*This post is part of a monthly series called CEO Mommy which will be guest written by a few amazing ladies in my personal and professional network. This month’s post is Mallory Simms who I actually met professionally a few years back and I’m happy to now call her my friend.
I am writing this as one of the “lucky” ones.
Yes, definitely one of the “lucky” ones that was able to turn my 50+ hour work week into a part-time, work-from-home consulting business practically the day I became a mom to my 1 ½ year old son.
I use the word lucky because I hear from moms how they love their job, but want to scale back hours, and I did that. I read posts from moms about how if they could dissolve their commute and obligatory happy hours they would have that precious time at home, and I do.
I use the word lucky loosely because while I’m thankful for the hours at home and flexible schedule, the work-from-home mom resume comes with challenges and on its worse days, disappointments.
As a full-time mom and a part-time market research consultant, I teeter between the parent and corporate world on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. For example, take the “mommy’s helper” that I hired. She always arrives just as I’ve finished preparing the day’s activities and before I’ve even begun to walk into my office, she’s asking if I want to eat lunch with them because of course, she knows I want to, and I’m home.
So I have lunch, and the rest of the afternoon is spent fighting off the urge to get dishes in the sink and the “I’m home” guilt as I hear my son engaging in an activity I’m not part of. This typically results in me spending more time laboring over which world I should be in, mommy or professional, than actually working.
Mommy issues aside, there are also real concerns of lost opportunity and lack of visibility working from home. Despite a steadfast work ethic and seamless communication, the work from home mom will still miss out on interoffice conversation with peers and will never get to strategically attend an office social event knowing her boss’s boss will be there too. Little things maybe, but in my experience, they matter. Being heard and not seen makes it that much more difficult to get your ideas in front of those that matter.
As the months have gone on I have learned that the keys to making it work are balance, persistence and redefined expectations. No, you can’t attend to your child’s every need during the day and still perform at work. You just have to reach equilibrium. You will still get countless more hours with your little one than you would if you went to the office every day, and you will be a happier, and therefore a better, mom.
Also know that it will be harder to have an edge at work when you’re not there every day. You will likely need to send more emails, follow-up more diligently and create your own opportunities more than ever before. But it can be done, and if you can take the lost happy hour invites and missed inside jokes with a grain of salt, you’ll be able to cut out the office ‘clutter’ and spend that extra time being mommy.
So, I still feel lucky. No, I might not be able to make a homemade lunch everyday, but if more often than not I get to sit down and eat it with my son, I’m lucky. It might have taken three calls and five emails to get feedback on my last report, but for me it’s worth it. I never thought I could have my job and be at home with my son too, and albeit not perfect, I do in fact have both. If you’re considering doing the same, or hope to some day, just remember that no matter how it feels for you, if you can make it work, you’re one of the lucky ones. In fact, if we make it work at all, full-time, part-time, in-office, at-home, aren’t we all lucky?
Mallory is a wife, mother and a professional. She has been married for eight years and her son is a year and a half old. She is currently a part-time market research consultant with 10 years of experience in brand research and competitive intelligence. Originally from Chicago, she now lives in Atlanta.