Article by Wendy McCance
I have always dreamed of working from home. Over the years, I have known friends and family who had what I considered to be the best of both worlds, a paycheck and a home office. These days that is my life as well and I am thrilled. As a mother of three kids, I have to say, it is also incredibly challenging to pull of this extraordinary feat.
I have worked full-time since I was old enough to move out on my own. Over the years I got married and had children, but unfortunately, I was never able to be a stay at home mom. Working full-time with little kids at home was downright painful.
When the kids were young, I was an account manager for a wine company. I spent my days going to restaurants to meet with the person in charge of the restaurants wine menu. Many times I would stop into an account and see a mom having a meal with her children. Each time I would tear up. I missed my kids so much and desperately wished for that life myself.
Over the years the work I did changed. I was always looking for that job that would provide a good income while allowing me more flexibility to be with my kids.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that my life took a drastic turn. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and working at any job became a huge challenge. It was just too painful to stand or sit for extended amounts of time. Exhaustion would take over and I would need a nap just to get through the day. My health was not in line with any jobs away from the house that I could think of doing. It was this new challenge that forced my hand. I had to work, I needed a paycheck. I was having a miserable time working away from home. I had to make some major changes so that I could continue to take care of myself as well as my family.
It’s funny how you can spend years wishing for something and only when you are backed up against a wall do you see that dream realized.
I took advantage of the fact that I was getting offered some jobs writing for some companies and decided to pursue writing as a full-time stay at home job. It was the best decision I ever made. I love writing and have had some incredible opportunities. Staying home has done wonders for me. I can work any odd hours I want. If I feel sore and need to stretch, I can take a quick bike ride. If I feel exhausted, I will take a short nap. My world has turned around and I finally feel in control of my future again.
I have to admit, along with the perks has come some challenges. My kids are much older now. The youngest is in middle school. You would think that my timing would be ideal for working from home. Even so, the kids don’t get it. If they see me, they think I am available. If I am working on my computer, my kids aren’t able to grasp that I am not goofing off, but actually doing work - for pay.
I tend to believe that they have wanted me to stay home all of these years as badly as I wanted to stay home with them. Now that I am finally around more, they are looking to get that extra time and attention they had been craving. I have had to literally set aside time where I go in my bedroom and close the door to get some work done. The kids know that if the door is closed, I am on an important call. If my door is open, they can come in and ask a question or say hi, but I am working and am not available to hang out.
During the school year I had my schedule down to a science. The kids left for school and I worked from 7:30am until 2:45pm when everyone would start coming home. I would then be available to drive kids to their activities, make dinner and help with homework. I even got some time in playing frisbee with the kids. Once my husband got home and dinner was over, I would go back to work and my husband would take over.
Now that the school year has come to an end, I will have to tweak my schedule so that the kids have my attention, but my work won’t suffer. It’s a balancing act, but well worth it.
As far as procrastinating, being distracted or any of the other issues I often hear about when working from home, I haven’t had those issues. I am so happy to have found my niche that I become almost possessed. I actually have a hard time pulling myself away from the computer. If I didn’t have a family to raise, I think I would become a hermit spending my time typing out endless stories. Seriously, I have a hard time stopping and relaxing.
So my question to you is, do you have flexibility in your career? Do you ever work from home, or have you ever wanted to? As a friend of mine once said, she could never work from home because she would get lonely. She craves the interaction between employees. She has a highly social personality and is at her best when surrounded by others. I on the other hand love my time alone. I think I love it a little too much. Maybe that is one of the traits needed to be successful as a person working from home. What do you think?
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]
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My writing experience is a bit different than yours since I have no kids, or have to deal with anything so serious as fibromyalgia but the flexibility of schedule is extremely nice as I have a history of insomnia which makes 9-5 jobs a real pain sometimes. I also love to travel and move around, and the ability to work anywhere with an internet connection and/or an outlet definitely facilitates that sort of lifestyle.
Connor, it sounds like you have a perfect setup. I understand the insomnia. Writing at night when everyone is asleep and I can’t get to sleep myself was definitely pretty convenient.
Hi Wendy, Happy for you. I worked from home for about six years, and loved every minute. It afforded me flexible hours, and I must say, a great income. I handled my position as an actual outside job.Every morning, I would get dress, walk across the hallway to my office, sit at my desk, and would start my work day. If you don’t treated as such, you will procrastinate. Great post. Blessings.
Thanks so much for your comment. It sounds like you had a great setup at your home.
I’ve been working from home since I got pregnant from my first baby. Now she’s already 3 years old and I have 8 month old twins and still working online from home. I am enjoying what I do and at the same time, can be with my kids and see them grow everyday. I won’t trade this to anything in this world because they are my first priority.
Hi Julie, Wow do you have a challenging environment. I’m not sure I would be able to focus on work with little ones running around. Being home with the kids is fabulous though.
I worked from home for a small amount of time before kids. I haven’t since my oldest was born. I would think it would be hard to balance everything since little kids aren’t great with accepting that just because they can see you home doesn’t mean that you can jump up and do things for them
Exactly. That’s why I was surprised when it was still an issue with my kids being older. I guess they never get to old for constant attention.
Great post, and I to enjoy working from home! Although I would love to have a writing job!…LOL…I also don’t get distracted or side tracked because I love what I do. I think that’s the Key. Having my 1st book out has been so rewarding, and has kept me busy. I say all the time, “Recovery is my Life, but writing is my Passion!” Have a great day, Catherine
Hi Catherine, I agree that loving what you do is the key. Thanks so much for your comment.
I thought going on disability and staying home all day would just be the end of everything for me, but I have found that I love being able to write every day! I have the freedom to indulge creative inspiration most any time it occurs. My full-time job used to be in Human Resources and I was miserable. No, I don’t get paid to write, but I am much happier. Maybe someday someone will actually pay me to write.That would be the best of both worlds!
I’m sure someone will grab you up to write for them. Your writing is terrific.
Now that I am working from home as an editor and a writer, I am still adjusting to the shock of not having a “workplace” to go to everyday. Many professions, not just writers, are able to work from home now. My husband is a software consultant, and at times he may have to be away four days a week, but more often than not, he’s able to do his job from home and not need to fly out to a client’s site.
I would love it if my husband could work from home. What a cool situation you and your husband are in.
I have worked at home now for years. Only recently has it been for myself alone. I have experienced just the opposite of what most people do. I put in more hours than if I actually went out to an office to work.
I know what you mean about working more hours. I personally believe that working more hours speaks to the passion you have for what you do.
Aw, I do understand the challenges you face working from home. I have had the good fortune (or not) to do just that for much of my career. Setting up a place and way to signal you’re not available is imperative. Otherwise interruptions WILL happen and at the most opportune times. I could tell you stories, but I’ll spare you my dissertation.
I am finding my way, it’s a surprising learning curve I didn’t anticipate though.
The only profession in which working at home is the norm is being an author.
OH how I yearned to have worked from home especially since the greatest part of my responsibilty had been creating spreadsheets with pivot tables from reports generated by the computer system. But alas, the security concerns of my having my home computer being hacked prevented that from happening.
Working from home I set my own goals for each day, set my own hours. I don’t have to do anything else except get up and go to the keyboard of my computer. I can play my music, watch a movie in the corner of the screen, have lunch when I want to eat, etc.
Since becoming a romance author after I retired, I can enjoy ALL THE PERKS connected with working at home, especially talking to my friends as I worked, which is something no one at work could ever do with everyone around you listening at what you had to say, and no supervisor making sure you’re working instead of chatting away countless minutes on the phone.
Thanks so much for your comment. It is definitely a great feeling being your own boss. A major perk.