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The ballad of a work-from-home mom

Laila Achmad
Laila Achmad

A mom of a son, currently freelancing and regularly make unfunny jokes

Jakarta  /  Wed, March 30, 2016  /  12:29 pm
The ballad of a work-from-home mom

Whenever I tell my full time working-mommy friends that I am a WFH—work-from-home—mom, they squeal with delight and envy. Little do they realize that being a WFH mommy means… (shutterstock/-)

Whenever I tell my full time working-mommy friends that I am a WFH—work-from-home—mom, they squeal with delight and envy.

Little do they realize that being a WFH mommy means…

My work uniform is a 'daster'

I’ve heard several famous mommy bloggers treat their “working hours” seriously, although they work from home with no one to impress with their appearances.

They shower every morning, dress in their boyfriend jeans and Commes des Garçons shirts, put on some makeup, and sit daintily in front of their laptops, in their straight-out-of-Design Sponge home offices, ready to seize the day before 9 a.m.

I love that idea. Tried it. Didn’t happen.

Well, I got to the showering part, but I couldn’t make myself dress properly, let alone put on makeup.
Not always because I’m lazy. It’s also because of the sweating. Have you realized that when you have kids from infant to toddler age, you will always sweat at some point during the day, trying to catch up with their Energizer Bunny stamina?

I soon discovered that I work best and most comfortably in sleepwear. Specifically, dasters (house dresses).
I once tried breaking this habit by limiting the number of sleepwear garments I own, so I wouldn’t get tempted to wear them during the day. So I threw some of them away, saving only the most decent ones for sleeping at night.
But after a month or two, I realized I desperately needed my dasters back to work comfortably and productively.
So one day, I gave up and went back to the very glamorous sleepwear section of Matahari department store, and bought a dozen of their latest collection for my working attire.

Things can be a bit lonely (and so I talk to flowers)

Working from home with no adult interactions can be lonely from time to time.

There are days when I miss real, adult conversations. For instance, conversations that use full sentences, instead of short directives such as, “No putting the Playdoh in your ears!”

One morning, while walking around my neighborhood, I spotted a new flower blooming in my neighbor’s front yard, peeking from the fence. I remembered talking to plants is actually good for them, so I started to talk to the flower.
Nothing too crazy, just simple talk like, “My, my, such a pretty flower! Hello, pretty flower. How are you this morning…” until I realized my neighbor’s maid was staring at me from behind the fence, ready to call the security guard.
It was at that point I decided that coffee time with an adult was called for, stat.

All of my makeup is expiring

I am not a big makeup person. And not having to go to office means I have even LESS need to wear makeup. However, thanks to the strong makeup trend on social media over the past few years, I ended up having way more makeup than I need anyway.

Therefore, naturally, almost all of my unnecessary makeups are expiring and underused. So if you see me at Alfamidi sporting hot pink lipstick and full eyebrows, it’s not because I’m having an early midlife crisis and trying to seduce the cashier. I’m simply trying to use up my poor, underused makeup before it fossilizes.

My laptop is badly bruised

My toddler son sees the laptop as The Enemy, because every time the laptop is open, it means that mommy is going to ignore him.

Therefore, from time to time, he will always try to get rid of The Enemy, from throwing a tantrum whenever he sees me with The Enemy, to literally throwing it away.

Three times my laptop has been pushed from my bed or desk to the floor, and three times it has survived, with ugly dents as its proof of survival.

Always being asked, “Why do you have a nanny?”

Whenever I say I “work from home”, most people assume that “work” is an online makeup shop or an arts and craft blog, so I must have tons of time to care for my son.

So when I tell them I have a nanny, they cock their head, give me a judging look, ask “But why?”, then look at me as the mom-version of Kylie Jenner, who is rumored to not know how to do laundry.

They don’t realize that I really work work. I still have to report to a supervisor, manage my team, hold Skype meetings, do interviews, meet daily deadlines, edit copy, and, of course, write.

And I suppose they would look after my son while I do all that?

Bad eating habits (thanks to you, Nadiem Makarim)

People usually assume that we, the WFH clan, have better control over out diet, because we don’t get tempted by the gazillions of food vendors right outside our offices.

Well, I bet that was once true - before Go-Jek. Once the Go-jek and Go-food era began, all sorts of delectable, exquisite junk food is literally just a click away, wherever and whenever I crave it.

Damn you (or love you), Nadiem Makarim!

It’s the best kind of work in the world

You know I have to eventually say this, right? But I’m not saying it to sound appropriate. I’m saying it because it’s true.
At times, a part of me still thinks that I should be working in a real office—preferably in a high-rise building—on a real desk, wearing a crisp, white Zara shirt and MAC Ruby Woo lipstick, sporting an employee ID card around my neck (I’ve always wanted to have one of those!), having colleagues that actually have faces and an office boy to take my lunch orders.

Instead, I am typing these words on my bed, besides my son who is sleeping while holding onto my boobs as his lovey.

In lieu of working in crisp, white Zara shirts, I work in dasters, almost always near my son, with amazing time flexibility—I can go to my dancing classes whenever I want!—and marvelous ability to have that elusive working-and-parenting balance.

You know how most people think work-life balance is as mythical as the unicorn? Well, I didn’t just find the unicorn. I am riding it.

I am living every mother’s dream, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.


The writer is managing editor at by day, random ranter at by night.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.