What It’s Like to Be a Work-at-Home Mom

Work-Life Balance on 10.01.12
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Photo: Jason Cartwright / Creative Commons

I was a full-time working mom for a few months after my daughter was born, and let me tell you, it was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I was prisoner-of-war exhausted. That time was a blur. A highly unpleasant blur: sleepless nights followed by commuting, working all day, commuting home, washing breast pump parts, packing daycare bags, more not-sleeping... I was going off the rails on a crazy train, to borrow some prose from Ozzy Osbourne. When I was laid off from my job, after the shock factor faded, I was left with pure relief.

Now I stay at home with my daughter while I work. I'm a freelance writer. I'm also busy launching my own business, which will inspire others who are considering getting off the crazy train of fulltime office work in pursuit of a more fulfilling lifestyle.

So What's it Like to Be a Work From Home Mom?

Physically, it feels great right now. I'm getting enough sleep (except when I stay up too late of my own volition.) I'm getting regular, heart-pumping exercise. I'm able to walk into the kitchen and whip up a healthy stir fry for lunch. In other words, I have time for self-care. These are things that would have been hard to prioritize were I still working 40 hours per week and driving my daughter to and from daycare.

Speaking of my daughter, I love that I get to spend so much time with her. Of course, as stay-at-home moms the world over can attest, it can feel trying at times to be with a two-year-old who is learning about her own free will, testing the boundaries, day in and day out. But I would rather have my daughter test my boundaries than my coworkers.

What's the Downside?

To be completely honest, I haven't mastered it yet. My income depends largely on the amount of time and thought I'm able to put into my work. My plan is to work early in the morning, during naptime, and in the evening. However, naptime is the only guaranteed time of day that I've been getting work done. I've been a bit self-indulgent lately when it comes to sleeping in rather than getting up to work in the morning.

If I'm to allow my business to take flight, I absolutely must expand my hours. I will have to get up at ungodly hours of the morning a few days per week if I want to accomplish a meaningful amount of work. Some days, I will have to sit down and work again between dinner and bedtime. Speaking of bedtime, I will have to be disciplined about going to bed early so that I'm able to get up early without causing a world coffee bean shortage.

To sum up, I'm glad I decided to ditch the rat race in favor of self-employment. However, finding the right balance between work and play is my biggest challenge, and it has a very important impact: my family's bottom line.

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