Oct 05 2007

The Real Meaning Of Work-At-Home Freedom

It’s Friday evening and everyone in the house has come down with a fairly debilitating flu that Filosofo brought home with him from school, so we’re all just moping around the house, looking fairly listless.

I’ve made myself a cup of LemSip and just thought I’d record some thoughts I’ve been having about the whole househusband, stay-at-home, work-from-home kind of thing, before I join Corporate Babe who is asleep, for an hour or ten of rest and recuperation.

I am a househusband, because my wife goes to work while I look after the home and the kids. Being at home and having kids to look after also makes me a stay-at-home dad.

Now, the third category that I fall into is optional. If my wife’s take-home pay was sufficient to cover all of our cost of living expenses, PLUS, the huge debt repayments we’ve incurred by trying to finance a previous business venture using credit cards, then I could choose to just stay home and look after the kids. And believe me, this would have been enough! I know many of the mums at my kids’ school who are full time mums only and they are always complaining about how incredibly tough it is to just look after the children and keep the home manageable.

However, because we come up short in our finances every month, I also have had to look for a way to bring in additional income while I’m home, to help supplement my wife’s income and contribute to lowering our debt.

This, then, makes me a househusband, a stay-at-home dad and a work-from-home dad and small business owner.

What I’d like to share here, before my LemSip takes its desired effect on me and starts putting me to sleep, is share with other work-from-home business owners what I really believe are the true benefits of running a small business from home.

Look, I spent many years trying to build a network marketing business before I discovered the Internet and switched to building online businesses, and the “benefits” part of the sales pitch whenever I attended or gave presentations was always the same:

– Work from home part-time or full-time
– Flexible hours
– No sitting in traffic
– No boss looking over your shoulder
– Work in your pyjamas or underwear
– Leverage, time freedom and residual unlimited income

True, that is all on offer if you work extremely hard in a direct-selling opportunity for a number of years. What I’d like to do, however, is share with you the “real” benefits I have discovered from being able to work at home, which are in addition to the above and I believe much more important in the immediate sense:

1) You have the luxury of using your own toilet when you have to go.

I have done the “communal public toilet” experience in the past, where you have to share the seat with every other bum in the office and place sheets of toilet paper on the seat and on the floor and then hold on to the cuff of your trousers while you do your thing in a cramped little cubicle with people knocking on the door every 30 seconds, and I have always dreaded having to answer nature’s call in those situations.

Now, I have my own throne and I feel like a king. I can go to my own cramped little cubicle at home which has my favorite books and magazines piled on the cistern and I can take as long as I want to doing my thing. Plus, I know that whenever I accidentally sit on a wet patch of pee left on the toilet seat, it belongs to one of my own clan, and not some stranger with highly contagious forms of venereal disease.

Using your own toilet, then, is the absolute #1 benefit of working from home. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

2) You don’t have to share a little space on the fridge shelf and write your name on your lunch.

You have the run of the whole kitchen at your disposal. Need I say more?

3) You can work unshaved, have dog’s breath and chronic halitosis, work in a filthy office and indulge in extreme home office sports like “flatulence” all day long and still sign off on emails as “Managing Director”.

That, my friends, is what work-at-home freedom really looks like. Not “you’re always only three steps away from your office and you’ll never have to sit in traffic again!” I’m talking about keeping it real here, not trying to sell you some far-fetched fantasy, like the little stock photo picture I added at the top of this page.

And while I’m on the subject, forget about working in your pyjamas or your underwear. It’s not professional and it doesn’t feel comfortable, expecially when it’s time to step outside and check the mail. My favorite outfit is a pair of grey flannel tracksuit pants and a loose, comfortable t-shirt. I call this attire combo my “comfies”, but my wife refers to it as my “stinkies”.

Regardless of how my work clothes may smell after a couple of weeks (working on a laptop is really hard physical work – you should check out my “mouse” muscle!), they have one practical advantage over working in one’s pajamas or working butt-naked. When I run out of the house at 3:15 to pick up the kids from school (which finishes at 3:00 pm), I don’t have to worry about what I’m going to wear to impress the mums at school, or forget that I’m not wearing anything (or even worse … wearing pyjamas!).

I simply go as I am and count my blessings that I am helping to save the family a ton of money on clothes, dry cleaning and laundry liquid.

The LemSip is making me drowsy now, so I guess it’s time to sign off …

The Lazy Househusband

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