Last week the media space was awash with the report that President Muhammadu Buhari will henceforth work from home. He had missed the Federal Executive Council (FEC) which held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja thrice in a row. Explaining his absence, the minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed was reported to have said the President was still resting at home and will henceforth work from home. Following harsh criticisms from Nigerians, the minister said his statement was misrepresented, and that the president only worked from home that day, not that he has decided to continue working from home.
Well, whether the President worked from home for a day or will work from home in the coming days, the fact that he worked from home sends a message to millions of mums, especially those of us who go by the title ‘work at home mum’, which Wkikipedia describes as a woman who is capable of taking on children, home, husband and a job. Not a job for the faint hearted.
More women entrepreneurs today are choosing to run businesses from home for several reasons, including lower business expenses, personal health limitations, eliminating commuting, raising children, or to have a more flexible schedule. I am not sure what the statistics are in Nigeria, but In the United States there are 10.1 million women-owned businesses according to Center for Women’s Business Research. And with the rise in the Wi-Fi age there is no doubt many are run by stay-at-home mums.
The biggest challenge for the work-at-home-mum has been acceptance; this has made many reluctant to tell clients they work from home. I have had my fair share of struggles trying to make prospective clients know I work from home without appearing unserious or unprofessional. Same goes for most mums and other persons who fall into this category. A lot of times business opportunities have been lost despite efforts to meet clients at their offices or arranging to meet in public places.
I was prospecting a client at a time and having their business meant taking my work to the next level. When they asked to meet at my office, I got really worried. But my gut feeling said to just let them know I worked from home and asked if we could meet at their office instead. Sure enough it worked out well. Am I glad it did?
Most mums who work from home never imagined they would. Hey, who gets a university degree to spend her days changing diapers?! Most of us would rather walk in heels in some fancy glass house as a place of work. But that can’t be true for all of us. Some of us moms have a tough time balancing work (outside the home) and family, while others have been able to master the juggling act, while enjoying a strong support system others can only dream of.
Today’s stay-at-home mum may be the CEO of her own company, a petty trader, or a Nollywood actress but one thing they all have in common is a deep desire to raise the next generation of leaders, and still give value to the society.
And if you’re considering becoming one, both sweet rewards and tough challenges await, hopefully it would be a little easier now that the President has shown us all that work can be done from anywhere – home or outside the home.
Happy workers day mums… keep working!