Confessions of a Work at Home Mom
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I became a Work at Home Mom (WAHM) when I started my blogging and freelance writing journey a little over a year ago. After being a SAHM for 8 or so years, I felt the need to do something for myself. It wasn’t so much about getting “adult time” or making money, as it was fulfilling something within me that felt empty.
Don’t get me wrong, my children and family have always, and will always bring me more love and joy than I can handle, but as an individual, I felt like I had a void to fill. My thoughts started spinning. What was my 5-year plan? Realistically, in a few years, the kids will be out of the house (in school) and will no longer need me to the extent that they do now.
Where will that leave me as an individual?
I knew I wanted to do something, I knew that something was writing, and I knew I needed to start doing it immediately. I was bursting with ideas and needed to communicate them to the world! I needed to get to the root of my being, to the “Me” that wasn’t “Mom”. So I did… but faced a few obstacles on the way.
Work at Home Mom Woes
Finding the Time
It wasn’t and hasn’t been easy trying to adjust to this new way of life. The kids have always been used to having me there at all times. My door has always been “open”. But if you’re a writer like me, you know that writing requires peace and quiet- two things that a mother of 3 with kids at home rarely experiences until after bedtime.
So I tried writing after bedtime- but do you know what that’s like? It’s like pressing play repeatedly on a video that won’t load. It’s being in a constant state of “buffering” because your brain is ready to shut down from a day’s worth of toddler activities, laundry, and housekeeping.
I also tried writing before they got up- but I’m not a morning person, and my best friend and comrade- the espresso machine- always ratted me out with it’s grinding and pressure screams. I need coffee and caffeine in my veins, sparking new thoughts and ideas when I write! My Breville was waking up my kids and they started getting up earlier with me- or so it felt like. (Or did the little time I had before they opened their eyes not seem like enough?) Either way, I wasn’t getting enough done to warrant waking up that early and we were all cranky in the afternoon.
So I went back to writing during the day and turned to the TV for support. **(GASP!)**
I know, I’m a horrible and selfish mother for doing so- but it was working! I could get a blog post or two written in the time it took SuperWhy to solve a super-reading problem. Does it help that it was educational programming?
And then the blog became an obsession. There was so much to do and so little time to do it. Neither Tumble Leaf nor Creative Galaxy could spare me enough time to get all the things done. My kids were watching more TV than I care to admit to, and my fourth child- the blog, was doing well, but not well enough, considering all of the extra time I was spending on it.
Here’s where the Mom-Guilt swooped in. At the end of every day, I’d sit back and calculate just how much TV the kids were watching, how much time I spent playing with the blog, and most importantly, how much time I spent playing with them.
There was vast inequality.
My sweet husband agreed to give me time on the weekends to work on the blog. This was a major help, but the sense of urgency and stress that came with it was overwhelming. I felt the need to get all the things done quickly. It also didn’t help that they knew I was in my room working because they would open the door and distract me often- thanks to the old “open door” ways. This would result in tons of frustration and eventually, me shoo-ing them away. I’d close the once “open door” and continue writing.
I’d be sitting at the computer for hours on the weekends, rushing to get as much as I could get done while in the background all I could hear were giggles, laughs, and memories they were making with their father. It got me to wondering…
What memories would they have of me?
My kids’ childhood was flying by while I was busy typing away to an audience of people I didn’t even know. People who would forget me 2 minutes after reading a post and users who wouldn’t even take the time to revisit my page. What was I doing any of this for?
Where’d the Maid Go?
I was also slacking on the housework. My once sparkling clean home and menu board filled with an actual plan for the week disappeared. Instead of cleaning the house, I focused on cleaning up my inbox and instead of menu planning, I was playing pantry roulette. My dear husband was kind enough to help out with a lot of the work, and I love him to death, but let’s face it- there’s a certain way we Moms like things done- and it doesn’t include clean clothes thrown on top of the dryer or beans for dinner every night.
Getting the kids to start helping more with the messes they’ve made turned out to be helpful, and you know what? At least the laundry is done- wrinkled, but done nonetheless. As my husband has taught me, there’s nothing a wet washcloth and dry cycle can’t handle. (In all honesty- I’m still working on the dinner thing.)
Balancing Business and Brood
Having a 9 to 5 job would be no different- it would actually be better because I might be able to afford daycare and my job would end at 5. I’d be helping people much like I do on my blog and would be spending time away from the kids just the same.
The situation I was in was a difficult one because we didn’t have the kids in full-time daycare and we couldn’t really afford to do that, either. If I was going to continue to attempt to do what I wanted to do, we would all need to make some sacrifices and I realized that I SHOULD NOT FEEL GUILTY for chasing my dream. I just had to be smarter about it…
This is what is wonderful about Mothers. We beasts know how to handle multitasking like no other creature. We also carry guilt and no matter how much we sacrifice and do for our kids, we always seem to feel like we could have done more. We’re so hard on ourselves that we don’t take into consideration everything we’ve accomplished as Mothers… or individuals.
