Work At Home Mom: what you need to know before you start

These days, it seems every mom wants to the work at home mom life.

And why not? On the surface, it seems like a pretty good gig. Stay home with your kids, play on your computer, get paid. You don’t even have to get dressed, right? The work at home mom life sounds awesome.

There’s a little more to it than just “playing around” on your computer. While there are paid surveys and stuff, they don’t pay much. Unless, of course, you’re willing to spend all day on your computer filling out surveys and performing mindless tasks for pennies. I don’t know about you, but 20 minutes of my time is worth more than $3.

I don't know about you, but 20 minutes of my time is worth more than $3. #wahm #businessowner Click To Tweet

So are you cut out for the work at home mom life?

That entirely depends on what you think the work at home mom life is, and how well it matches up with the reality. As a work at home mom of 10+ years, I’ll give you the inside look at what it really means to be a work at home mom.

First, work at home moms are busy.

Ok, so this is probably obvious. And you’re probably wondering why I would even say this. Of course being a work at home mom means you’ll be busy. Being a mom means you’re busy, right?

While being a mom equals being busy for most of us, being a work at home mom takes that “busy” to a whole new level. Where you may once have had time to hand wash your floors, you may find that you skip the washing entirely more frequently, because you’ve got a deadline!

There’s no separation between work and home and mom-ing when you’re a work at home mom. The lines are all blurred. On one hand, this is great, because you can change a diaper while on a Skype call with a client or a mentor.

But on the other hand it’s a really bad thing, because there’s never any downtime. You can feel anxious or even guilty every time you sit down to watch a TV show, because you know there’s always something more “productive” you can be doing with your time.

Second, work at home moms actually work.

The work at home mom life isn’t where you get to focus on your kids and you “make money while you sleep.” No matter how you are trying to work at home, you’ll have to put some work into it, in order to get anything out of it. There’s no such thing as “free” money.

The truth is, no one is going to give you money for doing nothing. #wahm Click To Tweet

The ones that drop out of direct sales companies, or complain that network marketing businesses are all scams, tend to be the ones that seem to think that working from home means little to no work.

But the truth is, no one is going to give you money for doing nothing! You still have to buy the lottery ticket to win the lottery.

If you can’t even carve the time out of your day to look at a network marketing company’s presentation, you don’t have time to work from home. Making money at home means you have to put the time in first.

Third, the work at home mom life is frustrating.

Seriously, working from home can be one of the most aggravating things a mom can do. Between the interruptions, the almost-constant feeling of guilt that you should be doing something else (no matter what you are doing!), and the irritations of having to constantly learn new skills, the work at home mom life is frustrating at times.

It’s hard to concentrate on any one thing!

Working at home means your focus is almost always split. If you’re working in or on your business, you’re also trying to keep an eye on or ear out for your children. Or you’re wondering about dinner, laundry, or the evening’s plans in the back of your mind.

And if you’re cleaning the bathrooms or pushing your son on the swing, in the back of your mind, you’re also writing your to-do list for later, and itching to get back to it.

Fourth, working from home is addictive!

So no matter how irritated you may get with technology, or how tired you are from trying to do it all, when you really get into working from home, you can’t stop. It’s fun. It’s satisfying in a way few other things are. And it creeps into just about everything else you do.

I find I take more pictures now, and I’m always looking for ways to take pictures for my blogs. I plan my days around what I need to do for my business or my clients. I’ll plan fun things for the kids, just so I know they’ll be occupied, and I can put half-an-hour or so on my website or my emails.

Fifth, making that first dollar from home is thrilling.

There is nothing quite like seeing that first income from your efforts at home. All the work, all the time spent, the sacrifices made fall away because.. hello! you made money!! And you didn’t have to leave the house to do it! Woo!!

Do you think you can handle the work at home mom life?

Have you got what it takes to be a work at home mom? Then dive in. Find the right vehicle to help you work from home, whether that’s starting your own business, telecommuting for a job, or joining up with a network marketing or direct sales company. There are tons of ways to work from home. There’s a way for you to do it too, if you’re ready.

Are you ready to be a WAHM?

Many moms start looking to work from home on maternity leave. They’ve had great jobs, but the thought of going back to work is now painful. But not working is not an option! These days, being a stay a home mom without income is nearly impossible. But is being a work at home mom even possible?

As all moms know, doing anything productive when you have a small child at home can be difficult. While the newborn stage is a bit easier to manage, despite the sleep deprivation, once that baby gets mobile, life gets interesting! And if you have more than one child, you can get a bit overwhelmed just trying to fit in basic hygiene, let alone doing anything else.

How do you get to be a work at home mom?

You have to want it enough.

Working from home can mean working long after the kids are in bed. It can mean making hard choices about spontaneous trips for ice cream versus finishing up a project on a deadline. Are you willing to make the sacrifices you may need to in order to be a work-at-home mom?

