I am a working mom. As a consultant, I work from home in order to have some adult conversation and still work as I also keep up with all three of my kids and am the one here for them while my husband travels for his work. Work is my outlet, it gives me something for myself, but I do it on my terms and keep my own hours and schedule.
I also do not work full time. I work in between all the kid and life stuff.
Many times, I can go days without cracking open my computer. I do a lot of work on my phone, and that is what my kids see. I’ve had times in the past when my oldest has told me “you don’t work, dad makes all the money” or other such statements. My middle said something similar the other day.
So, the challenge of the work-at-home mom: how do we show our kids that we have things to do, and have to get projects done for work, while also showering them with the attention that they also need? Sometimes, things have to give!
I try to emphasize that I do work, show them what I am doing, and sometimes ask for their help to do it. If I’m typing on the computer, they see that I am writing and that is more concrete. But, I also run several social media pages for clients, and the kids see that as fun. How to find the balance? I try to book out the social media posts first thing in the morning, before my kids are up and about…and then only check on things periodically throughout the day.
Am I always successful with this strategy? No. But, I try, and that is all that any of us can do.
How do you balance the “work” part of your life with the “mom” job?
All of us have this challenge. We want to be the best parents we can be, but we also have adult responsibilities and the reality is that life is expensive. So, being working parents is part of our reality.
As a small business owner, I sign on for the amount of work I want to do, and I am responsible for my own taxes, health care, etc. I’ve seen several articles lately and have heard rumors of some government actions that may affect me eventually. The latest law from the California legislature that restricts the number of contracts/submissions that a freelance writer can have in a year is very scary to me. As a freelance writer in another state, this makes me mad. As a small business owner, it also makes me mad. These writers have made a good living by running their own businesses and living their lives independently from corporate America. I applaud that! And I fully support their continued ability to do so! (And mine)!
There are also challenges many small business owners face due to government hurdles regarding use of contract employees. I know people that have been encouraged by their accountants to move toward full-time employees instead of contract employees because of these challenges. As someone who likes to write her own schedule and does not want to work full time, this is going to be a challenge for me!
Ladies and gentlemen: I am an advocate for alternative work schedules and for everyone finding their own niche in the great big world. I am also a huge proponent of the free market. People like me have found our happy place working for ourselves and running our own schedules/lives. I am a happy entrepreneur. I do not want to work for other people…mostly because I do not want to go into an office every day/week for 40+ hours! And I absolutely advocate for other people to do the same, if it’s right for you.
I am very fortunate. My husband has a great job, but part of that job is working and traveling most of the week, and one of us needs to be the one home for the kids. I am happy to have that role, and I’ve talked before about my mental progression from working full time to working/stay-at-home mom.
I do embrace the full-time mom role. I still take things to school for the teenager that she’s forgotten. Not every time! But if she’s forgotten a big project or something she needs for sports practice, I can run it up to the school. It doesn’t hurt me, I am home. If she wants something that she doesn’t “need” right away, I make her wait or tell her no.
If my kids are sick, I’m here and can drop everything to take care of them. If we have a snow day (as we did last week), I give up on work for the day and just enjoy it. Friends, life is short!
I know that not all of us can do what I do. I left the office workforce over 10 years ago, and I haven’t looked back. There are days I miss the people I worked with. Honestly, though, I do not miss working in an office every day. My office is – many times – my kitchen counter. And I love it! (Also, it’s the warmest part of the house, and my home office is not…plus, closer to the coffee pot).
I do have limited solo working time every week. The 12 hours a week that my youngest is in preschool is when I try to finish projects for clients and get most of my writing done. All the rest? I fit in between the rest of life. I know that next year, our little will be in Kindergarten and I’ll have all week long to fill with working time.
I have taken a time out from my full-time career. And I don’t miss it! Are there days I miss the salary? Yes! Do I plan to go back to full-time work later? No! I love working for myself and running my own business, and my life will not automatically become less busy when all three of my kids are in school.
So, for myself and all the other working moms out there, I say that we should be finding new ways to encourage creative scheduling, job sharing, and part-time work opportunities for those of us who want to keep working but also want to lead our families and take care of what’s important!