How Working from Home Became the Life Change I Didn’t Know I Needed

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I never desired to work from home. I thought about it over the years, but I always enjoyed keeping my home and career lives separate. I love organization, schedules, and order. I thrive on it, and so do my children. When I had my first child, and she was diagnosed at age 5 with autism, I learned that structure benefited us both.

Then Covid-19 hit, and in March 2020, it sent us all to the confines of home. To stay.

My first few months working from home were hard. The transition was nothing like I expected. I went from being so tidy and organized at work with everything in its place to work in the area where I rested, which was my bedroom. I didn’t have the space for an office in there. And in my line of work, just having a small laptop wasn’t nearly enough to be productive. One month in, I was literally on the verge of a breakdown.

laptop on a desk while working from home

Mentally I couldn’t figure out how to adjust. The kids were home from school, and my youngest daughter has Down syndrome and needs constant care and supervision. My tween was finishing up her elementary years and, for her, graduating 5th grade was like senior year in high school. She was ready for the school trip to the east coast, the dance, and “graduation.” She wanted to celebrate her years being a cheerleader for the school and just enjoy her last year with her close friends. I had a hard time helping her because, internally, I was struggling and couldn’t help myself.

I stepped down from writing for this very blog that I love so much. I stopped crafting. I was stuck. Work became a chore that I loathed. For me going to work was the one place just for me. I wasn’t mom, and I didn’t have a long list of chores to do: no cooking or cleaning, just me being around other adults. Work got me out of the house. Work gave me a sense of purpose. Now my work life and home life had no boundaries. The lines were blurred. I became overwhelmed.

Sometimes it takes a person asking you the right questions to comprehend what’s actually going on in your life. When the quarter ended, my boss called and asked how I was adjusting, and I was honest. I wasn’t adjusting. We had a great conversation. After that call, I felt a shift, and I was determined not to start the new quarter in that same mind space. I needed to make some changes. And fast.

The first thing I did was make myself a workspace. I moved into the dining room; that way, I was forced to get up and out of the bedroom. I purchased a small desk and sat back in a corner, removed from everything else going on in the house. Then my boss suggested that I go to the office and get more monitors. That would allow me to work efficiently, and it was the same setup that I had in the office. Perfect! Next, I needed the kids on a schedule. They didn’t have school, but I still needed to focus on work and be in an environment that would allow me to do just that.

Organization…check!

Structure…check!

Order…check!

As the new quarter began, the weight started to lift. Then virtual school started. BOOM!

Have you ever tried to virtual school a child that needs 1-on-1 assistance and work a full-time job? You would that that I would know better by now, that we’re never entirely in control. When I thought I had things under control, I now had to add teacher’s assistant to my to-do list.

With faith, prayers, and time things fell into place. We got a rhythm.

I was able to get help with my youngest for virtual school. Her teacher was more than understanding of our unique home challenges. My tween started middle school strictly from home, and she was able to adjust pretty quickly and make some new friends. I found a space in our home to call my own to focus on work. And with all that came peace. I noticed that I was more patient with my children. We weren’t rushing all the time. We spent way less time in a car and more time actively together. I was involved with their schoolwork on a level that I’d never experienced before. I didn’t have long commutes anymore, and I actually had some time just for me.

the girls also had to adjust to me working from home
The girls adjusting to virtual learning.

I started to experience a new me working from home, and I liked it. I felt less of a machine and more like a woman, a wife, and a mother. No more worries about childcare and finding a place to accept my child with special needs that I could afford. And then, when schools opened back up, I didn’t have to take time off work to be with them. I was already home.

adjusting to virtual school

Working from home allowed me to focus more on myself and my family. We needed that. I needed that.

I’m not sure when the office will open back up, but I enjoy working from home. Now let’s see how I adjust when I return to the office!

 

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Angela has Memphis running through her veins. Born and raised here, she loves traveling but Memphis is always home. There is no other city like it. Angela is the mom of three amazingly unique girls: Jordan (June 2003), Carmen (January 2009), and Norah (June 2014). Jordan has Autism and is a talented artist; Carmen is the entertainer that loves dancing and competitive cheering (yes, she is a cheer mom!), and Norah has Down Syndrome and is full of sass. Besides being a full-time mom and a full-time employee, she is also a full-time advocate for her girls with special needs. She enjoys spending time with her family creating memories, vacationing whenever the opportunity arises, and dancing in the kitchen while cooking. Her mottos for life are: with God all things are possible, every day is a new day to be grateful, and live to love and love to smile.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Oh how I Loved this. This was so informative. I’m always trying to create a space just for me to be creative and allow my daughter the same. You gave great tips on how to do just that. We don’t know how important boundaries is, until you don’t have any. Thank you for pointing me in the right direction.

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