why work all your hours outside the home? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 47 Old 01-28-2009, 07:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just curious about this. It seems to me, working partly at a place of work and partly at home is the best thing to maximise time with your young children.

So im wondering why most women work completely outside of the home? Ofcourse certain jobs don't allow for you to work any hours at home, and if you love your job then you won't want to leave it for that reason. The other thing I came up with is some people might not be able to focus aswell at home as they do in their place of work. And also you might prefer working outside the home because you get a break from your children, and get some adult interaction.

Other reasons are there for why you work 100% outside the home?
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#2 of 47 Old 01-28-2009, 09:01 AM
 
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I can work at home if I want- not all of my hours but coworkers will spend anywhere from 5-20 hours working at home a week. I don't do it because

1. I can't focus at home. DS would want to play and try to see what I am doing which means he would try to type on my laptop and mess up all the papers

2. I could do my work after DS goes to bed but I am too tired by that time and we cosleep and more often than not, I think he would wake if I left the bed.

3. I don't have a separate office space so I'd need to do my work at the kitchen table and I would hear DH and DS, the tv or computer and all the toys.

My reasons have nothing to do with wanting adult interactions or a break from my son.

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#3 of 47 Old 01-28-2009, 09:20 AM
 
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I work from home about one day a week, which is negotiated into my contract. I still send my son to daycare that day because I am working; it does however save me the commute and some hassle, plus I can toss a load of laundry in or get a package.

Anyways, it has impacted my career. I'm okay with the tradeoff right now but even just working that one day a week from home I'm perceived as less available.

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#4 of 47 Old 01-28-2009, 09:47 AM
 
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We have the ability to telework now and then at my employer, however, we have to secure childcare for any children during the time we telework. So, I don't get any extra time with DS, and it doesn't really lessen my commute as I still take him to daycare.

As far as finding a job that would allow me to work from home while DS was there, well, either I wouldn't get much work done, or DS would be watching a whole lot of tv.

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#5 of 47 Old 01-28-2009, 10:15 AM
 
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I'm in the Army. As a paralegal, I probably could do a lot of my work at home, but as a soldier, they want me physically there in the office. Security issues with remote sign-on, "they" say. "They" being the people in charge of information management. My two older kids are school age and my husband is a SAHD. Right now, my youngest goes to work with me, but that'll change once she's born :

I'm the sole breadwinner of the family at the moment and we get very good medical insurance--they pay for my son's autism therapies. So, I can't just up and quit (being pregnant, I have that option--just a matter of filling out some paperwork and my contract is up this December). Also, I can't make--for my job and level of experience--as much in the civilian side as I can if I stay in the military.
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#6 of 47 Old 01-28-2009, 10:17 AM
 
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I couldn't work at home in my current career even if I wanted to. I am a zookeeper and need to be present at the zoo, for my animals. I love my job and actually do enjoy the break from home. I miss son and family but really wouldn't have it any other way. My partner works when I come home so we don't have to deal with daycare or anything of that nature. That makes it much easier to work out of the home for me.

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#7 of 47 Old 01-28-2009, 10:55 AM
 
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I can work from home some of the time, which can be great and not so great. I'm a college prof, so on the days I have classes obviously I'm on campus (2 definite every week, usually there another day for meetings). Some days I go in while the kids are in school and leave in time to get them, so to them it doesn't really seem like I was at work.

With email and remote access to campus, I can do a lot from home. I have two classes that email weekly assignments so I can grade from home and I can get papers written and communicate with students via email. The down side is that it is VERY hard to get work done when the kids are home. Half days and snow days (like today) are full of constant interruptions. And if they have friends over it's nearly impossible to concentrate. I end up doing a lot of work after they go to bed.

