Do I Miss The Office or Just Miss Starbucks?: Reflections on Being a Temporary Work From Home Mom

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If you would have told me at the beginning of 2020 that I’d spend the majority of the year in a work from home setting out of a guest bedroom that doubles as my closet, I would have screamed.

But here we are in 2021, that’s exactly what happened, and there has been minimal screaming! As vaccines start to roll out and it looks like life may return to normal-ish within the next year, I’ve been reflecting on my time working from home and what I’ve learned from the experience.

1. I’m a Better Person When I’m Well Rested

I used to wake up around 6:00 a.m., rush to the gym, rush to make myself presentable, rush across town, and rush into the office by 8:30 a.m. Now that I work from home, I wake up at 8 a.m. and I am in front of my computer by 8:15 a.m. Instead of being burnt out during my commute home, I’m happily getting to daycare pick up with plenty of time to spare and lots of energy to enjoy our time as a family in the evening. Work/life balance is challenging on some days and impossible on others – but after the experience of being able to show up for my family nearly every day, I know to be the mom I want to be I’ll need to do better in the future.

2. Coworker Friendships Are Legit Friendships

I spend a lot of time on video chats. A LOT. So why do I miss my coworkers? I still see them all the time!

It’s hard to explain, but the best example I have is that when a coworker-turned-friend had her last day a few weeks ago, we had a virtual happy hour to say our goodbyes. We played a game, chatted for awhile and then…logged off. It felt so impersonal. I miss those face-to-face experiences that make work feel human. Usually I hate hugs but I even miss those. Only seeing my coworkers virtually while I work from home has been just as hard as seeing my other friends only virtually.

3. I Am Terrible At Making My Own Lunch

My office had a cafeteria down the hall. Sometimes I’d feel inspired to bring a lunch in, but most the time I relied on the salad bar with an occasional splurge for stir fry.

Now while I work from home, I eat frozen meals for lunch most days. Have you ever looked at the sodium in those things? They’re so bad – and yet they’re a major food group in my life now.

I will never, ever take a quick walk to the cafe for granted again. There are so, so many things I’ll never take for granted again.

4. People Love Babies

There is nothing that brightens up a meeting more than when a baby toddles across the back of someone’s video. At the beginning of the pandemic when daycares were closed, it was a constant but fun distraction. Now those types of interruptions are few and far between but I still squeal whenever a puppy or baby makes an appearance.

The lesson here? Put up pictures of your kids at your desk. Talk about them when people ask. I used to worry that no one really cared what was happening with my life at home – it turns out that was totally unfounded.

5. I’m Never Wearing Regular Pants Again

Sorry. I hope we, as a society, have decided leggings are acceptable workwear. I tried putting on jeans last week and just…it’s over. They’re over. I’ll consider it a win if I at least get on some regular non-slipper shoes.

So the answer is there are in fact some perks to working from home, but there are definitely some things I miss too!

Perks of working from home

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