When my husband and I first decided that I would stay home after we had our son, the plan was for my new job to be childcare, homemaking, and nothing more.
My husband would take on the full financial burden as long as I could be the primary caregiver and maintain a pleasant home environment.
Then I started blogging for fun and I loved it!
So much so that I was frustrated when I didn’t have time to blog each day. I woke up in the morning wanting to write.
I went to bed at night with a head full of ideas for redesigning my website. I had found my passion and I desperately wanted to make it a reality.
And Then it Happened…
I started working toward turning my blog into a career, even though I didn’t have to. My once spotless home became merely “acceptable.”
I started encouraging my son to play independently so mommy could work. Even though I wasn’t earning more than a few bucks here and there, I suddenly found myself treating my blog like a real job.
It wasn’t long before my husband’s misery at his current job started to affect our home life. He hated working, and I was dying to focus more on my passion. We decided I should take over the financial burden, or at least begin the transition.
The transition to becoming a work at home mom surprised me in many ways.
There are a few things I wish I would have known going in. Had I started this journey with the knowledge I have now, it would have prevented a number of minor mental breakdowns and frustrations.
5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Work at Home Mom
1. You Need More Time Than You Think
I’m a planner. I map out how long I think things will take and schedule them all to perfectly jam pack my day. Becoming a mom introduced me to the fact that I needed to add “buffer times” to just about every task.
Working from home is no exception.
With the number of times I have to get up from my computer and help my son with something, calm him down if he’s upset, or stop to give him some love when he needs it, every task takes longer than expected.
A 10 hour work week can easily turn into a 20 hour work week with the regular, albeit important, distractions.
2. Your Little One(s) Will Notice the Change
My son has always been relatively independent. At 19 months, he frequently chooses to play by himself rather than with mommy or daddy.
I honestly didn’t think he would mind me working by his side since he doesn’t even seem to notice I am there sometimes! To my surprise, he suddenly demanded more of my attention, started acting out and struggled to adjust.
I’ll be honest. Initially, I felt like a terrible mom.
My instinct was to drop everything and focus on my son. “We’ll live in a shack, I don’t care – my baby needs me” were my exact thoughts.
While I did slow down on work a bit, I didn’t quit. I decided to try to make it work by providing a gentle transition for my son. Over time, he has learned that mommy is still right there, and will still drop everything if he needs her. He’s happy, so I’m happy.
3. You Might Have to Let Some Things Go
This was a tough one for me. I tend to be very all or nothing. If I can’t do something right, I don’t want to do it at all. Working from home has been a good lesson for me in regard to the “done is better than perfect” theory.
I used to meticulously fold the laundry.
Now, it still gets folded, but it doesn’t look like it was folded by a professional at a department store. And that’s ok.
Our clothes are clean, they aren’t wrinkled. It’s done, but it’s not perfect. If you want to add working into your day as a stay at home mom, you just might need to let go of any perfectionist tendencies when it comes to homemaking.
4. You May Need to Ask for Help
Even as a stay at home mom with no financial responsibility, it can be hard to get it all done. On top of it, you need to take care of yourself.
When you become a work at home mom, it can be all too easy to put yourself on the backburner even more.
Don’t do it.
Accept that you cannot do it all and ask for help. As an only child, I’ve always been very independent. I don’t like asking others for help, even those close to me. But how can I be the best mom, wife, and entrepreneur if I’m so burnt out I can’t even think?
When I say you may need to ask for help, I don’t mean that you need to a babysitter when you’re behind on work.
Sure, that happens too, but what I really mean is that you need others to help out so that you can take the time you need to maintain your physical and mental health.
Whether this means signing up for a gym that has a daycare so you can take 30 minutes to workout or dropping your kids off at grandma’s one day a week so you can have some downtime, don’t be ashamed.
As my workload got bigger, I had to ask my husband to start helping out more around the house. Yes, he had to actually go to work at an office all day, but I had to work and chase my toddler around!
We don’t have to do it all mommas. We shouldn’t have to do it all.
5. It’s Totally Worth It
Even though there were challenges (and still are), I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I am beyond grateful that I get to be home with my son all day.
There may be less one-on-one play time, and my house is certainly messier than it ever was before. But the fact that I am working to support our family without having to sacrifice the treasured daily moments with my son makes every struggle worth it.
I don’t have to spend 9 hours a day in an office and 2 hours a day commuting like I used to. My son has his momma, and that is my motivation every single day.
We are almost to the point where my husband can stay home full time and take over childcare and homemaking.
I’m looking forward to the extra help, but I’m proud to say that, at this point, we are surviving in the chaos.
Work at home moms – what are your best tips? Let me know in the comments below!