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Working from Home: The Balancing Act

Working in your Livingroom or Living in your Workroom

by Sabrina Paradis  |  2582 views  |  6 comments  |        Rate this now! 

I was blaming it on physical space, my lack of a home office, until my colleague reported that the grass was no greener in her “dedicated work space”. Her babysitter regularly popped the baby in her office when she had to run to the bathroom or he was whimpering and needed a quick snuggle from mom. And of course, my old colleagues from my former not-so-mommy friendly company say they’d gladly trade in their fancy leather desk chairs and functioning printers for the chance of a quick snuggle with their baby at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.

Now that I work full time at home, some things are better and some things are worse. The personal struggle for the perfect ratio of how much to give to my family life and how much to give to my work life is still there. In fact now I am standing in my dilemma all day and the lines are much blurrier when my work spills onto my kitchen counter or my dinner spills onto my quarterly reports. I am working on creating the boundaries that allow for a good work/life balance and while some are physical, many are emotional.

Working full time from home is not for every mom in the same way that working full time or staying at home full time isn’t for every mom. For now I’ll take the perks of conference calls in pajamas after a long night with the baby and put up with jammed printers in exchange for some extra time at preschool drop-off. And I’ll try not to badger my kids and my husband for news about their day, who they talked to and where they went, since I have been stuck in the house all day!

About the Author

Sabrina Paradis is a freelance writer, who works full time from home in the healthcare industry and lives with her two small children and her husband

Read more by Sabrina Paradis

6 comments so far...

  • I confess, I have "locked myself" in my older son's bedroom on a conference call while my four year old was in the other room watching television. But you know? It's fine. He learned there are some boundaries, and I still get my work done while providing a cozy home environment for my kids. Summer is rough, but in the long run, I wouldn't trade in working from home. Either way there are struggles- leaving the kids each morning to work outside of the home; working at home with the kids around all day; or taking a long hiatus to be at home with the kids. Great article Sabrina!


    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Rosanne Rust on 30th August 2007

  • Being a work-from-home mom too, I can totally empathize with this story. We live in a tiny rowhouse and my office is in a corner of my bedroom. I often wish I had a bigger house and more this, that or the other, but I am thankful everyday that I can be at home and raise my daughter while using my skills to bring in some income and stay in the industry.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Jennifer Prevette on 28th August 2007

  • "...she held my Blackberry to her ear and took on a creepily pleasant voice." LOL I can just see this!

    You describe and analyse the issues very well. Great article!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by MaryP on 17th August 2007

  • Great article! I can completely empathize - I wonder how many people like us have also perfected the "art of the telephone mute button" to drown out the housekeeper-driven vacuum cleaner making a rare pass through our home offices. And then there is the never-ending stream of interruptions - door-to-door salespeople, well-meaning neighbors, deliveries, etc. I have had to park my car down the street on occasion so it would look like nobody was home. I wouldn't change it for the world, though! I breathe clean (well, at least, fresh-from-the-outdoors-near-LAX) air all day, snack on un-packaged food from my fridge, commute a whopping 3 feet from my home, and can simultaneously negotiate a deal while completing 6 loads of laundry!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Kelly Watson on 15th May 2007

  • Sabrina, Your piece made me laugh out loud. I'm home 1 day a week and in the office 4 but I completely empathize with the boundary dilemma. Thank you for articulating it so perfectly!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Suzanne on 9th May 2007

  • Sabrina, what a great essay! As someone who is about to make a change from working full time at an office - and hating many things about it - to working full time from home, I really appreciated what you wrote and I think it helped me set some things in perspective. The thing is, I think no solution is perfect - being at an office all day does not give me much flexibility to be there with my daughter, but at the same time, I am able to get a lot done and be devoted to her when I am home. When I will work from home, I know that I will enjoy some of the things you wrote about - pijamas phone calls! - but I also worry about setting work/life boundaries. Thanks for sharing this.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Nataly on 6th May 2007

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