Thirteen years ago we found out we were having a baby. I had just graduated from college, I had visions of being a career mom. I had never wanted anything more than to be a mom. Not long after that, I starting being a work at home mom. I knew that I had goals, and passions beyond having a baby, and working would be something I would want to do.
Then I had a baby, and I just couldn’t bring myself to go back to work, leaving my 6 week old baby in the care of another person. (I am not saying anyone has an easy time doing this, or that everyone has a choice in the matter). I had to find a way to bring in something to help our family, and I had to be home with my babies.
Since then, I have been a WAHM (work-at-home mom). There hasn’t been any point in my mothering journey where I have had the privilege of being a stay-at-home mom (meaning I haven’t had to work full-time). I have been a nanny, I have run a family day care, and I have been a photographer. And while I know I am beyond blessed, there are a few things I have learned in my time as a WAHM.
5 truths about being a work at
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- People will assume that being a WAHM is equivalant to being a SAHM. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth, and yet, you will have all of the responsibilities of a SAHM (and there are many! Being a SAHM isn’t for the faint of heart), and being a working mom.This means you will not rest all day. When the kids are awake, they will want to be entertained and you will need to do housework, and when they are asleep, or entertained, you will need to work. I am up, working, most nights until after midnight.
- You will feel just as guilty as any working mom. Working moms (who work outside the home) tend to feel so much guilt for missing out on things with their kids. The assumption is that if you work from home, you won’t feel the guilt.I feel it though. I feel it because despite trying to work at night, there are still times I need to work when my kids are around (everyday). They see me on my computer- a lot. I don’t want to put my work before my kids, but it happens at times.It’s the nature of the beast, and ultimately I am working for my family. The point is guilt happens to all kinds of moms, including those that work from home (I am sure SAHMs have too!)
- It’s important to be able to cut yourself some slack. Give yourself a break when it comes to being the perfect housewife. Give yourself a break when it comes to making the perfect snacks for school- or if you forget to send them altogether until 20 minutes before snack time– been there, done that).Cut yourself some slack when you have to tell your kids you can’t play that game because you have to finish work. Yes, work will always be there, and your kids will grow quickly. I’m not suggesting you ignore your children all the time.I am suggesting there are times when they have to wait, and that’s ok. Beating yourself up because you’re doing what you have to do for your family, won’t help anyone.
- Making lists will be your lifeline. WAHMs are forced to jump from one task to another often. It’s definitely not the most productive way to do life. Making a list before you start will help you move back and forth between tasks without forgetting what you were doing.I have to write basically everything down, otherwise, I spend an obscene amount of time saying, “What was I doing again?” after filling that cup of juice up, or taking my kid to the bathroom for the 15th time in an hour.
- Disconnecting is crucial. I guilty of not doing this enough. When you go to work, and then come home, work is done for the day. (For most people, of course it depends on your job, and certainly there are people that work outside of the home that deal with this as well. I won’t name jobs because I don’t want anyone to think I left them out.Just know that I realize this can happen with moms and dads who work outside of the home too). For me, I am literally trying to figure out what I need to do next for work all day long. My work day is spread out (see number 1), and I end up with a 10-12 hour “work day”.I have to make it a point to disconnect from work, or set specific times to just relax, and be with my family or myself.
At the end of the day, being a WAHM has been a huge blessing to our family, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Just like everything, it comes with its challenges. What challenges have you faced as a WAHM?