with Karli Larson
The transition from stay-at-home mom to divorced-and-working-full-time mom can be challenging, and sometimes very lonely. Throw in a few cats, an ancient dog and one very brave boyfriend, and life gets downright crazy. Join me as I talk through my thoughts and struggles, my miscalculations and my triumphs. We're in this together, you and I.
When I'm not writing here you can find me over at work on the TisBest Philanthropy blog.
This past weekend, I lined up a play date for Nolan with an adorably chubby-cheeked three-year-old from his daycare. I was actually really looking forward to it: I knew Marco’s Mom was an advertising sales executive too, and I thought we’d have lots in common. In my neighborhood, full-time working Moms are rare, and it was sweet relief to chat about the impossibility of steady work/life balance with a woman who understood.
We watched our kids turn over barnacle-crusted rocks, squealing with glee as baby crabs skittered frantically away, mortified at the sudden exposure.
“So you work from home,”Ann said with envy,”Wow. That’s so nice.”
“It is nice,”I reply,”I do travel two or three times a month, mostly to LA and San Francisco, but they’re just day trips.”
“I see on the sign-in sheets that you drop off Nolan at 8:30 and pick him up before 5, often,”she sounds wistful,”I wish I could do that. But the commute is an hour each way and traffic’s getting worse — plus the boss is always looking to see who leaves the office first, who arrives last. Usually, I drop the kids off by 7:00 and can’t get back till after 5.”
“You know — that’s so counter-productive of them,”I say, beginning to feel indignant,”You’re in sales, right? Your numbers speak for themselves. Why do so many companies tie their employees to a clock?”
I’ve worked in offices for 8 of the last 10 years - almost exclusively in corporate sales positions. And I can say firmly and without question that I put in the most hours, and work the hardest - now that I work from home. Not having to put on full-makeup and high heels in the morning means I have extra time to walk my son as he bikes to daycare. I start my day more relaxed; guilt-free because I’ve spent morning quality time with my kid. Not having to commute in traffic over the bridge means that I have an extra hour to write proposals and make cold calls. The fact that I have the freedom to pick my son up at 4:30 means that I am grateful for my position: I want to keep it, I want to earn it — and in return for that freedom, I very often work nights and weekends without any shred of bitterness. My company is doing well by me by providing me with a flexible business environment: I want to prove to them that they are absolutely making the right choice.
My work-at-home situation is less expensive for my company. They’re not responsible for paying for my office space, my phone or my parking space. I am uber connected in every way: through IM, email, and a million different social networks. If I were slacking, my company would know it instantly. Corporations don’t need their employees in an office to “monitor” them. In fact, I think they’d be so much more successful - and retain so many more employees, if more of them allowed flexibility with telecommuting.
Does your office offer any kind of work-from-home flexibility? Is it important to you?
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