I prefer 100% cotton baggy pajama bottoms with a t-shirt to well-fitted synthetic fibered pj’s that are too “girly” or matchy-matchy. In fact I prefer that my pj’s don’t match at all. In the spring or Summer I might wear a white cotton chemise or shift, (which makes me feel willowy and sexy,) but rarely when working from home will you find me working in street clothes. I am a pajama mama.
Is this bad form? Perhaps it is. There is something to getting up and putting on a face and breaking out the fabulous clothes I have in my closet – if for no other reason than to enhance self-esteem and feel good about myself by looking good. But I’ve got to say that the time and effort it takes to get dressed up just to sit in my home office to work feels like a waste of my already over-extended precious workday.
As it turns out, I am not alone. Last year I summoned the courage to dare to share my pj proclivities with my BFF Stephanie. Up until that point, I really thought I was the only one nutty enough to stay in my pj’s all day to work. “I’m a freak.” I said. “I work in my pajamas.” She just laughed. “Keri, do you think I get dressed if I don’t have to? I work in pajamas too!”
And that got me thinking. How many women work from home in pj’s and sneak into Starbuck to get a cup-o-java hoping nobody will recognize them while dressed in their jammies? While millions of women work from home there’s really no way to know how many hold off on showering to stay in their pajamas. It’s not the kind of question one can’t ask on “Ask Jeeves” and get an answer, so I took a poll on Facebook. What amazing insights I found.
Leta responded, “I do work from home in my PJ s and love it. I prefer my wild side pj’s – they’re leopard. As for my make up, depends on the mood I am in. My husband prefers me without it. I work for myself running a non-profit that helps families with autism and other disabilities. And yes, I have driven through the drive in window at the bank and Sonic many times in my leopard pj’s!”
Monica’s reply made me laugh. “Usually I have this baggy pant/pajama combo going on just in case I want to run out to get some printer ink or to get the mail. But I like to sleep sans clothing (like a free bird) so it’s good to have something by the bed to slip into for those middle of the night pee runs just in case I encounter my teenage daughter in the hall and she shouts out “Ah!……my eyes!!! …….They’re burning!…….put some clothes on mom!!!!!!!”
“Oh yes! I work in my pj’s and love it!” say Lisa. “I wear very comfy pajamas with no makeup. I don’t wear makeup at home, but definitely do when I have a meeting outside.” Lisa has three kids, so her choice to work from home to parent them was a major contributor to her decision to work from home.
Altogether about 40 women answered my query, and of them, only one, Judy, said she preferred to get up and get all dressed up for her day. “I dress as if I’m going into the outside world to work. I find it more motivating. But I don’t do suits.”
It may be indeed that dressing up motivates the spirit or the mind, even setting a tone for a productive workday, but with so much to do in the fast-paced world, for me, getting dressed to go to work is just one more thing I can take off of my to-do list. I just wish I could find the matching leopard print slipper I lost. I loved those slippers
i see today’s world as a “fast food society” wherein people, especially working women and mothers have more on their plates than ever before. In the 21st century our lives have become more complicated than ever. Many women opt to work from home in the hopes they will have more time for family and home, yet find juggling the responsibilities of home, family and work are extremely challenging.
Though men have become more involved with child-rearing and household chores than in our own father’s day, the fact is women still maintain the primary responsibility for home and family matters – even in today’s so-called modern world. Because of this, working outside of the home affects work attendance negatively – more so than with our male counterparts. This is another factor in women deciding to work from home.
With technology at our fingertips, including computers, the internet, iPods, BlackBerry’s, fax machines and other technological wonders more than ever home-based businesses are springing up. Working from home affords women and mothers the ability to “claim” their workability while still holding the title “chief cook and bottle washer.”
Did you know?*
- About 60 percent of all women are in the labor force, compared with nearly 75 percent of all men.
- Women comprised 46.5 percent of the total U.S. labor force and are projected to account for 47 percent of the labor force in 2016.
- Women are projected to account for 49 percent of the increase in total labor force growth between 2006 and 2016.
- Moms with kids under six represent the smallest demographic group of the total number of employed people in the U.S. however they command the largest percentage of paid home-based workers.
- Almost 1 out of 10 stay at home moms, with kids below the age of 6 get paid to work at home or have their own home business.
- Of the total 9,331,000 of working moms with kids under the age of 6, 377,676 get paid (by someone else) to work at home.
- 526,164 have their own home-based business.
- Among married-couples where both the wife and the husband work, about one-fifth of the wives earn more than their husbands.
*Compiled by the Women’s Bureau of the United States Department of Labor, June 1993 and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unfortunately statistical information is always years behind the current data.
As for Me…
My exodus from the corporate world began 11 years ago when I had the courage to finally stop working for “the man.” Running my own business had always appealed to me, but I had a lot of fear around leaving my salaried career to start something new. When I say a lot of fear, I really mean it. It is scary to leave the old and begin something in uncharted territory. Even if what is old is not what we love, at least it is safe. But you know life is not a dress rehearsal.
