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Behind The Scenes / From The Workroom / Personal & Faith

on working from home

Confession. If you met me in real life, and hadn’t read my blog, i probably wouldn’t tell you about it. I probably would’nt tell you that i am a designer, or that i run a small business. I also wouldn’t tell you that i have degrees in Maths and Finance, and previously had a successful career in Actuarial science.

I would tell you I stay home with my kids and love it, and i would probably stop there.

Recently i’ve been wondering why i do this. You’d be surprised how much time i’ve spent analysing my own actions. And i’ve realised that i’m a little in denial and a little bit trying to make a statement. I don’t want to say that I work outside of looking after my family, because i don’t want to accept that i have a job. Mind blown.

The thing is, i hate expectations and judge-mentality. I hate it when people look down at mothers who stay home with their children, and treat them like they are stupid (it happens to me all the time, and its downright offensive). But I also hate it when people judge mothers who work, as if somehow having to work outside the home could make you love your family less? It’s ridiculous.

So i don’t tell people what i do. I tell them i am home, because i want that choice to be respected. I want to stand in solidarity for anyone who makes that choice. I am yelling in my head “I am an educated intelligent woman who chooses to stay home! I CHOSE! It’s ok! I dare you to judge me!”.

But isn’t that silly? Because really, I am a woman who is home with family AND works from home. I am blessed to straddle both worlds. Instead of taking a stance on the side i think is most victimised, i should accept who i am and champion both.

So i’m trying really hard to accept what i am. To practice saying “I work from home”.

I am at home with my kids, but i also run a business. And it’s ok to do both.

About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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Inder
6 years ago

What? But you should be proud of your business! It’s not like you just started it last week and you’re still tentative. Be loud and proud! I don’t care about the judgment, I just think you should own being an entrepreneur, there is nothing to be ashamed of! You’re doing this awesome thing, and I bet most people would be fascinated and inspired, rather than judgy. :-)

punkyz
punkyz
6 years ago
Reply to  Inder

my dear u are a gteat woman. u are my mentor and role model. I found my path in the fsshion design after reading ur stories and advices. right now am closing shop to start working from home that way I would have enough time with my two boys. I live in Lagos Nigeria and the cost of rent is expensive on the high streets. I decided to follow ur footsteps to work from the comfort of my home and I preach it to anybody

Hanne
6 years ago

Oh wow, it’s so weird reading this from you, since you are such an established pattern designer! I’d think it’s super normal for you to mention your job!
It’s so sad that people are still judging people by their job, when it should be obvious that people aren’t necessarely what they do for a living.
I notice that I often minimise my side hustle in favor of my day job, since that’s a teaching job and people actually know what I do when I say “teacher”. The side job usually gets a lot of blank stares…

Maybe we often have more fears and judgement in our own head than there actually is in other people’s head?

ELEANOR
ELEANOR
6 years ago

Hi Megan- while it is sad that you feel you have to defend yourself i understand the tendency. People presume i married an older man for money (i didn’t, he doesn’t have any!) that because of what I do for a living I must be a dummy and because I’m overweight i must be lazy (actually that is a little true!) Other peoples assumptions are only that- and mean nothing but sometimes its easier not to go into explaining yourself to people that have them as sometimes they aren’t worth your time! You should be super proud of all that you do , your business is impressive and motherhood should always be celebrated in every form!

Jennie
Jennie
6 years ago

Hey Megan, I do this all the while, I have four girls aged between 9 and almost 3, for the last few years I gave up my office job where I worked long hours outside the home (my husband works 200 miles away, we felt someone had to be at home to be a parent). During this time I have raised my four girls, set up and run a bridal accessory business from home, until this year I have not even told my close friends what I do. I too didn’t want to be judged, I love my work, I love being creative, I love being a part of bride’s special days, I love making treasures, I love that I can make all my girls school meetings, I can be at their school in less than 5 minutes if they need me, I love that I can take my girls swimming, I can arrange play dates for convenient times, I can do coffee (or cocktails) with my girl friends, I love my job and this year I have told people about my work.

People have always assumed when I left my office job I stopped working, however since then I have worked harder than ever, to give me, my daughters and our family the things we need and desire. We don’t live extravagantly but we have clothes on our back, a roof over our head, food in our cupboards and love in our heart.

Be proud of you, you are amazing!

Dee Durrant
6 years ago

I think mums get judged no matter what they do. I have friends who have to put their kids into childcare from 7am to 6pm Monday to Friday as they need to work full time to pay their bills and they hate it. I also have a friend who has 4 kids who stay at home and hate being a stay at home mum (she loves her kids don’t get me wrong) but they cannot afford childcare for 4 kids (they didn’t choose to have 4 kids but had 2 sets of twins). I have friends who love being at home with their kids and don’t plan on going back to work period. I have just had a second baby and I a currently considering my options – I do love my job but I also love being at home with my girls. I just think everyone should stop judging and just let people do whatever is best for them and their families – as long as children grow up in a loving home that is all that matters.

Veronica Darling
6 years ago

I’ve been in all situations (while on mat leave I ran my Husband’s small business – never again!) and agree with the above… especially in Australia: women/mums get judged no matter what. Being in Shanghai there are so many different people doing different things, it’s kinda a relief to take a break from all those opinions. At the moment I don’t have a job outside of the Parenting Job and I have to remind myself daily that that’s ok for now. You’re doing a great job all round Meg xoxo

Diane
6 years ago

This is beautifully said! I do this all the time and like you, I ask myself why. Thank you for eloquently sharing your thoughts.

