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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What it Means to Be a Work At Home Mom

When I first became a mom, I worked outside the home at a B&B and would bring Princess to my sister's house while I worked.  Then, I was offered a babysitting job a few mornings a week by a friend and jumped at the chance since it would un-officially turn me into a stay-at-home mom.  I say un-official because I took my kids to her house instead of the other way around, but it was good enough for me!  Then, I started my boutique in August, 2010 and became a work-at-home mom.

Having been in all three mom "situations" (working mom, stay-at-home-mom, and work-at-home-mom), I can say that being a WAHM mom has been the hardest for me.  When I worked outside the home, I could leave my work at work, plus no one was at my house messing it up while I was working.  When I was a SAHM, I was able to do my housecleaning and errands in the morning, relax during naptime, and play with the kids the rest of the day.  However, being a WAHM means that I'm always working or thinking about the work I need to do, the kids are home all day to make messes for me to clean up, and I'm constantly trying to simultaneously parent while working.

Here's what my day usually looks like:
I wake up with Star and feed her breakfast.  When she's done, I turn on the computer and start answering emails, checking on my websites, updating listings, writing, etc.  The older two kids wake up and I stop to feed them breakfast, then it's back to the computer.
Around 9:30, I'm done with computer work and ready to start housecleaning, but wait!  Another customer has a question about a custom order and I need to check availability of fabric and search for it online so I can order it and get started on the custom order right away.  Meanwhile, the kids start fighting over a toy or someone throws a tantrum.  When I'm done on the computer again, it's time to run to town for errands such as buying groceries, mailing packages, etc.
Back home and back to housecleaning around 11.  Whoops, never mind, I've got to start lunch for the kids and Hubby, if he's home that day.  I feed the kids again, clean up the kitchen, and lay them down for naps.  Lunchtime for me usually consists of a few wolfed down bites of food while I check emails again. 
During naptime, I check my order list and work on any outstanding orders.
Around 3, the kids get up and I realize that I still haven't started any laundry or done much housecleaning except for a quick clean-up of the kitchen after lunch.  But now it's time to feed Star again and give the big kids a snack.  After snack, I get back to work with my sewing even though I'm interrupted every 3.8 minutes to deal with the kids.
This continues until suppertime at which point, it's back into the kitchen to make supper for the kids and feed them.  After supper it's baths and bedtime.  After I put the kids to bed, I get back to work.  You would think that since they're in bed, I'd have time to work un-interrupted, but Little Man fights sleep tooth and nail, and Star usually wakes up once after she goes to bed and needs to be soothed back to sleep.  Around 8:30, I start supper for Hubby and me.  Hubby gets home between 9 and 10:30 and we eat together.  I spend some time talking to him about the day unless there's a rush order I need to finish, in which case, he watches tv by himself while I sit right behind the couch at my sewing machine so he can't hear the tv.
Then it's finally time to go to bed so I can get up the next morning and do it all over again.
Keep in mind that if I'm babysitting that day, all of the stuff I would usually do in the morning gets pushed back until after lunch.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining.  I love love LOVE my job and wouldn't change it for the world!  Here's the thing that bothers me...many people assume that because I'm home all day, that it means I'm free to pack the kids up for an activity or do a favor for them.

I'm not.

Just because I'm at home does not mean that I'm not working.  I may not punch a time clock, but my job is still important to me and my family.  My sewing is not just a hobby, it is a business with real customers who pay real money and who deserve quality customer service.

I found some shirts on Pinterest that I need to add to my wardrobe: 

Source: zazzle.com via Hannah on Pinterest

So next time your WAHM friend says she can't make it to playgroup because she has to work, don't think she's just trying to get out of it.  She really does have to work.  At her job.  Or when she complains that she's so tired that she can't even see straight, don't ask her why she doesn't go to bed earlier or rest when the kids nap, because those are her prime work hours.  Instead, offer to take her kids for a few hours occasionally or do a babysitting swap.  Give her encouragement and tell her that, even though this is incredibly hard, she can do it.  Take her work seriously, and please, please, please, don't tell her that it's nice she has a little hobby to keep her busy. I've been told this before and it really kind of makes me want to tap into my crazy scary lady side. 
After all, no matter what kind of mom we each are, we all struggle sometimes.  Can we please just support each other here?

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  1. Oh I so love this blog!!! I don't have any little kids to deal with, but this is exactly how it is. By the time I deal with all my computer stuff, see if there needs to be any shipping done(most every day), answer messages, its now lunchtime....now do I go to the sewing machine or clean the bathroom which I keep putting off! The sewing machine wins until I feel guilty about the bathroom. I do get a bit of sewing in, then hubby home from work and wants dinner. After dinner and cleanup, I can finally get back to some sewing, then check my computer for any last minute things I might have to do, then I can head to bed. And since I am home, other people think I can just have visitors anytime or I can run to the mall with them for the afternoon....they don't realize this is a serious business and I need to work just like them. Therefore, my weekends are full of work too!! I didn't mean to go on, but I know how you feel....how do I get that order done for my customer when I keep getting interrupted!!!

    1. Thank you for commenting! I think this pretty much applies to anybody who works at home (as your comment says!). Working at home is great, but it's very much misunderstood, especially when it's your own business.


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