Of all the unpredicted twists and turns my life has taken, being a work at home mom is perhaps the most surprising. Not that I didn’t always dream of having a stay at home mom job – because I did. So it wasn’t that it happened that was shocking. The unpredictable thing, I think, is just HOW AWESOME it is to work AND still get to be a stay at home mom. The benefits of working from home for moms turned out to be beyond my wildest dreams.
I recently saw this baffling article about how being a WAHM (work at home mom) was “actually the worst”.
Sometime you just read things that make you go… “What now?!” Becuase I think being a WAHM is actually THE BEST EVER. I mean, SURE there are downsides.
But there are downsides to every. thing. always.
Lists of pros and cons can help you make decisions, so it’s good to be clear on what the pros and cons REALLY are, and what they aren’t. Imo, what the cons of being a work from home mom ARE is just not even comparable to what the pros are. The benefits of being a WAHM are just SO great.
If you’re asking “should I be a work from home mom?” you are SO in the right place.
I asked that too.
I mean, I KNEW I wanted to be at home with my kids, but there was a lot more to consider than that… there was the whole money thing, yes, but I also wondered what it would BE like.
Would I miss going to work? Leaving my house each day?
Would I be able to be disciplined enough to get the work DONE?
Were the benefits of being a work from home mom greater than the cons?
(Turns out, yes – they really are!)
But I understand that it’s a big question you’re asking… so hopefully I can help you with this.
Valid reasons to work from home (girl, I can give them to you in spades)
I think when I imagined working from home as a mom, I had this sort of “acceptable compromise” picture in my head.
Like I would be ok with it because at least I got to be with my kids – while still earning some money, but less than I would have earned outside the house, certainly.
And I would maybe be largely unmotivated since there would be nothing to motivate me EXCEPT the reality that I didn’t want to have to go out and get a job. I think I felt like the work would be boring since I would be alone. (And maybe because I have always found all my work boring, no matter what it was.)
Perhaps I imagined doing some sort of menial task that didn’t require much brain power or education (since I have none).
I think I felt I would dread my “work”, but I would be willing to do it because it meant that daycare wouldn’t have to be a reality for us.
I dunno exactly WHAT I thought… but I do know I didn’t imagine it like it is.
(In case you aren’t clear on what I do for a “Job”, I’m a blogger – this website is my full-time job. Every blog makes money a little differently, but this is how my blog makes money. But there are MANY options for moms to work from home… you don’t have to blog. Wink.)
Regardless of what you choose to do to earn income from home, I would never have believed all the awesome benefits of working from home as a mom. UNBELIEVABLE benefits – it goes way beyond just saving a pile of money on daycare, I promise.
1 ) The most obvious benefit of working from for moms is the time you get to spend with your kids
But it is so so so much better than it sounds.
It goes way beyond “time with my kids”.
The thought of leaving my kids at daycare or anything remotely like it literally makes me sick to my stomach – I want to be the sole central influence on them in these formative years.
I want to know what they’re doing when they’re doing it. I want to be there to protect them (as much as I can) and teach them. I also want to soak up every second with them while I can – before they grow up and go on to live their own lives.
We NEVER have rushed or stressed mornings. We sleep in. We start the day snuggling on the couch – we watch a couple of episodes of whatever the “favorite” TV show is this month, and we eat breakfast. We get dressed and talk about our upcoming day. Sometimes we play blocks.
Our “morning” generally lasts a full hour and sometimes an hour and a half. It’s some of my favorite time with my kids.
Of course, I DO work, so we don’t just sit around all day… but I plan around any activities we want to do. (Like building fairy houses with pinecone roofs… that’s just awesome fun, and we make time for it.)
The baby sitter comes a couple of times per week and I get work time in that way – but I am still IN THE HOUSE, and I know exactly what’s going on with them.
It’s not stressful when one of them is sick, or when the baby sitter cancels. It’s not a big deal – I’m at home, no frantic trying to find a replacement.
2 ) The directly related benefit, of course, is the PILE of money you save on childcare
Sure, I spend a little on a baby sitter a couple times per week so I can have dedicated work time… but it’s a fraction of what I would spend if I had full-time childcare.
I do a lot of my work when the kids are napping, and late at night. Or when my husband is home. We save literally thousands of dollars per month in childcare costs.
I think that as childcare costs continue to rise we will see a massive influx of parents working from home.
Saving money while raising kids is hard, but this is definitely one way to do it.
3 ) It also saves money on the commute (and other “work-related” costs)
We save a ton of wear and tear on our vehicle (and gas) now that I’m not driving half an hour each way to work anymore.
I also don’t buy lunch as often or spend much at all on dress pants.
The financial benefits of being a work from home mom are massive.
4 ) It gives you the opportunity to make MORE money than you did before
I wouldn’t have believed this in a million years, so if you feel like I’m obviously mistaken, I can understand where you’re coming from.
