Wailings Of A Work At Home Mom

The Wild and Wacky World of WAHMs!


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Isn’t She Lovely?

Got a lovely gift today from A Gracious Life. My first blog award =)

And what I love about this award is it’s the kind of gift that you can give forward. We moms can do everything and we often don’t get a lot of credit for what we do. Motherhood isn’t easy but it has been worthwhile and rewarding. Having a network of moms who I know can understand and empathize what I’m going through has helped make me realize that despite the challenges, motherhood is magical and it’s something I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.

Without further adieu, here are 5 beautiful mommies that I know deserve this award.

Sustainably Single Parenting

The Life After Single

Parenting and Stuff

The Milk Lady

Life As A Mommy

To get your award, all you have to do is:

(1) Click the above image and use it in your acceptance post.

(2) List three things you love about motherhood.

(3) Nominate as many moms as you like and let them know of the award

Why It’s Lovely To Be A Mommy

Baby, you're funny!

Baby, you’re funny!

I love a lot of things about motherhood, but the top 3 would have to be:

  1. My daughter’s antics. Everyday, my daughter does something or says something that makes me laugh. Whether it’s her complaining that her nose isn’t working, loudly declaring that she’s a monkey, or having philosophical discussions with her toy cars, she’s always looking for ways to tickle my funny bone. Everyday is a laugh riot with her and I’ve never been happier.
  2. Grooming my baby. I enjoy grooming my little girl: brushing her hair, cutting her nails, cleaning her ears. She doesn’t have a vain bone and she doesn’t like it when I comb her hair. I know she’s only letting me groom her because she loves me and she’s Mama’s girl.
  3. Playing with my girl. It’s like life gave me a chance to relive my childhood through my daughter. Playing with her relaxes me, makes me feel young, and makes me believe that anything is possible.

 

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Bringing up Baby While Working

Imagine my baby sleeping like that on my lap while I'm working on my laptop. That was my work at home life 2 years ago.

Imagine my baby sleeping like that on my lap while I’m working on my laptop. That was my work at home life 2 years ago.

It feels like yesterday when my daughter was still a baby and she used to sleep on my lap as I worked in front of the computer.

Those were the good old days.

Any sleep deprived mom would tell you that a sleeping baby is the best present you can give to any mom. And as difficult as it was to balance a baby on my lap while trying to  write three 500 word articles on car insurance, I still went for it and persevered. To this day my daughter still likes to sleep on my lap and she can be lulled to sleep my sound of me typing away on a keyboard.

Working with a new baby was tough. Even though I had pockets of time that allowed me to have a part-time writing job, it was hard because we didn’t have any help. My husband helped out a lot with the chores but most of the child-rearing was still my responsibility.

Another thing that always kept me on my toes is my baby’s ever changing schedule. It’s not that she didn’t have a regular routine. It’s just that her routine  changed as she continued to grow. I had to adjust when her nap times became shorter. I had to adjust when she started learning how to sit up, crawl, call for attention, walk, etc.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. You’ll need that village, especially if you’re a working mom. I’m not saying it’s impossible to do it on your own. It is possible because I’ve done it and I know a lot of moms who have done and are doing the same thing. All I’m saying is that working with a baby isn’t going to be easy. You have to be healthy and in the right frame of mind. You have to be strict in keeping routines but be flexible enough to adapt to changes. You have to learn how to ask for help, be open to accepting any help available, and let other people contribute to parenting.

As difficult as it was, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Working from home, even  with the baby gave me a lot of flexibility and control over my schedule. I was able to give my child as much time and attention as she needed. I never had to worry about separation anxiety, feedings, and her schedule because I’m always there making sure that she’s getting everything she needs.

So to anyone who wants to start working from home immediately after having the baby, my best advice would be to make sure you have a supportive spouse/partner/family behind you. Support from people who understand is what will help you get started and keep on going day after day.


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Forever Grateful For My Child

"Wakey wakey, eggs and backey!"

“Wakey wakey, eggs and backey!”

This weekend was a stressful to say the least. I wasn’t feeling well last Friday, which was the reason why I wasn’t able to do my regular job post. And my daughter was being a little difficult. It’s not that she was being naughty. She was just being her same old active, cheerful self and I simply didn’t have the energy to keep up with her.

I know a lot of parents that feel the way I do. Parenting is a marathon. The daily grind does take its toll on you. And no matter how nice or even tempered your child normally is, there will be days that you just want to take a break from it all, have a drink, vent, and go somewhere you’re the one babied for a change.

I wanted to wallow and vent over the weekend, but a barrage of news from friends and acquaintances over Facebook made me realize I had more to be grateful for than anything.

I wanted to complain about how tiring it is to have a child. It sounded selfish compared to couples I know who wanted to have a child, who would have made wonderful parents but couldn’t. And I know they would give anything to feel the way I’m feeling right now and for that I’m grateful.

I wanted to complain about how my child would wake me up so early on the weekends. Hearing “Wake up Mama! Wakey, wakey eggs and backey” every few seconds stops being cute and starts to become annoying when you don’t get enough sleep. But then I heard of friends who just lost their child. I know if I was in their situation I would have given anything just to have my daughter wake me up every morning and for that I am grateful.

