The New Breed Of Working Parents: Real Parents, Virtually Working

by | March 11, 2015

In our modern economy, it is no longer a given that a family can survive on one income when a child (or children) enter the picture. And, with both parents outside of the home, the costs of childcare can be daunting or even crippling. Real life example: my husband and I were paying nearly twice the cost of our mortgage in daycare payments.

So, it stands to reason that parents, both fathers and mothers, would be drawn to the work-from-home positions like moths to a flame. The win-win of earning an income while staying home with the children is too tantalizing to dismiss – especially with virtual jobs becoming more available in the workforce.

But all too often, this miracle solution is viewed with rose colored glasses – and the reality can be a brutal awakening. While working from home can seem far more relaxed because the employee has more control over their environment, virtual jobs are just as demanding as office ones and often even harder to get away from. Parents are free to work from their kitchens, but are now faced with the challenge of entertaining a toddler during a conference call.

Still, parents can be some of the hardest working employees – they value the stability of their jobs because they have a family relying on their income, and they know that every minute spent away from their kids is high valuable and should be spent as productively as possible. So I’m exploring key insights to help real parents (like me!) in the virtual workforce stay sane, productive, and happy.

Some of the tricks, tools and theories that we will explore:

  • Quality Over Quantity: making the most of breaks throughout the day and engaging kiddos in other household events/routines.
  • Structure and Schedules: mapping out your most productive hours and sticking to them – keeping the kids and your job on a predictable schedule.
  • Asking for Help: the supermom epidemic versus reality; combatting the mommy guilt and the am-I-underachieving employee guilt and making the best of difficult situations.

Note that all of this is from the perspective of a virtually working mom – not necessarily an expert on the industry’s statistics, but certainly experienced in the ups and downs of dialing in while diapering.

Do I love that I gave up my 45 minute commute every morning and every evening, and gained that time with my kids? Absolutely. Am I occasionally sitting on the front porch in freezing weather during a conference call in an effort to keep the house quiet for my napping toddler? You bet.

But life is always a balancing act – at least I get to juggle from the couch. Check back next week for Quality over Quantity, a snapshot on sharing your work day with your kids.