As I sit here writing up this blog post my youngest son comes down the staircase. As I hear his feet hitting each and every padded stair I hustle to wrap up what I’m doing. Two little voices in my head are at war as he walks up to me and puts his sweet arms around me. One voice says “awww what’s up sweet boy – so lucky to see you.” The other voice in my head says “crap.”
The second voice in my head isn’t happy. That’s the working mom voice. The working mom voice knows that I still have a lot I wanted to get done before the kids woke up, but didn’t get to because the kids woke up early.
This has been my reality for the past nine years since we decided that I would be a work-at-home mom. Don’t get me wrong, the benefits far outweigh the cons. Read my article Why I Chose to Be a Work at Home Mom and it will be clear to you that I love being a work at home mom. But this article is all about being real and telling you what it’s really like being a work at home mom. That means all the warm and fuzzy aside.
The ultimate multi-tasker
Being a work at home mom means you get really good at being a multi-tasker. I first started being a work at home mom when our oldest child was still in my womb. After he was born I quickly realized that I needed to be able to work whenever I could if I was going to make this “work at home mom” think actually work.
That means I got really good at being flexible and multi-tasking. I worked from home as a freelance graphic designer and then later as a network marketer. I will say that being a network marketer with a baby was way easier than being a freelance graphic designer with a baby.
That’s means I could literally run my network marketing business from my phone, or rocking the baby. I could work waiting at a doctor’s office. Essentially, I could work anywhere. Find out if network marketing is right for you too by reading this post here.
Honestly, I wish someone would have explained all of this to me when I first started working from home. In fact, there are few other things I wish I had known and I share them in this article – The Best Advice I Wish I Had Gotten Before Starting My Business. It’s a quick read and valuable to anyone starting a work at home business.
Not everyone understands that I “work” from home
Over the years one of the biggest challenges of being a work at home mom is getting people to understand that I actually work. So many times well-meaning family or friends will pop by, or invite me to last minute plans during the hours I’ve set aside for working.
Even though I’ve shared my work schedule with them, most people don’t understand it. They think because I’m my own boss I can take off whenever I want, which is mostly true. However, being a work at home mom means that I have to actually work and if I took off for every last minute plan, or whim, I wouldn’t make any money.
I’ve even had some acquaintances and people who don’t know me very well make jabs about working from home, or tell me it’s nice to have a “hobby.” To which I smile and node. I think to myself “yes, a hobby that affords me my brand new van (shout out to my Sienna peeps), my home, and other awesome things.” Smile and nod because sometimes I just get tired of explaining it all.
I work from “home”
I’m home so that means there is no separation from home and professional life. I often find myself working too much without an off switch just because I can, and because there’s no real line between work and home. This use to be really bad when my kids were younger and I was sleep deprived. Since then I’ve discovered time blocking and this isn’t as much of an issue, but it does come up.
Also since I am home, the housework doesn’t stop. I’m right there so I see the dirty dishes, I see the piles of laundry and feel compelled to get it done. Again, the time blocking really helps with this and it’s not as bad as it once was but there are some days I feel so unproductive with work because I can’t seem to get done with chores. It’s a struggle. I know I could ignore the filth – but that’s just not me.
All in all, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Nothing in life is perfect. Working away from home has just as many challenges as working at home. So here’s the thing. Even though there are challenges of being a work at home mom…. Even though every day isn’t perfect and rosy…. There are still so many bright spots! On the really bad days I think of those bright spots and I remember Why I Chose to be a Work at Home Mom. For me personally, I think the benefits of being a work at home mom far outweigh any of the setbacks. In my opinion, I’d make the same decision all over again.