Thursday, February 5, 2009

Why I Don't Work from Home

People are often surprised to learn that I am a lawyer. After all, who would give up a hard-earned legal career to stay at home and wipe noses and eat peanut butter and jelly crusts for lunch? A question I ask myself daily.

Of course, the question that usually follows is have I ever thought of working from home?

The following is part of the answer to that question. It is my hope that perhaps some poor, well-intentioned young mom may read this and save herself the trouble of even trying to have a career from home. Some of the reasons are specific to being a lawyer, but most of them can be applied to any profession. Learn from my experience, and don't waste your time.

Eight Reasons You Shouldn't Even Bother Trying to Work from Home


You cannot make phone calls.

Children are born with a radar that alerts them to the fact that mommy is on the phone. The moment mommy says "hello" or finishes dialing a number, all of your children will begin to scream, cry, and fight with each other so that to the person on the other end of the phone, it sounds not like a lawyer's office, but a very poorly monitored daycare center. Or maybe Abu Ghraib.


You cannot fax things because the fax machine is stuck at the top of a closet behind approximately 26 board games. And fifteen pairs of shoes that your oldest child outgrew and you saved for your younger child but forgot about, so now said younger child's foot has grown past that size, and the shoes don't fit anyone. But, they're perfectly good shoes, so you don't want to toss them. You'll give them to a friend. Someday.


You cannot sit down and use the computer. There are numerous reasons for this. The first is because the sensor that alerts them to mommy's phone use also alerts them every time mommy's butt touches a surface. The surface could be anything - the couch, the computer chair, the potty . . . doesn't matter. Mom sits; alarm sounds.

(Perhaps you say to yourself, "Hmm. If she has time to write this blog, surely she could find time to write something that's actually productive." Seriously, if you think long posts like this get written in one sitting, you clearly are insane don't have three children.)

Another reason you can't get work done on the computer is because your children will have accidentally changed all of your settings while playing DragonTales on the pbskids website. It will take hours to make your computer function again, days to figure out how to make the toolbar be at the top of the screen again instead of the side, and possibly weeks to make your font appear at normal size again.


Even if you did manage to find time to sit at a properly functioning computer without constant interruption by your children, you've forgotten most of the extensive vocabulary you had before you gave birth. Words like "extrapolate" and "juxtapose" have been pushed aside by words like "poop" and "binky." The brain is a muscle, you know; it'll atrophy just like the rest of them. What, it's not a muscle? See, like I said . . .


Let's say, despite your having a snowball's chance in hell, you somehow managed to use the computer for more than 3 consecutive minutes AND remembered how to use the English language beyond a second grade level. Don't think for a second you've outsmarted those little spawn of yours.

You may have typed a document, but you will never be able to print it. Why? Because you will NEVER find paper for the printer. You children will have used all of it printing out 283 copies of "How to Draw Yoda" from


Now, let's put aside all rational thought for a moment and imagine that you did talk some unsuspecting fool into letting you represent them. Your next problem is that you'll never be able to go to court. There are several reasons for this:

1. You will spend as much on a babysitter as you will earn for one measly court appearance.

2. You haven't been to court in so long your suits don't fit anymore. (For some people this is because they have gained weight, and their suits are too small. This concept is foreign to me because gaining weight requires both eating and sitting down, two activities I only vaguely recall from my pre-child years. My suits are all too big.)

3. You'll find only one of your heels because your daughter will have lost the others somewhere in her abyss of dress-up clothes.


Even if you're a more capable person than I (which is not hard to be), and you could somehow make this whole "home office" thing work, you won't actually be allowed to give legal advice anymore because you haven't made it to enough CLE's to maintain your bar license.

This is despite that fact that, while most attorneys dislike attending CLE's (continuing legal education), you view them as a long-awaited vacation and would willingly attend them weekly if possible. An entire day. No kids. Free food. (Well, sort of free . . . technically you paid several hundred dollars for it when you signed up for the course.) But, did I mention no kids? For an entire day?


Another reason you can't give legal advice - even free of charge - is because whenever someone asks you a legal question, it only makes you feel stupid. After five years of spending every waking hour with no one over the age of six, you no longer know the difference between a tort and a tart. You couldn't define consideration if your life depended on it.

If you happen to stumble onto a case that hinges upon knowing in an instant whether a particular transformer is an autobot or a decepticon, you'll be useful. Otherwise, just go make another peanut butter and jelly sandwich and turn on Word Girl.

Maybe you'll learn something.


Jawan said...

I think I may have to link to you on my next post. The reasons you stated have made me laugh and pee my pants.

CM and JM said...

hhmmm, I guess I better quiet my practice!!

CM and JM said...

well maybe quit and not quiet...

My Happy Homestead said...

This is very funny.....and so true.... If one more person asks me a nutrition-related question, I may deny having ever gone to school for that! High cholesterol? Sorry, don't know what that means! Diabetes, glycemic index....sorry, never heard of it. BMI, morbid obesity.... Huh? Atkins, the Zone, Cabbage soup diet.... sounds greek to me....

Really, I'm still in survival mode (sorta) and the last person to be giving advice... we eat waffles out of a box around here.......

Nikki said...

I love reading your blog! It cracks me up all the time 'cause I totally relate.

The Foster Family said...

I love to read your posts!! My brain doesn't function well enough to put these exact thoughts into words....

steadymom said...

Ha! Great point. I'm sure you are just as busy now as you ever were in your former career - if not more so!


This Heavenly Life said...

So funny!

Fr. Christian Mathis said...

This is one of the funniest things I have read on a blog in a long time. Thanks for sharing!

Renee said...

Thank you, as a non-practicing lawyer with four children.

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