Stay at Home, Work at Home Mothering

Rodolphe - This article was written by Amanda Kendzior for Remotive Blog, she shares with us her experience as a Remote Working mother - Enter Amanda:

Last year, as a brand new mum, I stumbled upon something great.

Not just great in the fantastic sense, but what feels rather greatly unknown. A solution for mothers worldwide, an answer for many pages worth of forums between battling 'working mums' vs 'stay-at-home' mums :

It doesn't have to be either-or. Let the two come together. Become a remote worker.

Getting the Working itch

After 4 months of maternity leave, I felt ready to work again. In fact, I needed to work, to put all the spinning gears winding around in my head to use in ways that just weren't being challenged at the time.

But what to do?

I was breastfeeding full-time, and pumping in some office toilet was not how I had imagined motherhood to be, nor was I ready to leave my little one's side just yet.

One great connection and, granted, a lot of luck later, I found myself with a work-from-home, part-time job. And suddenly, being a working mum made complete sense.

The New Type of Working Mother

Tap into Google 'working mum or stay-at-home mum' and you'll be drawn into an (occasionally volatile) world of heated debates.

Are stay-at-home mothers lazy? Should working mums feel guilty? Who has it better?

More than a year after becoming a remote worker, I'm tempted to post my own response to the last question; "Hey, me! This is bloody brilliant!"

Gone is the questioning, hints of guilt, or trying to cover all bases whilst satisfying none. Remote working allows me to do it all, to be an empowered worker and mother*.

One minute I can be deep in client discussion about the best piece of software to suit their business, and the next, me and my boy are singing about wheels on a bus going round and round.

It's hectic, it's all-encompassing, and at times it's even laughable. But what makes it so ideal? What has been my own experience?

*disclaimer: I do have childcare help. I'm a multitasker, but I'm no Wonderwoman.

Greater Flexibility

My first lesson of being a parent was: be flexible.

As a planner and list-ticker, this was a tough nut to crack, but parenthood has a strange way of changing people.

Sick days, feeds, doctor's visits, daycare dramas, the works. Each day there is a plan, and most days, it changes.

Yet with remote working, that's ok.

Hours are less likely to be rigid, tasks can be ticked during nap times, babies can be fed whilst reading up on your favourite industry blogs. The same hours in the day exist, yet what can be done with them expands infinitely.

Open-minded culture

This may not apply to all remote-working companies, but there does tend to be a higher probability that if a company is hiring remotely, they're moving on from older, rigid philosophies and structures, and into ones that focus on the overall happiness of a worker.

This said happiness includes family life, which as been so overlooked by society that many families nowadays can't help but join the full-time, confined-to-office-boundaries, kids-in-nursery all day type of living.

Unfortunately, it's the only route many of us have had to get by.

Now, teams like the start-up I work with, amongst other larger companies like Buffer, know that happy teams are motivated and more productive teams.

If I suddenly have to take a day off due to a red rash sweeping over my kid's body, the guys are cool with that. They know I'll still manage to take care of our clients as well as I care for my son; the same genuine and attentive approach applies to both. I don't have a sense of duty to show up to the office, or hold a grudge from my desk. Instead, the freedom to bounce between tasks renews my enthusiasm more each day.

Bringing it all together

Days in and out of the office are often broken into pieces.

Time slots allocated to commuting, to work, to time with the family, and a few hours remaining to sleep - unless you're a new parent, of course, in which case the latter doesn't apply.

But one of the most important lessons I've learned in the last year is that life need not be divided and conquered. Working and parenting can go hand-in-hand through a remote working approach.

Sure, there have been a couple slip-ups: a few cries in the background during client calls, or having a baby perched on my lap whilst chatting through a company virtual hangout, but most people are able to laugh it off, and hey, some even start sharing stories of their own experiences.

No longer should there be the great debate, the question of "are you a working mum, or are you a stay-at-home mum?" Mamas, the answer lies in remote working: you can be both.

This article was written by Amanda Kendzior. Amanda is taking care of Customer Happiness at Screensaver Ninja. You can find them on Twitter as well :)

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