I'm very thankful for the flexibility but it's still not a perfect work/family balance.
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#8 of 47 Old 01-28-2009, 11:03 AM
 
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I'm in kate3's situation and do exactly what she does. I find that unless dd is totally individually engaged in something, such as reading a book for an hour, that I can't get much work done beyond catching up on a few emails, and I end up doing things with her. So if I have deadlines to meet, then she goes to afterschool care. I get almost all my work at home done after she goes to sleep, or before she gets up.
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#9 of 47 Old 01-28-2009, 11:06 AM
 
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I can work from home some of the time, which can be great and not so great. I'm a college prof, so on the days I have classes obviously I'm on campus (2 definite every week, usually there another day for meetings). Some days I go in while the kids are in school and leave in time to get them, so to them it doesn't really seem like I was at work.

With email and remote access to campus, I can do a lot from home. I have two classes that email weekly assignments so I can grade from home and I can get papers written and communicate with students via email. The down side is that it is VERY hard to get work done when the kids are home. Half days and snow days (like today) are full of constant interruptions. And if they have friends over it's nearly impossible to concentrate. I end up doing a lot of work after they go to bed.

I'm very thankful for the flexibility but it's still not a perfect work/family balance.
Yeah, that. It's a snow day here, and DS is downstairs with DH. I supposed to be working up here in the bedroom. If DS discovered I was home, I'd get even less done. I'll go relieve DH in a half hour or so.

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#10 of 47 Old 01-28-2009, 11:15 AM
 
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I have yet to find a job that will allow it. They seem to be few and far between. It is not like I can just say to my boss "Hey, I've decided to work from home 2 days a week." I'd get laughed right out of a job.
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#11 of 47 Old 01-28-2009, 11:36 AM
 
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I work for myself and work exclusively from home (other than for meetings). Working from home, while awesome in many ways, is not a silver bullet either.

1. Working from home does not equal no childcare. We have an au pair who watches the boys while we work. Childcare for us is essential. I have tried to work without childcare and, other than now and again, it is very very hard on all of us, kids and adults alike.

2. I have a big house and dh and I both have our own offices. We have had to give up a bedroom and a downstairs room for office space. I actually share an office with my operations director. Most people do not have the dedicated space we have. We also have a business internet account, VOIP line, laptops, etc. basically some real office infrastructure required in order to work from home. I have a friend who had to give up freelancing/working from home because she couldn't get broadband internet at home and her cell got nasty coverage in her neighborhood. She had no way to communicate with the outside world.

3. While growing, working from home does not (yet) have the respect in most offices. I know that when I tried to organize a work from home schedule with my former boss (which lead to me quitting), he was very dismissive and basically thought I was asking to work part time.

4. There are very few jobs that offer real work from home. Most places let you work one day from home, as a huge treat. Flexible hours means you can come in any time between 8 and 9 and then leave 9 hours later. <sarcasm>Oh the freedom </sarcasm>

5. If you work exclusively or primarily from home (or even off site), it is very easy to lose touch with colleagues, politics, informal decision making, etc that still takes place around the coffee pot or before meetings officially start. We had a deputy director for our project who worked from Boston and she was really out of the loop most of the time (there were also some politics involved too - my boss used her distance as a way to cut her out of a lot of decision making - crazy place).

6. back to kids - frankly, the kids can be very disruptive at times, even with childcare. I was on a conference call yesterday, and my 5 year old decided he wanted to sing at the top of his lungs right outside the office. I had to get off my call and physically move him to another part of the house so I could hear the call.

It was a snow day and the roads dangerous, so he and our au pair and other son were trapped in the house. Most days, they are at preschool in the AM and our au pair takes them to playgrounds, playdates, etc. in the afternoon. So in many ways, we are home, but our kids aren't so what is the point of being home? (other than the fabulous commute).

7. it is MUCH harder to separate home and work when your work is only steps away. I don't get snow days. I don't get real vacations, days off, evenings off, because the email, cell, work is always there. We have to be very self disciplined in turning off the work - much more so than if there were that physical separation of work and home.

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#12 of 47 Old 01-28-2009, 11:52 AM
 
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Can't do my job at home, as I am a 1st grade teacher.