Many of us work from home in order to be able to spend time with our kids. So why can being a work-at-home-mom sometimes mean sacrifice? It doesn’t always mean sacrificing family time.

When you work from home, it can mean that you make different choices with your time.

Are you willing to make the sacrifices you need to in order to be a #WAHM? Click To Tweet

For example, many work-at-home moms don’t watch the latest TV shows. They aren’t getting manicures done regularly. They may not be as available for volunteering at soccer or coffee dates with friends. And they may not have a home that is magazine-worthy.

Work at home moms know they only have so much energy, and prioritize what they choose to spend their time on. And that means that they’re willing to give up on trivial things in order to focus on family and their business. They’re looking long-term and they want that success.

You have to manage your time.

Work at home moms are crazy-busy. They don’t have time to waste on anything! So they manage their time with precision.

Now this isn’t to say that every day is organized, scheduled and works like clockwork. It just means that most of us have got a handle on exactly how we’re using our time.

This is a learned skill, not something you have to be born with. Thank goodness, because I was not an organized child!  Luckily, there are courses, tools and books that can help you learn to better manage your time.

Start small with a basic calendar.

Keep track of your daily, weekly and monthly activities, and you’ll become more aware of just how you’re using your time. And that awareness will lead to better choices, helping you get more done, and keeping you from getting overwhelmed. Then you’ll see just how a business or career at home will fit in to your already busy life.

Decision-making matters.

Decision fatigue is a real thing. And it’s an energy drainer and brain fryer. When you have to make too many decisions in a short amount of time, you get very tired, very quickly, and you end up not wanting to think about anything!

Work-at-home moms combat this by using tricks to make the decisions easier, earlier, and automatically. For example, they may have a meal plan system that takes care of deciding what’s for dinner. They may have a “mom uniform”, that removes the decisions of what to wear each day. (And there’s nothing wrong with that!!).

When you can turn the small daily decisions into easy-to-follow routines, you can spend that energy on the decisions that really matter. Like the ones that make you money, or the ones that make your kids’ lives better.

Being a work-at-home-mom isn’t always easy or glamorous.

Sometimes it’s not even actually fun. It’s a lot of work. It takes a lot of time. And it requires so much energy.

Sometimes you can question if it’s worth it.

Having the right perspective on being a work-at-home mom can make all the difference, though. If you’re expecting to make tons of money without having to change your lifestyle, you are in for a reality check. But if you’re willing to do what it takes, and plan for success, being a work at home mom can change your life.

What does it take to be a WAHM?

When I tell people that i’m a work at home mom, I usually get asked how I do it. And most of the time, it’s because the questioner would love to work from home, they say. (Whether or not they really do is another question!) But what does it take to be a work at home mom?

Besides the obvious (a job or a business at home + kids) there are a few essentials to being a work at home mom. You need a plan, you need a planner, you need support and you need some time off occasionally.

Being a work at home mom requires that you be a mom.

I know, I know, this should be obvious, right? The word ‘mom’ is right in the term. But work at home moms have different challenges than a woman without children who works from home, or a stay at home mom does. We even have different challenges than working-outside-the-home moms do.

Being a mom is a full time job all on its own. Motherhood is at once the most primitively satisfying yet frustrating job in the world. It’s never actually finished, and it’s hard to tell when you’re accomplishing anything. And yet it fills a biological need that is so much a part of us, we even have cliches about “biological clocks ticking”.

Motherhood is the most satisfying yet frustrating job in the world. #parenting #wahm Click To Tweet

As satisfying as motherhood can be, many of us moms can feel trapped by motherhood, with our own identities in danger of being erased by being someone’s mom. Some go back to our careers, not (just) out of necessity, but because we love who we are there. Some of us start new careers, to create and fulfill that part of us that wants to be more than “just a mom”.

Being a work at home mom requires that you work.

Raising children is work, don’t get me wrong. It’s hard, sometimes physical labour. But the work part of being a work-at-home-mom isn’t the work of parenting or even home management. It’s work that is paid for in cold, hard cash.

Some moms want to be work at home moms, but they forget the work part. They may start a home based business, and dabble in a direct sales or network marketing thing, but they never truly work. It’s fun, they may see a few dollars here and there, but it isn’t the kind of work that you get paid for on a regular basis.

Putting the work in is what determines whether or not you are a work at home mom. If you receive money for products or services regularly, even if that schedule isn’t like clockwork, you’re a work at home mom.

Being a work at home mom means that you’re at home. A lot.

So a working mom and a work at home mom are two different creatures. There may be a lot of overlap, but work at home moms have different challenges than working moms.

They may both struggle with childcare needs while working, for example, but the work at home mom may carry a greater layer of guilt, because .. they’re at home!

