Monday, September 19, 2016

Working at Home Is Not an Adorable Hobby

Being a freelance writer is a funny thing. There are thousands of us out there, but I don't know a single one in my own hood or on my list of acquaintances. I've only met writer-friends through the good old interwebs.

So when I tell people I'm a writer, an unusual thing happens-- people often seem to take that to mean sitting on my butt watching The Today Show, or "lunching," or taking yoga classes whenever I want. That couldn't be further from the truth.

Despite the fact that I'm trying to squeeze in work whenever I possibly can, it's not uncommon for me to hear something patronizing like, "How cute" or "Fun!" or "Do you make money doing that?" I've even had people laugh IN MY FACE. How would a lawyer or engineer like it if I said their job was "fun" or if I chuckled at their cuteness and asked how much they get paid? Notsomuch. And sorry guys, but men are especially prone to thinking my job is an adorable hobby.

If you need a label, you can call me a "Work at Home Mom," as every day, I attempt to care for my kids without full-time childcare while cramming in research, writing, interviewing, editing, submitting, and promoting whenever I can. I have actual deadlines and actual assignments. Despite the fact that I work A LOT, it appears that many people take that to mean Nonworking. Huh?

Don't get me wrong, Stay at Home moms work HARD. I've been there. Work Outside the Home Moms work very hard too. We are all working hard!

Also, I should note: some people do get it. These are usually the people who like reading, so they tend to like and appreciate writers.

So, yes, I usually work on my couch, doing what I love (writing and editing), hunched over my trusty laptop whenever I can sneak it in-- during the lickety-split two hour overlap while my kids are at preschool and school, during that precious time when the kids are finally asleep at night, or occasionally during times when they are out with my husband running an errand on the weekends. I LOVE WRITING. I sometimes always wish I had more time to do it, though.

My cubicle is conveniently located on a big yellow couch adjacent to my refrigerator and without anyone slurping soup or coffee in the next cubicle. At times, I thoroughly enjoy working at home, and I'm grateful to be the one who greets my son when he gets off the bus after a long day at school and to be the one having lunch with my preschooler.

Other times, especially when I'm trying to reply to an important e-mail or partake in a conference call while Dora is playing in the background and/or someone is asking for another snack, a quiet office sounds positively dreamy.

Anyway, the rant is basically this: working at home does not equal doing nothing. We are working!

~Julia @ Frantic Mama


  1. Oh! This hurts everytime! And why won't anyone understand? I work too, sometimes on the dining table, sometimes suddenly in the night and over under and about kids that demand constant attention, yet I hear weird things like ,"if its my hobby" "if I do it while away the excesses of time I have". You touch a most sensitive topic here and with such stoic humour, it has amazing impact. From my wicker chair in the balcony to your yellow couch- "WE ARE WORKING":):)

    1. I have NO IDEA why people don't get it. It's the strangest thing, really. I suppose if I'm not in an office from 9-5, then it doesn't "count?" Frustrating, though I guess I shouldn't care what anyone else thinks...
      And "the excesses of time?!" That makes me laugh out loud. Only the opposite can be true for a mother of young children, like you are-- I have never had so little time in my life to do things I want to do. I'm sure the same goes for you.
      And hahahaha, yes! I will picture you working in the "cubicle" next to me tomorrow when I squeeze in a little writing time :). You are just great! Think how much art you have created and shared in the past year! It's incredible!


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