KARACHI: One of the only good things to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic was the workplace dynamic shift. One was no longer required to sit behind a desk to complete office work and instead, could work from the comfort of their own homes. The work from home option was a Godsend for
mothers like me. With a toddler who is attached to my hip, leaving him behind to work long hours was just not something I could manage. Work from home meant that not only could I be home for my spawn but I was also no longer be on the receiving end of wrath inducing statements such as, “Oh acha, you’re a stay at home mother. You have it so easy!” If I thought being a stay-at-home mother was difficult, I had no idea what work-from-home mothers have to endure! Here are some of our everyday struggles.
The 9 am conference calls
There are two kinds of work from home mothers. The first is a mother whose child does not go to school. The child is most likely below the age of three. There is no concept of a routine, tantrums are at an all time high and mothers are perpetually sleep deprived. So when your boss suggests a 9 am conference call, this is why we ask if we can keep our cameras off:
If our bosses insist on keeping the video on, we spend a great amount of time explaining to our child that mommy has an important meeting and they should not disturb her at any cost. This is about how well it goes:
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The second kind of work from home mother has school going kids. So between school runs, coming home, fitting in our bathroom breaks and breakfast, 9 am calls are nothing short but a roulette of whether we will make it on time!
Limit that screen time
Often, parents are shamed for allowing their child way too much screen time. “Your child needs to explore the world, not sit behind a screen,” is what we are used to hearing. And so as work from home mothers, we try to do just that. We set out a plan for the day, fit in activities during our important hours and think we finally got the hang of it.
Disclaimer: you do not have the hang of it. And so, while drowning in parent guilt, we turn to our one and only savior: the screen! Don’t worry though, the guilt only lasts a week. Then you realize, you do what you have to and no one can tell you how to raise your child and work a fulltime job.
Important client meetings vs petty fights
Work from home does not mean you are barred from meeting important clients, albeit virtually. That also means World War III is going to erupt at home. Your kids will, without a doubt, find the pettiest of things to fight over. All you can do is speak through clenched teeth and pray that your voice is louder than your children’s!
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Curiosity killed the cat
Having to explain to your kids that mommy might be at home but she is still working leads to a lot of questions. What do you do? What does your boss look like? Why are you on the computer? What happens in a meeting? You try your best to explain things to your child but they just are not satisfied with your answers.
In their tiny minds, they think our meetings are fun and games and guess what? They want in on the fun!
You often give up having a meeting with your video on because your kids simply refuse to leave your side once they enter the magical realm of grown up stuff. But when you are forced to turn your camera on, this is what your co-workers get to see:
The home and work life balance
While it might be funny to think of all the struggle work from home mothers have to face, the truth is, managing kids while working is just one part of the equation. Working from home also means there is an assumption that women will be able to manage all the work they were not doing (while at the office) just because they are home.
So between a 9 to 5 job, looking after the kids and doing household chores,
women get overwhelmed. They deserve all the love and appreciation for being the superheroes that they are!