Many pieces have been written about Moms making the transition from the workforce to working at home. Warnings about adjusting to the daily solitude and withdrawl from public life, accompanied by well meaning advice on how to begin a work at home career, have proven to help make the transition as easier for many women. What about women who have been working from home from years and are returning to the corporate world?
After spending the last 6 years working from home, I will soon be returning to work with the general public. The thought terrifies me as I am sure it has many women who have taken the same path back to work after an extended absence.
I’ve worked with my customers through email for so long now, I can’t help but wonder, ‘How I will I handle dealing with people in person?’ Although I will no longer be able to go to work in my pajamas, I know people will still expect the same level of service and honesty. Perhaps even more! I will not be able to hide behind my computer monitor, bleary eyed from lack of sleep, stumbling my way through answers to a customers’ question until I can finally make it sound right and hopefully make sense. There is no backspace key in real life.
Gone will be the constant interruptions from children needing an owie kissed, having to settle an argument between siblings, and the constant background music of Barney and Teletubbies. I will have to re-gather my sanity and remember not to tell Mr. Jones that mommy needs to make a phone call and could he please be quiet for a few minutes while I do so.
I will have to re-train myself to get up early in the mornings to the sound of an alarm clock instead of my son shaking my shoulder at the crack of dawn telling me he is hungry and wants breakfast. I will need to learn how to apply makeup, do my hair and find something to wear other than sweat pants and a T-shirt. Do I even own proper business attire any more?
This will be a learning process for me as I teach myself not to tell Mrs. Smith to go stand in the corner for yelling at me. I certainly won’t be able to tell my boss “Mommy’s the boss around here, so don’t tell me what to do” without the possibility of consequences that are not to my liking.
I will once again discover how it feels to return home after long hours at the office so I can sit down and relax from a stressful day in front of the TV before going to bed. NOT! It will probably be more like a rush to get dinner started, get the laundry thrown in the dryer, help the kids with their homework, eat supper, wash dishes, bathe the kids and tuck them into bed… then I’ll flop into my own bed and wait for the cycle to begin again in the morning.
Although I often complained that I did not have enough time to get everything finished that I wanted to do because of a difficult day with the kids, nothing has been more rewarding for me than to work from home while raising them. I’ve watched them develop from helpless infants to independent youngsters who are eager to take on the world and experience things they can no longer get at home. They are ready to go out into the world and begin gathering an education that will see them through the rest of their lives.
Those who have been blessed with the opportunity to work at home will probably wonder if they will be successful at it. They will ask themselves if they should risk their current comfort zone and attempt to reach for their dreams by starting their own business. Although it may be a difficult adjustment in the beginning, many who have done it will tell you it’s definitely worth it. Whether working from home, or returning home from work, always remember to follow your dreams.
© Womans-Net 2001
Kim Haas is a WAHM and Founder of Womans-Net.com, a popular online resource community for entrepreneurs focusing on working from home and celebrating small business.