They may both find balancing the home management needs tricky, but the work at home mom can get distracted much easier by the chores, because she’s .. at home!

Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you aren’t a working mom. But it can be easy to lose sight of that fact, and pile on the commitments, obligations and guilt trips, because you’re a mom at home.

Work at home moms need respect too, from themselves as well as from others.

What do you need to be a successful work at home mom?

Well, if you want to be a work at home mom, and actually make it work, you need a plan. Probably even more than one plan.

You’ll need a career plan.

Work at home moms need a plan for their work. Whether that’s a business plan or a plan to move-up-the-ladder at their job, work at home moms need a plan.

These plans differ from goal setting in that they have action steps in them. Work at home moms know what they’re doing now and next to move their job or business forward.

You’ll need a daily plan.

While stay at home moms may be able to wing it and still get things done occasionally, and working moms have their agendas set at the office, work at home moms really can’t survive without a plan for the day. Like having a budget for your money, you need a budget for your time. If you don’t, you can spend your time on things that don’t accomplish much, just like you would fritter away your money on coffees and random things. You won’t even know where it’s all gone at the end of the day, unless you have a plan.

To be a work at home mom, you need a record of your plan.

Plans do no one any good if you can’t see it, track it and remember it.  I often make the best plans, while I’m in the shower. And just like the dirt and soap go down the drain when I’m done, my ideas and plans often disappear as soon as I step out. (I need waterproof paper!!)

Having a plan is a great first step. Having a planner turns your plans into reality.

It doesn’t matter what kind of planner you have.

Paper or digital, dated or undated, bullet journal or traditional — the choices abound. There’s a planner for everyone, so you can find the best fit for you.

Work at home moms need help.

And we need to get better about asking for it.

For some reason, many people assume that all work at home moms are painted with the same brush. They can think that work at home moms can do all the same chores and projects that a stay at home moms. But we need the time to actually work, even though we’re at home. And that means, we need support.

Getting childcare can help.

So you have a deadline, and your son is teething and your daughter is “decorating” your home office, while you desperately try to finish off an email. Sometimes caring for the kids and working don’t mix.

Whether you live with a partner or not, having reliable, flexible childcare is an amazing support. You can get some work done, while at the same time your child is taken care of. Don’t be afraid to ask family and friends for help with the kids when you need it! There’s no shame in asking for help.

Getting housecleaning can also help.

I’m a huge proponent of outsourcing those tasks that don’t pay for you to do them. For me, this means cleaning my house. For the price I pay per hour, in my area, I can make more money working. So it makes way more sense for me to hire a cleaner to come in regularly.

Some may say that housecleaning is too expensive. But think about it seriously first. Make sure you know what the going rates are. And price yourself correctly.

Being a work at home mom can lead to burnout!

Late nights, early mornings, and the hundred and one things on your to do list, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. No human can keep up that kind of schedule for long. When you try to do too much, all at once, you can burn out, and then you’ll do nothing for months and months while you hide and sleep.

Prevent burnout by taking time off daily.

Instead of burnout and it’s related causes and symptoms, make sure you take time off. Workers at jobs outside the home get regular breaks to use the bathroom, eat a meal, and chat with friends. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a break, eat something and maybe even get in touch with a friend or two.

Build time off into your daily schedule. Whether that’s a walk to enjoy nature, working out at the gym for health reasons, or just sitting with a cup of coffee, you need that time away from your work.

You aren't supermom. You need that time away from work. #burnout #wahm #selfcare Click To Tweet

Burnout can be cured by vacations.

If you’re approaching burnout stage, that’s your cue to implement the cure. Take a vacation. It can be hard to unplug, and you may be tempted to justify it by saying that you need the money. But taking vacations are important! They aren’t just important for your physical health, but your mental health too.

Sleep declutters the brain and promotes healing every night. Just like sleeping, taking a vacation helps to declutter the brain too. When you come back from a vacation, you’ll feel energized to keep writing. And you may even end up with renewed creativity that helps spur you to the next level in your business.

Work at home moms aren’t supermoms.

Society can view work at home moms as supermoms, with expectations that are, frankly, ridiculous. So if you haven’t showered in 4 days, and you’re feeding the kids cereal for dinner tonight because you haven’t made it by the grocery store in ages, you’re not alone. Work at home moms are just moms trying to do way too much in too little time, and earn some money while doing it.

How to be a work at home mom

Are you ready to be a work-at-home mom? It’s not always glamorous or it’s definitely not easy. But for most of us, we wouldn’t change it for the world. I love my kids, and I love that I get to be home with them. And I love my job, and my clients, and that I get to make a difference in their lives every day. Working from home is so much harder than I thought it would be, but it’s so much better too!

What surprises you about being a work-at-home-mom?

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