WAHM is no joke.So you want to be a Work at Home Mom? You want to stay home with your babies, do freelance work while they nap, earn some extra money for the household (heck, maybe even take your family on vacation) all while sitting comfy in your pj's for no one to see. Well, while earning the extra cash is nice, you can throw the dream of casually working in your immaculate home while your kids stay properly nourished and appropriately entertained out the window.
By no means do I want to persuade a woman from pursuing her goals outside of motherhood; my transition from working girl to SAHM to WAHM has fulfilled me in ways that motherhood alone did not. I love what I do and have no plans of stopping, but let's get real. The perks and added financial security are great, but my kids, marriage and household sometimes suffer from my lack of attention. So before you cash in your chips for a work at home gig, here are 3 real confessions from someone who's down in the trenches...
Want Balance? Go To A Circus
Thank goodness for the WAHMs before me that spoke honestly about this horribly damaging myth: balance is elusive. If not a downright circus act of tight rope, trying to balance is a job in itself. In the end, I don't even bother. When you become a WAHM, there has to be times when your work comes first. Far more time than my 3 three year old and 1 year old sleep. But you never get to call in sick from motherhood, so sometimes the work goes out the window. Each night I make a list of what needs to be done the next day, including things like laundry and working on small motor skills. If it's not on the list, it won't be tended to. Sometimes the list is lost and we eat a picnic lunch at the park after pre-school instead of heading home so Mommy can work. Those days I get to watch the sun rise as I finish up my deadlines. In my WAHM world, I don't strive for balance. Instead, I strive to be conscience of how my time impacts my life. If my kids are having a particularly challenging day, I square my focus on them conscientiously deciding that I am giving up sleep in order to work. No balance, just decisions.
WAHM = Worst At Home Mom
People like to judge, and according to the media, mommy wars are akin to WWII. As I "balance" my WAHM duties with motherhood, there are times that no one can make me feel worse than I already do. That mommy guilt is a mean little sucker. After a weeklong vacation, spending every waking moment focused on their happiness, coming back to the realities of a crazed household and urgent deadlines smacked me right across the face. Working at home is still work, whether your kids are there or not. Conference calls still need to be made. Emails need to be sent. And yes, sometimes the guilt of not focusing your time solely on your kids is hard. Even the guilt of hiring a babysitter was a transition for me. To overcome that guilt, I remind myself daily of my long term goals. I remind myself of why I choose to work versus filling my days with the undeniable beauty of my children. I focus on the legacy I am creating for them to one day follow-to reach for their dreams and never ever give up. In the end, to work or not work, regardless if at home, is a personal decision that can only be answered within your exact context. Even after you've made a decision best for your family, there will be days where you feel like the worst at home mom instead of a Work at Home Mom.
Some Days Suck
Coupled with mommy guilt, there are days when being a WAHM just sucks. Dare you browse Facebook and find a status of a SAHM enjoying the park or going to the gym. It sucks too watching as other WAHMs accomplish task after task because their kids are older and in school all day. You remain grateful for the opportunity to work from home (how cool is that?!), but man does it suck sometimes. Confession #3 sounds kind of like this: Gosh, I wish my kids were in school all day so I can get this work done and go to the gym. No! Of course I don't wish that! I love my babies being small. I want to cherish every single moment of their childhood. Please never let them grow up, but it would be great if they slept a little longer. This sucks.
Yes, I love the pursuit of goals outside the realm of motherhood, but working from home can be a battle field. Without an amazing partner and a decent support network, I would struggle even more than I do. Yet, and here is a bonus confessional for all the aspiring WAHMs out there, I wouldn't choose differently. Even when you lack balance, are riddled with mommy guilt and having neurotic conversations in the confines of your brain, you know you're on the right path when you are getting paid to do something that you would do for free. Being a WAHM actually makes me a more balanced mom. Throw in two happy babies, one proud husband, plus that extra income, and I'd tell any woman looking to pursue a work at home career: go for it!
-By Vanessa Bell