BUT, as a teacher, I get great benefits (at least for now ), awesome vacation time AND my 5 yr old ds gets to attend my school.
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#13 of 47 Old 01-28-2009, 12:34 PM
 
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I can't do my current job from home. There's entirely too much paperwork that would have to be shuffled from my house to work and back and forth. I would end up being in here almost as much to get my work.

I can't give up this job in hopes that I can work from home doing something else. There are no jobs to be had, I can't give up a decent, flexible one in this economy.
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#14 of 47 Old 01-28-2009, 01:06 PM
 
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I couldn't work at home in my current career even if I wanted to. I am a zookeeper and need to be present at the zoo, for my animals. I love my job and actually do enjoy the break from home. I miss son and family but really wouldn't have it any other way. My partner works when I come home so we don't have to deal with daycare or anything of that nature. That makes it much easier to work out of the home for me.
OK, you officially win the "coolest job" award.
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#15 of 47 Old 01-28-2009, 01:33 PM
 
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I would venture to say the vast majority of jobs simply cannot be done at home. My employer simply does not have the technological capability to set me up at home with a system with enough security. Also, much of my work requires interacting with coworkers. It simply would not be feasible for me to do more than, possibly 5-10% of my duties at home.

I'm a morning person.  We actually do exist.
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#16 of 47 Old 01-28-2009, 01:44 PM
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I don't really see the difference between working away from home and working at home. Regardless of where I am, I'm working.

When I am with DS, I am not working.

Working at home does not generally mean you can be with your kids at the same time. Perhaps there are some types of work where that is the case, but most are not like that.

professor & maman de DS1 (6) & DS2 (1)

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#17 of 47 Old 01-28-2009, 03:17 PM
 
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I am a RN in the Emergency Room and ICU.

It cannot be done at home, but I do work 12 hour shifts, so I have a few days off during the week.

I can do some administrative work from home with a lap top the hospital fave me that is programmed so I can have hospital access from my dining room.
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#18 of 47 Old 01-28-2009, 03:44 PM
 
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I'm a NICU nurse. Can't do that from home. But I also only work 3 days a week. So, the rest of the time, I'm a SAHM. Also because, even if I could work from home, my kids wouldn't let me.

I absolutely have the best of both worlds. Now if only i didn't have to get up so dang early!
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#19 of 47 Old 01-28-2009, 04:40 PM
 
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I would like to move into a position where I work more at home than I do now, but would still send DD to daycare. I'd like to cut out commute time and downtime where I'm still supposed to show up, but I need to be away from DD to work productively.

I have a steady f/t job with good pay and I need to hold on to it until we are financially secure. If I became a WAHM I would be starting my own business and taking on more risk, so I need to make sure we are well positioned before I do that.
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#20 of 47 Old 01-28-2009, 05:18 PM
 
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I have yet to find a job that will allow it. They seem to be few and far between. It is not like I can just say to my boss "Hey, I've decided to work from home 2 days a week." I'd get laughed right out of a job.
This, unfortunately. I've been denied WAH options many times.
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#21 of 47 Old 01-28-2009, 06:07 PM
 
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I read some study years ago that was premised on working-at-home being the worst of the three choices. Especially with young kids. They see mama at home, but don't understand that she cannot be interrupted because she is on "company time". Or mama can't get her work done because of the constant childish interruptions. Even with a babysitter or a SAHD/P, if mama is home, most kids prefer mama. So you end up sending the baby to daycare. If baby is in daycare, doesn't that defeat the purpose?

As for the "because I love my job"--no, really, I don't. And I have 2 full time jobs--as do most working or student moms--being mommy/wife and being an employee.
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#22 of 47 Old 01-28-2009, 06:23 PM
 
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Well show me a job that can be done from home and I'll do it.....I know very very very few moms who have that option.

I'm an RN and you can't do that from home.

