Actually, it should be challenges of a mother who works from home!!!
Working from home is the great new policy which has been promoted by many organizations, in an effort to retain staff, specially, and most commonly, women staff. I am someone who works offsite and from home, been doing that for three years now. In the last seven months, I am working from home, while managing a one year old.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, working from home is far more challenging than it sounds, mainly because the psychological efforts needed to maintain a working discipline, when there is no one to supervise you is quite draining. What helped me through that period was the setting up of a strict working time, as well as a working space, which was different from home : in my case, the library. While I was a solitary worker with only my laptop for company most days, at least I had a space where I went to everyday.
Now that I am a mother, I work more flexi and fewer hours. And mostly I work from home only. But the discipline to work with a child is far harder. There is always an emergency at work and you want your little one to sleep so that you can address it, but she will decide she does not want to sleep at that time. YOu are in the middle of sending an important email, when she is suddenly awake and needs attention.
You end up thinking of work when you are with the child and vice versa, and probably start feeling you are underperforming both roles. The problem is that there are always situations where neither of your masters can recognize your boundaries. Your one year old obviously doesnt. And your organization may be the most supportive, co-operative one, but in an emergency, they cannot really afford to humor you because you have a cranky child.
I am yet to crack this code of being a home based working mother. My system so far is to allot some time, which is just work, and hand over charge of the child to someone else, and then pull through the remaining working hours at odd non-working times. Works sometimes, doesnt work many other times.
My point here is that while flexi hours and offsite working can do much to help women retain careers along with family responsibilities, its time to start looking at the challenges which they realistically present. Women need support even if they have what can be seen as the most perfect working conditions.
Is there someone out there, who shares these problems. Can we start an online support group or something.