Making the choice for me to work from home was a decision that we agonized over. We did a ton of math and figured out that if we WERE NOT paying for childcare, or gas for the car – and if we spent very carefully – I would only have to make about $1000 / month to “justify” staying at home. That was about all I’d be bringing in after childcare and expenses anyhow.
I figured I would have to WORK MY BUTT OFF for that $1000/month.
Because when you’re coming out of the workforce your time is worth a set dollar number, and that’s that. You can only get out what you can put in and it’s not scale-able.
But that’s not actually the case when you work for yourself.
Sure there are many work from home jobs for moms where you’re employed by someone else and you DO make an hourly wage… but there are many many options where you work for yourself, and you CAN scale your income.
Within three years of beginning my business, I was making more in a month than I ever made in a full year working shift work or desk jobs. (Yes, you read that right.)
5 ) Being a work at home mom gives you SO MUCH FREEDOM
I don’t feel like this needs much explanation, but imagine this:
It rained all weekend, so you spent the whole thing stuck inside – the kids were like tiny caged animals, and everyone was on everyone else’s last nerve. Of course, Monday morning the sun is shining and it’s promising to be the most gorgeous day of the whole summer…
So you dang well just pack up and go to the beach!
You also schedule any appointments you need any time, without consulting to see who will be able to take kid A here and kid B there. You can create a schedule that works for your family – (for example, our kids go to bed late… so that they SLEEP IN until 9 am.)
If your inlaws say they’d like to take the kids overnight on Wednesday, YOU just go on a mini holiday too… because you don’t have to answer to any boss on Thursday!
I fully intend to homeschool my kids (for MANY reasons) – I just don’t think I can give up the level of freedom that we’ve become accustomed to. I LOVE this about our life.
6 ) Say good-bye to uncomfortable clothes, shoes, and worrying about bad hair days
I’m NOT suggesting that we spend all day in sweats.
I actually don’t think it’s particularly healthy (or a good example for your kids) if you don’t ever bother to make yourself presentable or care what you look like.
But I do NOT miss the black on black uniform I wore for ten years, or the uncomfortable dress pants, or the sweaty leather shoes.
I LOVE wearing colors, jeans, dresses. Whenever I want!
I do NOT miss having to go out with un-washed hair on the days my alarm didn’t go off (or I hit the snooze one too many times).
I just do not.
7) Do something you actually enjoy
Speaking of other things I do not miss – doing other people’s work!
I mean, maybe you have a great job that you love – but I waitressed for a decade (which REALLY sucked) and then I worked at a desk job (which I enjoyed, but it wasn’t what I would have chosen to do with all my time if I was just choosing what to do for fun). All the work I ever did was OTHER people’s work, adding to OTHER people’s bottom line more than to my own.
Now I LOVE my job. This might sound crazy, but when I have “free time” or “mom time”… I WORK! I choose to do this because it is so much FUN for me.
8) Learn new skills
I imagined once that I would have to go back to the workforce when my kids moved out… and that I would be irrelevant.
My resume was already pretty thin looking – with just a high school education and some blah menial task jobs. Nothing that 20 years at home with kids wouldn’t make look… um… even worse.
I don’t actually HAVE a resume – because I intend to never apply for another “job” again, Lord willing, but if I did take the time to write one just for fun it would say awesome things.
Built a 6 figure business from the ground up in two years BY MYSELF.
Proficient in WordPress, market research, copywriting, and strategic planning.
Social media wizard, email marketing guru, one heck of a problem solver.
Yep, I have learned some mad new skills.
9 ) Demonstrate a good work ethic for your kids
My kids SEE me work.
They KNOW that sometimes mommy can’t play because mommy has to work.
And I think that is GREAT.
They won’t ever look back at our life and think… “Mom just sort of was around. She didn’t DO much.”
I also hope that I will inspire them to work. To create, to apply themselves. They will learn that it’s not realistic to just sit around watching TV or doing “whatever you want” all day.
I have heard that some WAHMs feel terribly guilty all the time because their physical presence is confusing for a child. (As in, they know mom is there, but mom isn’t engaging with them because she’s working.) But I think it’s OK for your kids to understand that you are not at their beck and call every moment of the day. Just make sure that when you ARE engaging with them, you are fully present. I do not let the mommy-guilt get me, because I know it would be worse if I was working away.
10 ) Ditch stay-at-home-mom boredom
Choosing to work from home as a mom is VERY different than choosing to stay at home and NOT work.
I think I would really struggle to be a stay at home mom if I didn’t work! I think I would be… bored!
I do love my kids, and I love spending time with my kids… but every adult needs to engage their adult brain.
As a stay at home mom, you NEED to do something “grown-up”, and working allows me to enjoy my time as a stay at home mom in ways I wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
Do the advantages of working from home outweigh the disadvantages?
Well, to me they do.
That’s something you’ll have to decide for yourself. There ARE a few disadvantages to being a WAHM, but in my opinion, they just don’t compare with the benefits of being a work from home mom.
Nothing’s perfect, but for me, the benefits of working from home as a mom are awesome.