Ana from The Lost Apron

I think everyone finds what they are comfortable doing (and sharing about themselves.) Thank you for doing and sharing. I have posted this to my Pinterest board. Working Mom vs SAHM
https://www.pinterest.com/thelostapron/working-mom-vs-sahm/
I have been a working mom, a part-time work-from-home mom, and a stay-at-home mom. I hope to offer wisdom to any of these moms. The decision to be a working mom or a SAHM can only be made by you. Just be the best mom that you can be.

Hélène
Hélène
6 years ago

This is a very honest reflexion. Great helpful post! The question is : why do you care so much about what other people are thinking about you, your choices, your life style, etc. Once you get to know why, it’s easier to bypass these insignificant judgemental downers.

Abigail
Abigail
6 years ago

This is what feminism got us, more confusion and more guilt. Any militant woman who thinks your career is a higher value than children and husband has her values wrong. And it’s common since antiquity for women to work from home and make items to sell. But the key is, that she has responsibilities and are able to manage both, a happy home and supplemental income for extras. It’s natural and normal. It’s abnormal to expect women to become and compete like men with the same emotional distance it takes to do so.

Suzanne
Suzanne
6 years ago

Feminism did not get us more confusion and more guilt. Feminism gave us the freedom to choose. And its just proof that feminism has a long way more to go, because when feminist ideals are achieved we will have the freedom to choose without judgement and shaming for prioritizing our wants and wishes.

Mary
6 years ago

Thanks for being honest about your struggles. I am in the process of starting a small business and I’ve already noticed that I answer differently based on how I think I’ll be viewed, like being an irresponsible dreamer, or something. Feels silly even as I do it. I’m practicing identifying what I’m afraid of and facing it instead of compensating for assumptions that are probably wrong to begin with.

Dara
Dara
6 years ago

Life has seasons! Don’t apologize for enjoying the one you’re in at this time! I admire you greatly. God bless you and your family!

Michelle
Michelle
6 years ago

I haven’t met many actuaries outside of actuarial meetings, so it’s awesome to hear that’s what you did before having kids!

I think no matter what balance of work/home/life/marriage/motherhood you have, it’s tough!

I’m now home with 3 kids and feel like I’m either defending my choice to give up a career or proving my intelligence to people who assume that I’m unintelligent & uneducated and therefore a homemaker for lack of options. Add to that the frustrations of some days where it feels like your biggest accomplishment is folding a load of laundry…

I always think of the grandmother types who have the benefit of perspective and look back with fondness on my current stage in life. I hope that peace & perspective will come in time!

Claire Kennedy
6 years ago

You know this is the exact same battle I fought in the 60’s. By the time I got to college – ALL I wanted to do was learn to sew -that’s all. I came to sewing so I could wear the clothes I love; the clothes that I wanted and most of all the clothes that I designed just for me. But by the time I got to college, sewing was passé, old-fashion with a picture of a woman chained to a wood-burning stove. I understand that they were trying to free women, but unfortunately I CHOOSE to sew. I wanted to know how to put together clothing and create them myself.

So here I was in a desert of sewing education, but never lost my love of sewing. Eventually it came back around in the 80’s, and then the 90’s hit with the advent of plethora of cheap clothing and the motto du jour became: why sew when you can buy 15 for the price of making one?!

So I appreciate the dilemma of being categorized one way or another when that’s not who you are at all. Stay with it. I think a lot of gals stay at home to be with their families because they actually like it and choose to – much more than may admit it.

Trudy Callan
6 years ago

I so admire you for choosing to stay home and enjoy your children, all the while running a home business. I like you gave up a career, in my case court stenographer, to be home with my children. I have done various home businesses to help supplement. Although I love sewing so much. I think it would be great for that to be my home business. I have enjoyed watching you grow yours. Very inspirational. I always share your posts with my budding 14 year old fashion designer. We should strive to not concern ourselves with what others think. I know that’s a hard one. Be proud of who you are and what you do.

Trudy Callan
6 years ago
Reply to  Meg

Ahhhh! Thank you! That means so much! I’m glad that we can all support one another.

Jenni
6 years ago

Hi Megan,
I’m 22 weeks pregnant with my first bubba (a little girl – so excited) and I am so very much looking forward to being at home with her for the first 5-6 months of her little life! After that, due to the nature of my job (not daycare friendly hours) combined with my husband commuting I will be going back to work only 2 days a week, but my husband will be looking after her on those days.
I do not judge you at all for staying home to look after your kids – and the fact that you are able to work from home as well is awesome. It is something that I want to be able to do in the future.
xo

Bree Crocetti
Bree Crocetti
6 years ago

Be proud to say you are a stay at home mom and you have your own business. Our mother’s generation fought for our right to choose. They helped give us the power to exercise our talents and ability in either the home or office, or both.

Beth – Sew DIY
6 years ago

This is so interesting! I’m a graphic designer for work and generally don’t tell people that I sew unless they ask really specific questions, such as where did you get that top? I think I’m kind of weird and secretive about it but I feel like it would be really boring for them to hear about sewing and blogging if they don’t do it themselves.
By the way, I also have a degree in math! I did it before going into design and I don’t tell people about that either. I want them to think of me as a creative and not be distracted or intimidated by the math degree. It’s probably stupid but I get so many questions when I mention the math, like how does that make sense to be good at both math and design? I explain that it all comes down to problem solving. Thanks for sharing your story! I’m glad I’m not the only mathematician/designer who doesn’t tell people that she sews and blogs. :)