I like my job though, I like getting out of the house away from my kids for 1/3 of my day I'm a homeschooling mom too so it's not like I'm not with them for the other 16 hours of the day...lol

Marilyn,psych RN. Homeschooling mom to Taylor (12) and Lauryn (8)
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#23 of 47 Old 01-28-2009, 06:34 PM
 
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I think most people just can't do it as their jobs do not allow it. It's kind of a corporate culture thing and might have a lot to do with traffic. I live in a mid-western city with reasonable commute times for most people. Neither I or my DH have any work at home options. I've seen "telecommuting" become more acceptable in places with hairy commutes and lots of traffic. So far, our infrastructure supports our population so it's just not that bad.

On the other hand, I used to work in publishing and "working at home" was allowed long before "telecommute" ever became an option. We could process the manuscripts better at home and get more done without all of the interruptions.

I find that I actually prefer to be at work. My desk space is simply better prepared there than at home. The phone, scissors, copier, files etc, just work better for me at work than at my home set-up. I'm in a cold room here, don't have the stuff I need, the phone is somewhere else. Obviously I could fix all this but it's not an option for me. At my office, "face-time" is also pretty important so that might be another reason a person is in the office.

It isn't always a question of "what's best for the child" (hey, in that case, we'll both quit our jobs of live at home with gramma and grandpa. Then no one else has to work and kid can have 4 caregivers!) There is a balance with the family - our life situation works better when we have our own money, our own jobs etc. I hope that answers your question. I think in many cases, the reasons women choose to have jobs or work away from home are the same reasons men do!

Third generation WOHM. I work by choice.
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#24 of 47 Old 01-28-2009, 07:11 PM
 
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I work from home. It was very hard to get to this point--I work as a consultant now, own my own consulting company, and I work about 30 hours a week from home, in NY once a week or so for meetings or trade shows. I had to quit prestigious and solid job and go out on my own to be able to wrok from home.

My DD, 3.5 still goes to daycare 4 days a week, but working from home allows me to drop her off at 9 and pick her up at 4 instead of our old schedule which was 7:30-6:30. I also get the extra day at home with her, and the flexibility to do my job how I please as long as I get it done.

I did drop my childcare hours in the fall, and it was a nightmare! Much like what was posted above, I was home but not really available, she wanted me and I needed to complete something or talk on the phone. As of January we're back to the 4 day schedule and things are much better!

I guess my point would be it's not about all or nothing--it's figuring out what works for you. I think there's plenty point to working at home with my DD in childcare--our life rolls along much more smoothly now. Yours might not though--just depends on your life and what you're dealing with.
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#25 of 47 Old 01-28-2009, 08:27 PM
 
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I wish I could work from home but it is just not an option for me. I deal with a lot of confidential customer info and there is no way they would let me have all that paperwork at home.

Plus, DS would still have to be in daycare- there is no way he would let me work if he was home with me. I can't go on the computer when he is awake without him dropping everything he is doing so he can come sit in my lap and play with the mouse, the keyboard, the screen, the speakers...

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#26 of 47 Old 01-28-2009, 08:31 PM
 
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Take it from a full-time WAH mom, working from home is not a magical way to have the best of both worlds. Often, it just makes you feel like you're failing in both areas, never able to give either your full attention and effort.

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#27 of 47 Old 01-28-2009, 08:53 PM
 
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I work for myself and work exclusively from home (other than for meetings). Working from home, while awesome in many ways, is not a silver bullet either.

1. Working from home does not equal no childcare. We have an au pair who watches the boys while we work. Childcare for us is essential. I have tried to work without childcare and, other than now and again, it is very very hard on all of us, kids and adults alike.

2. I have a big house and dh and I both have our own offices. We have had to give up a bedroom and a downstairs room for office space. I actually share an office with my operations director. Most people do not have the dedicated space we have. We also have a business internet account, VOIP line, laptops, etc. basically some real office infrastructure required in order to work from home. I have a friend who had to give up freelancing/working from home because she couldn't get broadband internet at home and her cell got nasty coverage in her neighborhood. She had no way to communicate with the outside world.

3. While growing, working from home does not (yet) have the respect in most offices. I know that when I tried to organize a work from home schedule with my former boss (which lead to me quitting), he was very dismissive and basically thought I was asking to work part time.

