Monday, March 21, 2011

The Pros & Cons of Working From Home

Workspace in London before Kids.

Lately I have been dealing with a lot of cons when it comes to working from home and it's starting to bring my down. So I thought a list of pros and cons might be in order to make sure and set myself straight on my choice. Being a mother of 2 small children, a very gregarious 4 year old little girl, and a super cuddly 9 month old boy, it's very difficult to find those very valuable free moments to get any art accomplished. I find myself looking longingly at my unoccupied art desk as I try to meet my family's daily demands. I worked many years in a professional capacity and it was extremely hard to make the switch from Professional at a job to Professional at home with kids. For years I made more than my husband, I paid all the bills or a large portion of them. It's hard sometimes to remember why I made the switch and when will I see the reward in my choice in my art and in my family.

Making the choice to work from home with or with out kids is a very difficult choice. There is a lot to consider, a lot of sacrifices to be made, and a lot to adjust to. This isn't a choice anyone should make lightly.

Here are MY pros and cons

Pro: I don't have to deal with traffic coming or going from work everyday. None of this I'm running late and a scramble to get the kids off to daycare.
Con: There is no down time, unwinding time, or just listen to what ever I want time.

Pro: Don't have to deal with a boss who leaves at noon but still calls you while they are relaxing by their pool at 5:00 PM to have you run some report they will never look at in order to keep you from leaving at a decent time.
Con: Nothing con about not having a boss.

Pro: Don't have to deal with other employees that drive you crazy. You know the ones I'm referring to. All their petty ways and lame excuses are no longer an issue.
Con: There is a huge lack of opportunity to socialize when working from home. Most everyone I know still goes to a job everyday and they send their kids to daycare. Being at home with kids is very lonely because no one does it any more these days. There are very few stay at home adults to make friends with and that means you don't get many choices on who you get to communicate with. And let me just say that as amazing a vocabulary my 4 year old daughter has, it's still not what I would call stimulating conversation. It makes for a very lonely day.

Pro: I don't have to work on a really stupid project that my boss thinks is super great.
Con: Family and friends seem to think I should get giddy about doing a logo, art, or web work for them. And that pay should be minimal at best...after all they feel I should be grateful for the work. I'd really rather be struck by lightning.

Pro: I get to create what I want to create
Con: No guarantee that I will make any money from long hours of work. I can create image after image and none may every sell. My first 4 pieces I put up for sale after choosing to stay at home never sold.

Pro: Don't have to deal with clients that the "boss" brings in and do some really lame campaign that will ultimately kill your portfolio.
Con: Everyone and their dog asks you to do art for them for free or for some ridiculously low amount. They will gladly pay you what amounts to pennies an hour while they still demand $60 or more an hour for their time.

Pro: I get a lot of "wow" when I say I stay at home with my kids and that I also sell my art professionally. I also get a lot of "how do you find the time". Not sure this is really a "Pro" as I'm not sure what people are really thinking.
Con: Staying at home trying to make it as a respectable artist with two kids is very hard to do and there is little or no time in which to do it. It means late nights, sneaking in time here and there, and wishing on a star that I didn't need sleep at all.

Pro: I get a lot of respect from the older generations on my choice to stay home with my kids. They seem to understand the value of raising your own kids and taking on the biggest responsibility there is, the life, and upbringing of another.
Con: There is no respect for the fact that I do in fact have a job outside of raising my kids. At adult social gatherings with peers I am looked down upon for choosing to stay at home with my kids instead of perusing my career.

Pro: I have the opportunity to make way more than most of my traditional go to work art friends who are currently struggling to keep their crap jobs in this really crap economy.
Con: I don't know when my next piece of art will sell, I don't know how much money I will make this week, this month.

Pro: I'm not constantly bombarded with meetings or to do lists from bosses that keep me from getting my work done
Con: There are plenty of distractions and interruptions from neighbors, friends, family that don't seem to get that your trying to get a job done. It's the reality that they just don't seem to understand that YES I DO HAVE A JOB.

Pro: Don't have to deal with a client that loves your work, but then asks you to do something completely not like what you've been doing only to say in the end that they don't like it.
Con: EVERYONE is a critic. I thought dealing with the critiques in art school were bad, at least my peers and teachers knew what they were talking about. Listening to family and friends critique my work is painful even when they are being nice they still don't know what they are talking about.

Pro: I get to raise well adjusted, kind, polite, loving children. I LOVE LOVE LOVE how much everyone adores my two kids. I get a constant stream of complements where ever I go from strangers, family and friends.
Con: I get no credit in the fact that my kids are amazing. Can't recall the last time someone outside of my husband that is, said you are an amazing mom, or your kids take after you, or look like you.

In the end, my day is spent trying to make my kids the best they can be, I do all the house work, all the cooking, but (and that BUT is the size of Hyde Park) I get all the kisses, all the hugs, all the I love you's and all the thank you's. My kids are my constant review of how good a job a do at being a mom.

I am still struggling with the time I so desperately desire to get some art accomplished. It means for a very full schedule everyday. I don't watch TV, I don't read books (unless it's to my kids), I get updates on the world around me through carefully picked sources on Twitter, and socialization is almost non existent because I need to get art done during any free time I have.

So why did I choose to stay home? I wanted to raise my kids, not some stranger, I wanted to produce art I wanted to make that I felt passionate about not what some stream of clients think they want. I wanted to watch my kids grow and not hear about it from day care. I wanted people to choose my art, not force me to create art for them.

Current workspace in San Diego with kids.

1 very supportive husband, 2 kids, 4 blogs, 2 Etsy shops, 1 house, 1 yard, and a super exciting giant project underway. I'm very glad with my choice.


Nella Design Studio said...

This pretty much sums it up! Glad I'm not the only one who feels this way. It is incredibly isolating and lonely, but fulfilling at the same time. If that makes sense.

Skyemberr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Skyemberr said...

Your chair looks very strange in this picture Suzanne! I think it's the angle.
I have a blog on here too now, it'S:

I may pick your brain later because I am not getting the gadgets I want working to show on my page if they use java.
Hope you and the little ones are having a great evening! We should get together and do dinner, just the 4 of us, plus or sans kids. :)