Thursday, March 07, 2013


Almost 2 years now, working from home. And for all those who went "wow, you are so lucky!", I have something to confess. It has not been easy. Especially for someone who for over 13 years, had been working 10-12 hours at most times, 6 days a week, sometimes on Sundays too, without missing a day at work unless something really important or serious came in the way, it was hard to imagine that I'd opt for 'work from home'. My sis asked me if I was sure I wanted to do that. At that point of time, I saw better work (as it was more to do with my line of work), better opportunity (considering it was from 'Mumbai' the most happening city for 'advertising'), and above all, the idea of being home when my kids got back from school....Lo and behold, I grabbed the opportunity that came knocking at my door, at a time when I really needed it!

The first day was dreadful, the first week was worse, the first month was maddening.  I had a full time maid then, to take care of the household chores, cooking and taking care of the kids. My little one was in playschool and she would get back home by 12.30 pm. And look who she found at home, her mom who was fiddling away at the computer! She would come straight to my room, jump onto my lap, and tap away on the keyboard, and when I would try desperately to get her off, she would smile, cry, bawl (in that order) but refuse to get off. She wouldn't go to the maid (why would she, when her mom was at home). My maid was having a good time with plenty of time to kill, gossiping with the neighbours and all. Not that I envied her (not the gossiping kind, not me!), but she wasn't making it easy for me. I was stuck with looking after the little one, giving her food to eat, making sure she was engaged, coaxing her for an afternoon nap.......all in the middle of having to finish off jobs within the deadline, which was almost always "yesterday". I had more work coming in with every passing day, and more home duties piling on top of my head. And it only seemed to get worse.

And with the elder one landing home by around 3.30 pm, it was madness at its heights. The kids would be at each others throats, screaming, running and what have you. And then the hubby calling to say "that" person would come to fix "this", keep "this" or "that" ready and what not. Then there would be doorbells to answer...phew! What's worse, just when I would be ready to call it a day, there would be a rush of jobs, with the dreadful fine print  "take your time, send it first thing tomorrow morning". There went my night and my sweet dreams!

While I was used to the late nights and weekend work, I wasn't really ready for managing the home-bit as well. My kids couldn't see I was "working from home", they wanted me to devote my time to them when they were back. I wasn't able to make quality time for them, for I was sitting glued to my desk from dawn to dusk, namesake "at home" mom, who was almost always "at work". It was getting tough for me, and perhaps tougher for the family. What's worse, I had this pent up anger (or frustration) and no vent to let it out. And I could feel my head bloating up into a balloon ready to burst at the slightest prick.

When we moved into our new apartment, I made sure I had "office" space marked out. I got rid of the full time maid who turned into full time "jobless" because of me working from home, and instead hired a part-time maid to cook food and cleanup. I dressed up for work and tried to maintain a time schedule.The kids now understand "mama's home office" a no-hang-around zone, so no entering or fiddling with things during "office hours". Though occasionally (read "everyday"), they do kick up a racket, more so when I'm on an important call with a client or at a briefing session that can so tick me off, they're better behaved now (at least better than when I started out!), letting me finish my work. Just that the 9-5 work is not possible in my kind of work.

Sometimes, work even creeps into the weekends and during vacations, when it gets really annoying, but I oblige because there isn't an option, is there?! The duties are definitely more than the work at office arrangement, where you just had to take care of office work. Now work, home, family, maid, guests.....are all part of my work-at-home arrangement. And at the end of the day, what really gets to me is when the "friendly" neighbours comment "oh, you're so lucky you can work from home, and be there for the kids" or "we thought you're the only one free around here" or "you sit at home all day and you don't even have to cook!", so on and so forth.

Lucky like hell. I would have been better off going to office every day (I know the difference, because I've been there, done that!). At least when I got back home I had some peace and some quality time with family. Now the line between work and home has become so thin that I'm beginning to feel like some super-mom juggling between both roles! Oh no, it's not easy. Especially when you have no one to brainstorm with, talk to or go out with, slogging my buts-off  morning-noon-night with the whatsit glued to the chair, cut off from the rest of the world, and everybody else taking me for granted!

Now, my world has indeed become smaller, I'm afraid if my thinking would become narrower too! I'm thinking of getting a board fixed to the door: BEWARE OF LIVE BOMB...READY TO TICK-OFF ANY MOMENT! (DON'T ANGRY ME!!). The 'once upon a time' cool, patient, composed and ever-smiling gal is no more.

I'm tempted to learn and practise some yoga. Maybe that would help. I don't want my family to bear the brunt. And of course, I hate to see myself losing my cool, and losing my identity. If only I could draw the line between home and work. Make some quality time for myself and my family. Take those well-deserved breaks more frequently...

So take a break guys. Thanks for the patient hearing (reading). I already feel much better now. Just one of those lows, I guess. And I'm glad I'm out of it :)