If playing with their father is the worst thing my kids are doing while I’m working, I’d say we’re all in pretty good shape.
Starting my career was something I needed to do for me, and even though it’s more stress than I’d like to deal with, and the rewards are limited for now, it still fills that empty space in my heart. I’m not giving up on it, and know that if I keep working at it, my efforts will be rewarded.
The issues have been finding the time to make a work at home job fit into my family life. Without guilt- and accepting that everything will not be perfect because I cannot do everything on my own.
It hasn’t been an easy feat- balancing brood and blog- but I have been having success with some of the strategies I’ve been using. Check out my next post How to Survive Working From Home with Kids for tips and tricks on how to create a good balance.
I have no regrets about trying to start my own business and find my calling. Yes, we’ve all had to sacrifice a little, but it’s not for naught. I’m setting a good example for my kids- showing them not to give up on their dreams and to work hard for what they want in life. I’m making a little more money each year, making great contacts, meeting wonderful people, and the blog is growing. I am growing as an individual, too.
It’s definitely not easy doing this with the kids at home, the guilt isn’t easy to ignore either, but nothing worthwhile is ever easy.
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Do you work from home with kids? How do you keep a balance?
56 thoughts on “Confessions of a Work at Home Mom”
When my kids were younger, I really struggled with finding the time to work and actually get things done. Now they are both in school all day, so I have more time than I know what to do with 🙂
Hey Robin! I feel your pain, lady! Every day is a struggle- it would be nice to have more time to do things!
I am lucky my kids are out for 7-8 hours before the drives and back and forth start again so that gives me a window. I end up working into the evening but I still get to spend some quality time with the kids. Good luck with the little ones.
Hey Melissa! Thanks so much!
Balance is for sure the key. Working from home is so not easy, but if you find a balance it can be worth it. No lie, I fell into the TV trap for a while there as well.
Hey Jessica! As hard as it is to admit it- yes, the TV is the most convenient and used babysitter. LOL
Some days you gotta do what you gotta do! I have 3 soon to be 4 kids and some days everything else can wait. You have to make mommy time!
Hey Kansas! You’re right! Thanks for stopping by.
I am currently in between jobs and I feel so GOOD! I have worked all my adult life and although I am job hunting, it feels soooo good to get a reset. I am still wondering what would happen when we start a family. Whether I become a stay at home/work mom is still to be decided.
Hey La Shell! I’m glad you’re getting a break!
I admire you Pam! I have no kids and I find this blogging gig full on so I can’t imagine trying to keep up with little ones and the house on top of everything!
Awww thank you, Cassie! It’s exactly what you would picture it to be like…CRAYYYZYYYYY!! LOL
It’s nice to see all these other work-from-home moms. Neither SAHM or working outside the house moms really get how hard it is. When they say how nice it must be, I tell them yes, it’s great, if you love choosing whether to be a terrible mom or a terrible employee each day. 🙂
Beth- you got it right! It definitely feels like, “choosing whether to be a terrible mom or a terrible employee each day.” Thanks so much for stopping by- it’s really nice to know I’m not alone in this!!!
I was a WAHM for 5 years. It was one of the hardest jobs I have ever done. It takes a lot of balance…and patience!
Hey Amber- It wasn’t until I had kids that I truly understood the meaning of patience, and furthermore once I started working from home. Thanks for stopping by!
The work at home moms that I know also experience the same things that you did. I think that’s how it usually is but we have to also consider that moms have dreams and aspirations too that they would like to achieve. That shouldn’t be taken away from them.
Hey Karen! Thank you! I think you’re so right- we’re individuals with goals and aspirations, too!
I can feel your pain. It is is not easy. I just don’t like to work from home when I have anyone around.
Hey Sona! Exactly! I can’t write (well) with constant distractions.
Yes, working from home with kids is a whole different ballgame. We homeschool, and I feel like I am always trying to run in 10 different directions at the same time. It isn’t easy. The mommy guilt is real and I definitely don’t feel like I can get everything done that I *need* to daily. I am working on more block scheduling so I am fully present with each thing whether parenting, homeschooling, writing, or once in a while cleaning 🙂 I also think it is good for my kids to see me doing something that I am passionate about.
Hey Heather! Homeschooling is a whole other realm!! I think you have to be a special person with an insane amount of patience to homeschool- and I am not that person- but I think it’s awesome that you are! You sure are one BUSY woman and it just proves how amazing us Moms can be!!
I could have written this exact post. Every single piece of this is exactly how I have felt at some point over the past five years. I actually walked away from a very comfortable work from home position because I thought working outside of the home would “fix” these challenges. Yes, I was making more $$ but nothing else was solved. I was exhausted. My children never saw me. My husband had to take on more household responsibilities. And I was brand new to an environment of strangers trying to prove my worth. It was short lived but I absolutely don’t regret coming back to a work form home place in life and this time I’m a little more aware of just how great it is to only have to worry about making sure my coffee is made to get a little work done before my girls are awake. Not sugarcoating though, this is HARD. And so worth it.
