A friend of mine shared this article on Facebook about the realities of being a work-at-home mom. The things listed in this article really do happen to WAHMs, but it doesn’t have to be your reality. I’m not saying that these things won’t happen to you. I’m just saying that there are ways that can help you manage these realities and make being a WAHM an easier experience. Here’s my response to some of the problems that was posted in this article.
Reality no. 1: You may not have time to make homecooked meals after all
Alternate Reality 1-1: You don’t have to cook homecooked meals everyday. What I do is I often cook in bulk on the days that I do have time to cook. That way, we still have the savings and the nutritional benefits of a homecooked meal. We refrigerate or freeze those meals after cooking and only microwave what we can eat.
Alternate Reality 1-2: It doesn’t have to be a homecooked meal everyday. When my husband and I get tired of our own cooking, so we get take out or we have food delivered to our house. We don’t do this often, just enough to beak the monotony of homecooked meals.
Reality no. 2: You still won’t be there all day for the children.
Alternate Reality 2-1: Wait until your kids are old enough for school before becoming a WAHM. This is the strategy that my sister did to make sure that she’ll get the amount of work time she needed but would still have time for her son. She used to work in an office but became a WAHM when her son started going to grade school. “I get my straight 8 hours of work while he’s at school and still get to focus my energies on him when he’s at home.”
Alternate Reality 2-2: Work around your kid’s sleeping/TV/play schedule. It’s really hard to be a WAHM when your child is still a baby or a toddler. What a couple of my friends did is they worked around their child’s sleeping/TV/play schedule. This means they would work while their child is napping in the afternoons and at night. One friend of mine who is also a WAHM actually set up playdates for her son with the neighbors so she could squeeze in 2 more hours of work within the day. And when “Dora The Explorer” is on, I try to squeeze in as much writing as I could in those 30 minutes.
Reality no. 3: Your productivity will go down.
Alternate Reality 3-1: Get a maid/nanny/household help. Being a work at home mom doesn’t mean you’re a superwoman. Working 8-10 hours everyday, even if it’s in your own home, can be pretty exhausting. I tried being a WAHM before without a nanny and it almost drove me crazy with exhaustion. I thought I could do it all. I finally gave it to my husband’s pleas and we got ourselves household help during weekdays. It was a lifesaver. I was able to work and take care of my daughter without having to worry about the household chores.
Alternate Reality 3-2: Set up a work station or home office away from the distracting elements of home. My husband knew I’m easily distracted when he turns on the TV. In our first apartment, he set up a work station for me (just a desk to hold my laptop and some papers) that looked out of the window and he moved the TV out of our room. Over time, I’ve learned how to tune out the TV. But to make sure I’m not distracted by it, I set my work table to face away from the TV and I usually have my earphones on when I work.
Reality no. 4: You may miss adult companionship.
Alternate Reality 4-1: Network and meet up with other WAHMs. My sister is also a WAHM and we both agree that adult companionship is one of the things we miss the most about working in an office. What we did was we set up “work dates” so we can work together in one place. We sometimes go to my mom’s house so she can play with our kids while we work. We sometimes work at my house. And sometimes we meet up with other WAHMs we know and work in their houses, coffee shops, or in shared work space. It keeps us sane because we’re able to meet up with people who can relate to our situation and we’re still able to have some of the camaraderie we missed working in an office.
Reality no. 5: You may miss eating out.
Alternate Reality 5-1: Food delivery services. I’ve already explained this in Alternate Reality 1-2. It’s normal to be bored with your own cooking. That’s why we sometimes have pizza, pasta and Japanese food delivered to our house.
Alternate reality 5-2: Eat out every once in a while. My husband works in a call center so his schedule can be pretty erratic. There are days when the only way we get to spend some quality time together is to run errands or do the groceries. We make those days extra special by making it a “mini-date” and eating out.
Reality no. 6: You may miss the office itself.
Still haven’t found the solution for this one. I do miss the conveniences only an office can provide (mainly the air conditioning). One thing my sister and aunt suggested is that we hire an accountant that would do all the SSS, Philhealth, and Pag-ibig filing for us. Maybe it would be cheaper if we file as a group. Will get back to you guys once we have this ironed out.
Reality no. 7: Work can be seasonal.
Alternate Reality 7-1: Setting up a separate account for fixed bills. My aunt works as a consultant and she does go through some lean months. What she does to make sure all the bills are paid is to set up a separate account for all the fixed bills (utilities, tuition, taxes, contributions, etc). She makes sure to put in as much into that account until she has enough to pay for an entire year. That way, when the lean months do come, she doesn’t have to worry about not having enough to pay for the bills.
Alternate Reality 7-2: Get a different job during the lean months. Most of my aunt’s clients are international organizations. During her lean months, she does consulting work for local organizations and does some part-time writing and accounting. It doesn’t pay as much as her regular gig but at least she’s still getting something. These part-time gigs has also allowed her to network with different people that would eventually give her bigger and better paying jobs.
Reality no. 8: Client payments get delayed.
see Alternate Realities 7-1 and 7-2.
Reality no. 9: There’s no such thing as holidays.
Sadly, there’s really no way around this. It’s the price you have to pay when you want a flexible work schedule.
Reality no. 10: If you don’t have a high level of self-discipline, you can very easily fail.
I noticed that the most successful work at home moms are usually the ones who have either worked in an office or had their business before they became WAHMs. You need a lot of discipline and an established work ethic before you can become a WAHM. However, if you really want to be a work at home and you don’t have prior work experience, it’s recommended that you start with a part-time job first. If you find it too hard to finish a part-time job in the allotted time, then maybe being a WAHM isn’t for you.