When I first started working from home, I thought it would mean I would have more time to spend with my kids, but that turned out not to be true. Working from home often leaves me with fewer hours in the day to spend with my kids because running my own business means I have to work harder, smarter, more hours, and be “on call” more often than I did in my conventional 9:00 – 6:00 career. On the other hand, I am able to be more flexible so I can pick my son up from school, attend school performances, go to doctor’s appointments and do other important things with my kids than a conventional career in an office would afford me.
When I left the work force to start a non-profit organization, PAUSE4kids, I learned the hard way that working from home really meant paying my dues. Because the non-profit sector is not a well paid field to be in, I became a part-time custom painter and a part-time wedding minister. I did these things for 5 years until I was able to finally build a foundation for my home business that would support me. Today my work is still in disabilities advocacy but it has shifted from non-profit to for-profit in filmmaking, providing services, and facilitating workshops and seminars.
How About You?
If you are interested in starting your own home-based business, or growing the one you are already invested in, I believe your success is connected to some very important steps to create or grow your plan with five essential components:
Desire: to move you forward to take action on creating the plan
Discipline: to create your plan of action, including business plan, marketing strategies, and learning everything you need to know about your business
Structure: to help you design the plan
Mission / Vision: to guide the plan
Openness: to help you see past what you think you already know about your plan or current business
A: Align, Adapt and Action
Align: In order to build a successful at-home business you must have the right frame of mind. You must align yourself with belief in yourself, your goals, your abilities and your product. The power of positive thinking can propel your career forward in any direction you dream or desire when in alignment with a higher vision. Every negative thought is a path to disaster. Turn off the TV news. Write affirmations about your success. Visualize your success and see yourself at the top.
Adapt: Adapt your skills with current trends and needs. In our fast food society, people want it and they want it now. What can you provide that is timely, current, topical? How can you improve old strategies to create new opportunities? What up-sells can you create? Stay-at-home moms with no former experience can adapt their at-home skills to at-home businesses. What are you good at?
Action: Taking action can be hard. Where do you start? Try a 10 minute a day plan (you determine how many days a week) and spend that time without fail to search the net, do research, talk to others who are successful in a similar line of work to find out how they became successful. Study success. Write your business plan and mission statement. Let your research help you to determine what action steps you can take to build or grow your business. (Note: I wrote a book on this plan). Be in action. Don’t talk about what you’d like to do – do it!
B: Brushing-Up and Beliefs
Brush Up on Skills: Are your computer skills as good as they could be? How about your office management or bookkeeping skills? If your-home based business will not outsource some of the key ingredients to running your own business, you will need to brush up on or learn new skills in order to be successful. Take online courses, a class at community college or adult school to learn new skills that will support your home-based business. We have some great resources here in our County.
Beliefs: What do you believe about the economy? About your abilities? What were you taught as a child, and how do those beliefs affect you today? Take a good look at your belief system to see where old ideas and “stories” may hold you up from running a successful business. Write affirmations on post-it notes and leave them where you will see them. Do this to counter old beliefs that do not work, and to create new values in your belief system.
C: Creation, Communication, Consistency
Creation: Close your eyes and picture the next step. Whether you define success as a simple home based-business or you want to build a large company, it won’t happen until you imagine it. Use the internet to guide your creation.
Communication: Look at your communication skills. Not everybody is a salesperson, but everybody who is in business has something to sell. What are your strengths and weaknesses in the way you communicate with others? Join networking groups or Toastmasters to get more in touch with your communication skills.
Consistency: How consistent are you? In my line of work, I am only as good as the value I add to what I am selling. I need to be consistent in my presentations, making or returning phone calls and emails. My clients need to be able to rely upon my word. It takes many turns to gain a client, but only one screw-up to lose them!
THE HOME-BASED WORKFORCE IS GROWING STEADILY
The home-based workforce has been growing steadily for decades yet current economics are causing the home businesses to grow even more rapidly. With current technologies and abilities to reach out and touch someone in an instant, we have access to people (read: customers) around the world 24 hours a day. And let’s face it, with economically challenged times more than ever we need to find was to make money to support our families and keep our homes. Everything you need to create or grow your home-based business is at your finger tips.
Did you know that people who own their own home-based business have less education than those who work in mainstream America? 58.9.0% have less than high school diploma, with 54.0 having high school but no college. 46.7% have some college or associate degree, with 24.1% having a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Yet strangely, higher education seems almost to be a handicap for people starting their own home-based business. “The less education the better” appears to be the rule when considering the educational levels of people who have their own home-based business.
Ultimately, choosing a form of work that you have a passion for will be better than doing something you don’t really like. It has been said before, love what you do, do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life.
For more information, I suggest you visit Work at Home Moms Meetup Groups at http://workathome.meetup.com/591/