Phrases That Work-from-Home Moms Want to Ban
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Work-from-home moms (a.k.a. WFHMs) often have two full-time jobs to attend to at the same time. We juggle projects, homework, emails, cooking, deadlines, laundry, Zoom meetings, and playdates every day. (Note: it’s not an exhaustive list.)
After a few months — or years — of working from home, we get pretty good at this. Some of us even manage to make it look as if we’re living a sort of fairy tale, where the money falls from the sky while we’re getting our nails done. Spoiler alert: that’s not how things work in real life.
I hope that the recent, COVID-related changes in business will change the way people look at mothers who decide to work from home.
WFHMs existed long before COVID-19 turned remote work into a hot topic. Sure, most people believed working from home was just a fancy way to say you don’t have a job. That wasn’t the case. As a WFHM, I can say that we have real jobs and generate income. So, it gets increasingly harder to process all the annoying phrases about how we should reorganize our lives to comply with expectations.
I hope that the recent, COVID-related changes in business will increase awareness about remote jobs and, consequently, change the way people look at mothers who decide to work from home. Until then, here’s what we hate hearing from people around us:
“Why do you need a babysitter? I thought you were home all day.” I could never look the person who said this to me in the eyes ever after this conversation. In the beginning, it made me feel guilty for asking for help. Luckily, I soon realized that having someone take care of my kids allowed me to work better, grow professionally, and finally reach work-life balance from the kitchen table.
“Just one or two years more, and the kid will be old enough for you to get a job.” It’s one of the most disrespectful things someone’s ever told me. That’s because I already have a job that makes me happy. I’m one of those lucky people who love their jobs, and I’m proud of it. It may not result in fixed income, but it’s still good money.
“How come you’re tired? You’re home all day.” This phrase should be banned when talking to any parent, regardless of whether they have a job, period. Next time you take your kid to the park or playground and hear a parent complain about exhaustion, just stay quiet.
“You had nothing on your to-do list anyway.” It hurts even more when you hear this one from mothers. Do you know how you work night hours to have enough free time to volunteer for school activities? Then you hear “working mothers,” saying how you had a clear schedule anyway, so it’s only reasonable for you to be there every time the school needs volunteers. I like to answer with a phrase I once heard from a friend: “Just because I’m home with my kids doesn’t mean I’m not working. Raising humans is dang hard.”
“Hey, there’s an open position at the reception in the hotel where I work. It’s part-time, right what you need when you have a toddler.” To be honest, it was an excellent job and an opportunity for anyone looking for a hospitality career. But I already have a job, and the person who advised me to interview knew that. So, good intentions or not, it was rude.
As I get older and gather more experience under my belt, I try not to let these words get to me. But it’s not always easy. When people act as if I were jobless, it hurts, and it chips away at my self-esteem. So please be kind to work-from-home parents. We deserve it.