Hey Heather! I’m so glad you “get it”!! I also know what you mean about the challenges that working outside of the home present. I had a short stint with it (only about 4 months) and just like you- I barely saw my kids and it was hard on all of us. The best part about working from home is that it is only hard on me- my family doesn’t experience the same stress I do. Tt’s a small sacrifice to make for the family and the harder way to do what I want to do (build my business), but at least I’m able to be there for them and work on my business!!
All of this rings so true. Finding that balance is a constantly a struggle, and it can all feel rather lonely sometimes since you don’t really understand it unless you are in it yourself.
Hey Kaity! You are so right- you don’t really understand it unless you’re in it yourself. Thanks for stopping by!
Aww I love this confession of a work at home mom. This might be in my future so it’s nice to read about it.
Hey Michenn!! It’s not easy, but it definitely reaps it’s own rewards!!
I struggle with this also. Luckily my kids are all in school now and I try to work when they are in school. I totally understand your feelings, but remember it’s good for your kids to see YOU happy.
Thanks Nancy- you’re right! I think they understand how important my business is to me and hopefully they will learn from that.
Both my husband and I stay home full time now.I am working from home on my blog so its been a lot of work finding out balance. But now that we’ve moved into a bigger house with more space, its become a bit easier to make the time to get what i need done!
Hey Jeanine! I’m glad you have more space- I think that helps a lot!!
It is really hard being a WAHM. Most people do not understand it. They think you can just get up and do something whenever, they don’t get you are actually working!
Hey Reesa! It’s SO difficult to be a WAHM!
I love your honesty. I feel the same way. I have finally found my passion…writing and blogging but feel like I want to do it all the time but need to check myself that I don’t take away from being a good mom. I am lucky though that my youngest goes to Kindergarten this year so I will have to be disciplined and make sure I turn off work mode when they get home from school but I am really excited to have all that free time to work on something for me!
That’s awesome Carolyn! I’m excited for you and I bet you’ll be rockin’ the blog!! 🙂
It is definitely to balance work and play and I can imagine that as a parent it must be even harder! I think you are doing a good job though x
Thank you for the kind words, Ana!
Finding the right balance is the secret in all aspects of life. While it may be difficult, I am sure you will find the balance you need and will be able to avoid mom guilt 🙂
Awww thanks, Cassie!!
I have been working at home since 2002 and I have definitely felt the mom guilt after my first child was born. Truthfully, I still feel it from time to time!
Hey Hillesha! Thank you for your honesty- I guess it’s jus something that will never go away.
This is totally me. I have these same issues every single day, especially the guilt. My husband has not been as understanding.
Hey Rachel! I’m sorry to hear that. It just makes you even more awesome to be able to handle it all on your own!!! Hopefully it gets easier the older they get (especially once they’re in school full time!)
This a great post for me as i am trying to turn my blog into a work at home business… and right now I seem to do a lot of WORK for free, taking time away from my kids, my cleaning, and my life in general…
Hey Brandi! Getting started is tough, but I promise that if you just stick with it and work hard, it will start to pay off!!
Ahhhhh I’m a workaholic myself! I love summer , but at the same time hate it because my daughter is home 24/7 meaning total mom guilt when work needs to get done
Hey Courtney! I’m glad you understand and I’m not alone in this!
I’m not a work at home mom, but I am a traveling freelancer and sometimes I feel the same guilt. I’m gone a lot or working a lot and i don’t get to spend some holidays with my family. They don’t mind, but sometimes i go through the FOMO moments in my head. Eventually, I remind myself that they love and want the best for me, so I make as much time as I can without overdoing it.
Hey Sara! That’s great that they are so supportive!
Working at home and balancing a family life can be difficult. Trying to figure out about making memories and making enough to live can get tough sometimes.
Hey Debbie-Jean! Yes- these are definitely some difficult decisions to make.
Yucky guilt. I dealt with this a lot from home schooling for 4 years. And I have had workaholic issues too, so I had to set boundaries and since our family has undergone some changes for the better including public school. It is a journey of finding what works, what doesn’t and working through the stuff that is hard but beyond our control. Hats off to you for getting through the hard. I am writing a post series about struggles/calling right now so this hits home. Keep going, it inspires!
Thanks so much, Meghan! Yes, it is a struggle and I agree- trial and error seems to be the way to work it out. It works different for every family. I can’t wait to read your series!!
This post really hit home for me. I’m Shan, Army wife, blogger and mom to three girls. I also struggle with mom guilt. It was as if I was reading a post about me! Thanks so much for sharing.
Hey Devon! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. I used to be a Navy wife, so I totally understand the difficulty of practically raising kids on your own and trying to make everything work at the same time (including finances). I’ll definitely have to check out your blog- I’m sure there’s a lot there that I can relate to as well! Thanks for stopping by.