How remote work allowed me to be the mom I wanted to be
All it took was a couple of weeks to realize remote work was the only way I could do maternity the way I wanted to.
When you have a baby, there are a million things to worry about. The one thing I did not want to worry about, was having to leave my child with strangers when he was too young to even make a face if something happened. So, unless you live in an amazing country like Estonia, Hungary, Japan or Norway, you know maternity leave is simply not enough. You will have to face leaving your newborn baby (ok, your 5 month old baby) with someone else and if you don’t have a tight support system, daycare will be your only choice. Unless you work remotely, like I chose to.
I’ve always known what kind of mum I wanted to be, even before I knew I was pregnant. I knew I wanted to be with my kid until he was at least 2, so he could actually communicate if something was wrong.
I knew I wanted to be able to spend time with him, teach him how to talk, how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. I didn’t want to miss out on anything. I definitely didn’t want some stranger showing me a video of his first steps. But how was I supposed to do all of this, if I had to work at an office from 9 to 5? Was I really meant to enjoy my kid THAT little? No, thank you.
When I found out I was pregnant, I was actually working for an agency, but we all worked from home. However, only a few months after my baby was born, the company decided it was time to get an office, and so they gave me an ultimatum: I had two weeks to find a daycare and begin my 9 to 5 office hours. I hated the idea, but they gave me no choice and when you have a baby, being out of a job isn’t really the best option. Luckily, I had a good support system and was able to go to the office without having to send my baby to daycare, but even so, it made me feel sad and guilty to leave him everyday. I felt like I was failing, there was not enough time to spend with my kid, I was missing out on too many things, struggling with having to pump in the bathroom, constantly crying and not really doing my job. I was not being a good mother and I was not being productive. A few weeks later, we were negotiating my departure from the company. I had already decided remote work was the only way I could do maternity the way I wanted to.
Remote work has allowed me to teach my kid what I do and it has taught him respect and responsibility. He knows his mom is always home, but he also knows I have to actually work, and that is super important. It wasn’t always easy — during my first year of remote work as a mum, I was focusing on him 90% of the time and ended up always working at night (because I hardly got anything done during the day) and it was killing me. Teaching him and explaining to him what I was doing, made my life (our life) a lot easier. By the time he turned 2, he started attending a day care, but only for 4 hours a day, so we could still enjoy each other. That would’ve never been possible if I wasn’t working from home.
My kid is now 4 and I’m 100% sure I made the right decision. Remote work has allowed me to enjoy every day, as much as I want to, being a mum. It has been hard, I won’t lie, because trying to be focused with a toddler running around or constantly saying “mum can you…, mum I want…, mum look…” is not an easy job — but it is doable, if it’s what you want.
At Get on Board we all work remotely and that has allowed me to work from home, from the beach or from the swimming pool (and that is VERY important during summer break). But more than that, it has also allowed me to include my kid in what I do. He loves “the guys” and he always wants to be part of our video calls, he even waits for “his turn” to speak. How awesome is it to find somewhere you can grow professionally, without having to put maternity or your kid a side? Me and my son, we do it all: we go to events together, we work together, we get sick together and we get better together. And that is just priceless.
Organization and communication are key. I constantly have video calls and he respects that and doesn’t intrude (most of the time). Sometimes he’ll grab an old keyboard and work alongside with me, and other times we’ll plan activities so he can be entertained while I work. He knows he can’t bother me for every little thing, and that has made him independent and respectful. But he also knows that, even if I’m working, I’m here. So if something happens to him, he can always come to me. And that’s the kind of mum I want to be.