STOP Saying Being a Work at Home Parent is "Convenient"

Brooke Duke

Recently I was chatting with an older lady on a church foyer floor while my 11-month-old crawled around nearby. We exchanged the usual, “Oh she’s so cute/how old is she/what’s her name?” questions. Then she asked me what I did/if I worked outside the home.

“Oh I work from home,” I told her. “So I can stay home with her.”

“Oh how convenient!” she squealed.

I was taken aback by her assessment. Working from home as a parent is many things, but it is anything but convenient.

That word stuck with me, playing over and over in my brain like that awful song that gets stuck in your head on repeat. Convenient.

Because it’s so convenient to have to fit the majority of my work between nap time and when my husband is home.

It’s so convenient to have to constantly split my focus between work and my child.

I just love the convenience of my child yelling angrily at the baby gate while I just try to squeeze out five minutes to respond to emails.

It’s so convenient how I always have to choose between cleaning my house, work, giving attention to my child, or doing something for myself. And no matter what I choose, three other things are for sure NOT getting done.

It’s super convenient how my daughter only wants me to hold her all the time, even if I need to take a call from a client or teach a lesson to a new student.

The convenience of trying to be a stay-at-home mom and an entrepreneur simultaneously while still keeping my mental health in check just cannot be overstated.

Look, I really do love my life, challenges and all. I wouldn’t trade my work or my family. I LOVE that I get to stay home with my daughter and be here for most of the really big moments and see her every day. I love that I still get to pursue a career (or two) and follow my dreams even though I have a small child. I love that we don’t have to pay a huge sum of money towards childcare every month. But none of it is convenient. It’s all really hard work, and most days, I struggle.

I struggle to balance being mom and boss. I struggle with knowing where to set boundaries and when to ask for help. I struggle feeling like I’m doing a good enough job with it all. I can only hope that the longer I do it, the better I will get at it, but let’s be honest - this shit is hard. Parenting is never convenient. Your kids will make sure of that.

And parenting right alongside your work? That’s downright complicated.