4. There are very few jobs that offer real work from home. Most places let you work one day from home, as a huge treat. Flexible hours means you can come in any time between 8 and 9 and then leave 9 hours later. <sarcasm>Oh the freedom </sarcasm>

5. If you work exclusively or primarily from home (or even off site), it is very easy to lose touch with colleagues, politics, informal decision making, etc that still takes place around the coffee pot or before meetings officially start. We had a deputy director for our project who worked from Boston and she was really out of the loop most of the time (there were also some politics involved too - my boss used her distance as a way to cut her out of a lot of decision making - crazy place).

6. back to kids - frankly, the kids can be very disruptive at times, even with childcare. I was on a conference call yesterday, and my 5 year old decided he wanted to sing at the top of his lungs right outside the office. I had to get off my call and physically move him to another part of the house so I could hear the call.

It was a snow day and the roads dangerous, so he and our au pair and other son were trapped in the house. Most days, they are at preschool in the AM and our au pair takes them to playgrounds, playdates, etc. in the afternoon. So in many ways, we are home, but our kids aren't so what is the point of being home? (other than the fabulous commute).

7. it is MUCH harder to separate home and work when your work is only steps away. I don't get snow days. I don't get real vacations, days off, evenings off, because the email, cell, work is always there. We have to be very self disciplined in turning off the work - much more so than if there were that physical separation of work and home.
Yes to all of these. My dh works from home and has for almost 7 years and up until 2 months ago I was home based as well and I absolutely agree with what you said 100%.

We could not work at home without childcare, today was a snow day and on such days we have to trade off who works and who watches dd, she simply does not keep herself engaged long enough for either of us to work any significant chunks of time.

I have friends who are also consultants like I am/was and they don't use daycare and its really hard to work consistently when you don't use any form of childcare. Which I guess if you aren't trying to earn a consistent sum of money may be ok, but I know for me was not ok.

Shay

Mothering since 1992...its one of the many hats I wear.
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#28 of 47 Old 01-31-2009, 10:40 AM
 
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I'm a manufacturing supervisor and need to go on the floor, so obviously working from home isn't possible.

I agree with a pp I don't think working from would be a silver bullet either. You still need to work, you wouldn't necessarily have time to play or take care of your children.
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#29 of 47 Old 01-31-2009, 12:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 2lilsweetfoxes View Post
I read some study years ago that was premised on working-at-home being the worst of the three choices. Especially with young kids. They see mama at home, but don't understand that she cannot be interrupted because she is on "company time". Or mama can't get her work done because of the constant childish interruptions. Even with a babysitter or a SAHD/P, if mama is home, most kids prefer mama. So you end up sending the baby to daycare. If baby is in daycare, doesn't that defeat the purpose?
I gotta say, that while I wouldn't call it the worst of all three options (if it were truly worst, why would we be doing it?), it definitely has challenges exactly as you point out. There have to be clearly communicated rules to the kids/caregiver about what interruptions are allowed and when.

My kids now know that when mommy is on the phone or meeting with another adult, they have to be quiet or in another part of the house.

But it was very hard at times, because even with the best nanny/au pair in the planet, they are chopped liver compared to mommy (I found especially nursing toddlers, who will sometimes ask to nurse just to get mommy closeness...).

I am physically out of the house a good portion of the week, as are my kids because they are in preschool and go on playdates. They are not here all day, every day, and that makes it easier.

We have the option of sending our kids to daycare, and we decided in the end that being 10 hours outside the home is too much - we like the periodic interruptions, being able to having lunch with our kids, etc. but it isn't always easy and there are absolutely some trade offs. The good news is that as more and more women with small children get higher in corporate hierarchies, I am finding they tend to me a lot more understanding about hearing a little voice in the background during a conference call.

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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I work from home for a company. My kids are older. I could not see doing this with toddlers running around.

My youngest is 8, but they all are old enough to understand what happens if they don't behave approprately. My kids were perfer me not to work at all but with me being at home they know were I am. This is something maturity brings. Plus knowing the difference between mommy being out of house to work.
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