When I first started working at home, a former co-worker joked that my days would be filled with eating bonbons and watching soap operas. I wasn’t sure what a bonbon was, but I did know the lure of soap operas. However, I found my days at home much too busy to live the pampered life he had imagined.

When I worked in the corporate world, I was guaranteed breaks and an hour lunch. Since my office was in an upscale retirement community with a full dining room, an employee benefit was low-cost lunches. Not only was the food fantastic, but I enjoyed the lunchroom conversations with friends, as well as the impromptu afterwork gatherings. There was excitement as we worked towards the completion of a project or celebrated the accomplishment of meeting a goal. I worked for wonderful people and their praise and encouragement fed my self-esteem.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? It was. I really loved my job. My life looks very different now. My work breaks involve starting a load of laundry or cleaning the kitchen. Lunch consists of a reheated leftover or sandwich. Although my husband works at home, most days we each grab our lunch and each head back to work. My afterwork impromptu gatherings with friends are nonexistent, and for the most part I alone pat myself on the back when I’ve completed a task.

Would I ever go back to work outside the home? Not unless God sent me a personalized memo and told me so. I absolutely love being home.

What I didn’t mention in my evaluation of being home includes snuggling on the couch with a child before he or she leaves for school; taking lunch to a child at school; volunteering to go on a field trip; having lunch with my mother; having dinner ready before the night’s activities take over; and, just as important, not leaving the house before 7:00 each morning to get everyone to babysitters. These are just a few of the many benefits I enjoy every day being home.

Like most ventures, it’s important to evaluate the pros and cons. Not that the cons should change your mind, but you’ll proceed with eyes wide open. I’ve listed some of my favorite reasons for working at home and some of the challenges I’ve faced. You’ll also find that chapter 16 deals with more emotional challenges of being home. May this information bring you encouragement and practical help if you experience similar issues.

The Positives of Working at Home

You’ll have a more flexible work schedule.

It’s a great feeling to get up early, grab a cup of coffee, and work for an hour before the kids get up. Even if it’s just checking emails, my day is jump-started with that small amount of time. The next few hours are filled with getting the high schooler off, then the junior high son to jazz band practice, and the younger three leave an hour after that. Once they are gone, the kitchen is picked up, a load of laundry started, and I’m back to “work.”

My husband, Tod, also works at home. Before he transitioned home, he left the house around 6:00 a.m., had an hour commute, worked all day, drove an hour home, and saw the kids for a few hours at night. That was when he was in town. Now, he still starts work around 6:00 a.m., but he tromps down the stairs to have cereal with someone, dashes over to school for lunch, and goes for a run or coaches baseball practice at 5:30 p.m.

While our days are full, the wonderful truth about working at home is we can schedule work around our lives, instead of our lives around our work. Because our work isn’t tied to a clock, we can work at odd times of the day. That means sick kids aren’t an inconvenience, school holidays aren’t a concern, and a neighbor who needs a ride due to a dead battery isn’t a major interruption.

You’ll have more time for ministry and missions work.

Another benefit of working at home is you increase your availability to be used by God for ministry and missions work.