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8 Things I Miss About Working Outside the Home

Photograph by LWA

When my daughter was born, I bowed out of an exciting and lucrative career in television production because I wasn’t ready to leave her. I couldn’t figure out a way to do TV part time, so I settled into being a stay-at-home mom who sometimes writes (while wearing a nightgown).

Now, four years later, I’m still incredibly grateful to have such a flexible schedule that affords me plenty of mommy time, but I find myself occasionally missing the perks that come with having a proper job in an office. As every mama knows, ain’t no such thing as “having it all.” Here’s what I’m craving:

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1. Adult interaction

Facebook is great and all, but nothing takes the place of actual faces, in front of you, talking about last night’s "Homeland," today’s Ebola scare or tomorrow’s holiday party. Really, anything but sticker charts and nap schedules would be downright scintillating.

2. Alone time in the car

When I’m chauffeuring my daughter, there are a lot of requests for Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and “No, Mommy, don’t sing.” If I were commuting to work, I’d be cranking up the Beastie Boys with a bag of pretzels on my lap that I don’t have to share.

3. Free coffee

I never appreciated the break room when I had one, but what’s not to love about fresh brewed coffee that somebody else made and 10 different kinds of granola bars? At home, I have to fend for myself.

4. Fewer distractions

In the mornings, I sit down around 9:30 a.m. to start writing. By 9:40 a.m. I’ve noticed that there’s a light bulb that needs changing, some dishes in the sink and an episode of "Scandal" on the DVR that isn’t going to watch itself. Home is not the most efficient workspace for me.

5. Having a reason to buy and wear stylish clothes

I sometimes miss the girly thrill of doing my hair and makeup.

Pencil skirts, fitted blouses and cute heels have been permanently replaced by pajamas, yoga pants and bare feet. While my new wardrobe may be easier and more comfortable, I sometimes miss the girly thrill of doing my hair and makeup and putting on a fashion show.

6. Getting paid for doing nothing

When you’re on salary, even when you’re checking Twitter, you’re still on the clock, earning mo’ money. Now that I’m freelancing from home, I’m only paid for the work I finish. I suppose that’s fair, but it’s no fun.

7. Something to talk about

When I have dinner with my girlfriends, some of whom have high powered jobs, I find myself at a loss to contribute to the conversation. “The 3-year-old is getting over a cold” doesn’t seem to measure up to “They’re sending my whole team to The Emmys!”

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8. The little extras

Working 9 to 5 (and beyond) is hard, but it can come with fun freebies. I have fond memories of expense account lunches, upgrades to business class and the occasional boondoggle to Miami, where we actually had meetings in the pool. Do toddler hugs count as a perk? Sure. Would I also enjoy a fruity cocktail in my hand? Yes.

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