is so much harder

I balanced the home-work thing so much better when I didn’t work at home. It’s much harder to maintain boundaries now.

I had it down to a science, too. Alarm went off at 3:30 am. Get up, get dressed, wake the kid up and get her dressed. Pack our bags up together. Drop her at daycare, give her kisses goodbye, drive off feeling guilty, get to work by 4:45. On an 8-hour day, I was done by 1:30. Call the daycare en route to grocery store, tell them not to pick the kid up from school. Do a mad grab of groceries in 10 minutes or less, speed to school, surprise Miss G with reprieve from afternoon daycare. She did homework while I cooked dinner, then we watched a movie together while eating. Then-- bathtime, booktime, bedtime. Next morning we'd get up and do it again.

Overtime days were trickier. Or easier, depending on perspective. There’s no time for wasting; every minute has to count. This removes a lot of choice as far as how to spend your days, which I personally appreciated. Too many options overwhelm me.

Maybe that’s my problem-- excessive freedom. Working from home feels like I have all the time in the world to accomplish everything I want to. In reality, it’s more like the overtime schedule: every minute has to count.

I woke up early today, ready to work on a painting. Then I foolishly checked my email first, which led to other computery things-- stupid social media and networking and, oh yeah, squeezing a little writing in. And then, Miss G had a stomachache and needed extra MamaCare, so really very little got done.

Don’t get me wrong. I love that I’m in a position now where I can drop everything to take care of my kid without feeling guilty for it. Or, more accurately, without fear of job loss or black marks against me compounding my guilt. At the same time, I still need to get shit done.

It is a constant battle to keep those lines between working and mom sharp and clear when it all happens in the same physical place, and I'm losing.

I start writing, then realize I have got to get laundry on the line before it gets too hot outside. While hanging laundry, I remember I need to submit a couple paintings for a show by tomorrow, so I do that next. Then it’s lunchtime. Then I have to run errands, or I have articles to write, or caulking to take care of at the Other House, or have just plain lost my groove.

In the meantime-- the dog hair blows across the floor like little furry tumbleweeds, the dishes pile up, the car gets a flat. I flip out at Dan and the kids because I am literally the only person who seems to give a crap that we live in a pigsty, and they are all fully capable of washing their own dishes. Instead they just leave them in the sink, because Someone Else will do them. This leads to fights that involve phrases like “my time is just as valuable as your time” and words like “accountability.”

My list of things to do grows daily instead of shrinking. I don’t feel efficient in any direction, and I keep thinking it’s just because I haven’t figured out the right method. Any other working-from-home moms struggle with this? How do you set your boundaries? How do you maximize your worktime efficiency while still taking advantage of having more physical time with your kids?


  1. I have no solutions just a "I feel ya" Hell, you already caught me when I was stuck in a twitter/facebook time suck.

    Hopefully you will find a balance once the kiddo is back in school.

  2. Thanks, Michele. Here's hoping.

  3. Yep, there doesn't seem to be a perfect recipe for making it all work. SOMETHING always takes the fall, and generally it is housework. It is so exciting to see you working with your talents... writing and art. :)