Working from home no substitute for childcare

I’ve written about this many times before but it is something that really gets under my skin. In my research I am always uncovering web sites to help parents work from home. Working from home is great but it’s the sites that purport “Spend more time with your children! Save on the costs of child care!” that I loathe. Many have their heart in the right place but too often these sites lead folks down an unrealistic path.

I’m not sure who these folks are that care for their children and are also employed at home with a successful business. I think parents are kidding themselves if they think that writing a blog post or listening in on a conference call with the mute button pressed while their child colors on the floor next to them is the same as caring for your child. It’s okay to work occasionally when your children are around, in fact, I think it’s good for them to see this side of you. But the idea that you can have a successful career and care for your children at the same time, both from home, is ludicrous. If you think it is possible, I’d love to hear your explanation.

In fact it’s making me rethink my logo, which shows a mom working with a baby at her feet. I suppose when you have a baby you can certainly get more done than with a toddler, and when your children are in school you can get loads accomplished. But I don’t want to reinforce the false idea that working from home means you can have it all. It doesn’t. Work is still work and children still need attention. Child care is necessary.

And when we say that we can work from home while at the same time caring for our children, doesn’t that diminish the role of mother? I don’t consider the “supermom” who says she can do it all to be anything to idolize. For years mothers have been trying to get respect for the hardest job in the world. If we say we can care for our young children at the same time we can run a business, then maybe being a mother isn’t so hard after all. Anyone want to argue that?

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2 Responses

  1. Well I would argue that since I currently do what you claim in your post does not exist. I work for a university while taking care of my child. It’s not perfect but have been able to be an attentive mom and still a great employee. I telecommute since I am a server admin and watch my son. Yes sometimes you have to press mute while on conference calls or take a little longer to respond to emails but you make it work. I understand letting people know it’s not easy but acting like it does not exist or you aren’t the best parent is wrong for the moms that do it successfully.

    • I would be curious to see what your results are if you are watching multiple children under the age of 5. While it is entirely possible (and does exist) to work from home and have your children at home I still strongly believe that you are not 100 percent succcesful in either realm when trying to combine them. If you believe your are successful at it, then good! But from my perspective I cannot entertain and engage a child while also trying to produce work-related results.

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