The work at home mom life can be a struggle.
Not only are we stay-at-home-parents, with almost all the same responsibilities and obligations, but we’re usually trying to manage a career or a business on top of it. Work at home mom life can be overwhelming.
Any stay-at-home-mom can tell you that between the kids, the cleaning, the cooking, the errands and the sheer mental load of managing every little detail is exhausting.
Some days, you just want to run away.
Any working mom can tell you that trying to manage running a home, managing the kids, delegating the chores and still carrying that mental load is exhausting.
A work-at-home-mom combines both kinds of exhaustion, and there’s no separation. Work and home mingle and blend. Some days, it all works like clockwork. And some days it’s chaos.
Being a work-at-home-mom means you have to get creative to get it all done.
You need a plan. You need to use every tool available to you that works for you — planners, calendars, timers, meal plans, and online shopping. And you need to find that support that can help you focus.
Some of these tools and supports may not be found at home. You may be surprised at how much community support there is for the work-at-home-mom.
Unless you live in the middle of no where, with no neighbours for miles, there is a resource you can use in your community to help you with your goals.
Find those community resources that will support you.
1. Public supports
These include community centres, libraries, and your local municipal offices. Publicly funded centres can be excellent resources for WAHM’s.
Check out your local municipal office.
This may be city hall, town hall, or whatever local government office there is. Chances are, they have resources for starting businesses.
Locally, my city hall hosts a “Small Business Centre”, which is a staffed, free community education centre. I went there and I was able to get information on how to register my business, and what laws applied to me as a home-based business.
I also was able to connect with an accountant to review my bookkeeping, and a mentor to help me get started.
There were networking events, workshops on various business skills (such as marketing, creating a business plan, etc), and tons of pamphlets and cheat sheets. All FREE!
Connect with your local library.
Libraries also offer a host of free information for work at home parents. And they often offer free technology and internet use. That means that when you need to focus, you can head out of the home to a quiet spot free of distraction, without worrying about paying for wifi, or using data.
Some libraries even offer drop off programming for your kids. That means you can register them for a program, often free or low-cost, and get some quality time spent on your business while the kids have fun. And you can be assured that these programs are educational, since it’s the library!
Look up your local community centres and museums.
Community centres, museums, and art galleries might not be the first place you think of as a business resource. However, sometimes they can offer things for work at home moms!
For example, one of the local museums in my area offers a “co-working” space for parents with young children — including childcare on site! There’s a small fee to it, but it means that not only can you network with other work at home parents, but you can get work done, all while your baby or toddler is kept entertained for you. And since you’re right there on site, if there is an emergency, you don’t have to rush home or to a daycare. That gives you some peace of mind, making it easier to stay on track.
Another thing your local community center might offer are workshops for small businesses. Often the rooms at a community centre, art gallery or museum are available as low-cost rentals.
And other professionals may offer their services at a discount through these locations. I’ve been able to review my insurance and liability needs with financial planners, talk about privacy laws with a local lawyer, and took in a presentation on marketing with a local company, through workshops offered at community centres.
2. Private helps
Many home based entrepreneurs shy away from looking for help, especially when they are just getting started, thinking that they can’t afford it. And, maybe they can’t.
However, often the cost is a lot less than you think it is. And, when you consider your own worth, the cost of not hiring out actually costs you more, in opportunity cost.
Hire a cleaner.
So this is one of those things that many people think they can’t afford. But cleaners are one of those supports that not only don’t cost as much as you think, but end up actually helping you make money.
Most cleaners, even the professional companies, can run you $50-100 per session. Think, just $50 could get you a clean house in just a couple of hours!The cost of NOT hiring out could be more than you can afford. #wahm #findsupport Click To Tweet
Now think about how much time that same job would take you. And if you’re charging what you’re worth, (which I hope you are!!!), how much money does that cost you?
For me, a cleaner can do more in half the time than I can. Which means that my $50 spent on 2 hours of cleaning translates into a savings of $50 as well. It would take me 4 hours to accomplish what they do in 2 hours. It’s much more reasonable for me to hire it out than to do it myself.
Who do you know in your network of friends, family and acquaintances that has a skill you don’t? And what can you offer them in return?
Maybe this is as simple as swapping childcare a few afternoons a week or a month. Or maybe your best friend is an amazing cook. So you get them to make you freeze-ahead meals, and in exchange you offer to carpool their kids for a couple of weeks.
There are lots of service swaps available, and they can even be business related. Trade advertising for accounting. Or graphic design for social media management.
All you need is a match of skills and a willingness to be flexible.
3. Use technology.
I am a huge proponent of making technology work for you. There are so many great apps, tools and resources out there! Use them to make your life easier.
Ever since I discovered online grocery shopping, my work-at-home-mom-life has improved greatly! I can put together a grocery list online as I think of it, and then once a week or so, push that order button, and schedule a pickup whenever it’s convenient.
Some locations even get delivery (I’m jealous!).
Now I try to order as much as possible online. Even if the cost is a little more than what I’d pay in store, it’s worth it to me when you consider the gas to get to the store and the frustration, energy and time spent shopping. (Not to mention the impulse shopping tax!) I order my office supplies, books, garden supplies, even dishes and diapers online.
Even better is when I can use a cashback app like Ebates (referral link)! Ebates lets me activate cashback in certain online retailers, and when I shop there, I’m earning money. It’s like free money, just for doing something I was going to do anyway. (If you aren’t an Ebates user, sign up using my referral link and we’ll both get free money!)
If you’re anything like me, you probably have a smart phone, and you probably use it frequently. Why not put it to good use?
Use it to help you keep track of everything you need to. You can track appointments, your to-do list, your meal plan, your health and fitness, and anything else you want to track. There’s an app for that!
With a quick glance, I can now view my upcoming appointments, check off tasks on my to-do list, and look up a recipe for dinner. I can set a reminder for when I have to leave, and it will adjust based on current traffic between here and there.
And I can play podcasts and videos while I’m waiting for something (kids, lineups, stuck in traffic…) so that I’m always able to make the best use of my time.
Say it out loud – hands free voice technology
A few years ago, speech to text technology was barely viable. It was hard to use, and required a ton of editing.
Now we have AIs that can adjust your thermostat based on a voice command.
I can now ask my voice-enabled devices to look up things as I think about them, to remind me about topics, ideas or things to do, to add things to my shopping list, and a whole host of other helpful things.
I can also write my blog posts or emails using speech-to-text, so I can multitask even easier.
Technology has revolutionized my productivity. And I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Use what you have around you!
As WAHMs, we’ve got a lot going on. But are you using what you’ve got to your advantage? Do you even know what’s around you? It might be worth the time investment to find out what’s available to you. Anything that makes life easier and that much more manageable is a good thing.
What makes your life easier as a WAHM?