I wanted to complain about my daughter’s incessant chatter and her seemingly never ending need for hugs and kisses. Then I found out from some parents how painful it can be when your child refuses to run into your arms, when your child can’t return your affection either through words or actions. I have a child who can’t stop hugging me and always wants to talk to me and for that I am grateful.

She's a handful and she knows it.

She’s a handful and she knows it.

Lastly, I wanted to complain about my daughter’s boundless energy. She’s always ready to run and jump and I simply can’t keep up with her anymore. The I realized there are parents out there who would give anything to see their child stand up and play; how it pains them that their child can’t enjoy what most children take for granted. I have a child who is always ready to play and is  living her life to the fullest, for that I am grateful.

 

Yes, I was exhausted over the weekend but I was able to salvage it. My husband, daughter and I focused on having a relaxing time. We quietly played paper dolls, bonded over ice cream, Phineas and Ferb, and Dr. Who. We had food delivered and postponed chores for Monday. We had a good weekend and for that I am grateful.


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Missing Nanny 6: The Conclusion or The Nanny Returns

My nanny finally finished her internship and we’re now working on getting things back to normal. We’re still doing a bit of adjusting because now we’re preparing my daughter to get ready for school. It’s a tall order but I think we can make it.

Not having my nanny those past few weeks reminded me that becoming a work-at-home parent really isn’t for everyone. It’s not that I don’t want parents to have more time for their families. It’s just that we, work-at-home-parents, are extremely lucky to have people around us supporting us in our decision to work from home.

Support from our friends and family is one of the main factors that allow us work at home parents to do what we need to do everyday. Without support, we’d all be burned out. Without the support, faith and trust of the people we love the most, I don’t think we’d even be able to start working.

But despite our growing numbers, we’re still a minority. There are still people out there who wouldn’t be able to understand why we made this choice. And this means there are parents out there who would want to work from home but couldn’t because the people around them don’t support them or don’t believe that this is possible.

The Other Ingredient

Another reason why I think not everyone is cut out to be a work at home parent is the misconception that some parents have about working at home. They think it’s something that can be taken lightly. They think that working at home is like a hobby that they can drop anytime they get bored or when it gets too hard.

To stay sharp, I attend trainings and seminars. That’s me getting my certificate for completing my presenter training.

Being a home-based worker takes the same amount of dedication as a regular job. But it also requires more discipline and time management skills in order to keep up with the demands of the job.

Sure, you can start out with “easy” jobs. But if you want to make a career out of it, if you want to keep working, keep the lifestyle and find fulfillment in being a work at home parent, you have to constantly challenge yourself. You have to keep learning and be a professional in your field.

There’s nothing wrong with putting your family first. There’s nothing wrong in setting limits with your clients/business/employers so you can make your children a priority. But once you become a work at home parent, you need to have good work ethics. Honor your commitments and give quality work. Show your client/employers and children that despite the fact that you work in your home clothes, you’re just as professional as anyone working in a cubicle.

Conclusion

The past few weeks without my nanny made me realize that it is possible for me to work without one, but it would be a challenge. I’m very grateful to her for the love and care she has shown my daughter, and for supporting me as I work.

The life I’ve chosen isn’t easy. The past few weeks I admit I’ve been tempted, again and again, to take the more traditional routes of either being a working mom or a stay-at-home mom.

I also know this life I’ve chosen is a blessing. It’s a lot of work,  a huge commitment, and requires a lot of compromise. But if that’s what it takes for me to get the best of both, then so be it.


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Out On Their Own

Yesterday, my husband and I cried like babies. We were on an emotional roller coaster that started with intense anxiety, followed by alternating bouts of fear and doubt which eventually ended with an overwhelming rush of bittersweet joy and immense pride.

Yesterday was my daughter’s assessment and entrance examination for preschool.

I know what you guys are thinking, why are we so emotional over our daughter getting into preschool? It’s preschool, for crying out loud! Nobody fails in those “assessment” tests and all they do in preschool is play.

My husband and I are very involved and a bit overprotective when it comes to our daughter. Although we allow and encourage her to face challenges by herself, this was the first time we felt like she was facing this completely alone. As a parent, you know you that you should let your child work things about by themselves but we’re usually at the wings ready to swoop in whenever our child is in trouble.

This time we felt helpless. We weren’t allowed to go with her to the testing area and she was tested by complete strangers. They didn’t know our daughter and we couldn’t tell her what her quirks are and what makes her tick. We wouldn’t know if she was scared or nervous until after they let us in the room.

Our daughter is smarter and stronger than me and my husband combined. I’m so proud!

She proved us wrong and she passed with flying colors. She even enjoyed the challenge! The guidance counselor and principal were charmed because she told them that she wanted to go to school and she will go to school even when she’s sick!

And I was really thankful that the staff was very professional. They really knew how to put my child at ease, which surprised me because normally my daughter is very shy among strangers. One of the counselors made the effort to make us more comfortable and reassured us by saying that our reaction is normal and that a lot of the parents there actually felt the same way we did.

It’s not you, it’s me

It’s not because we didn’t trust her abilities. It’s more like we didn’t trust ourselves. I think despite all the things we did to prepare her, we’re never completely sure that we did everything that we could or we did everything right. We’re human and we makes mistakes and it scares us that our child would be the one to suffer for our mistakes.

It’s a good thing children are forgiving and they often come out stronger and better than what we expect of them.


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Missing Nanny 5:Super Playdates!

Playdate at the Pod! With my cousin and her baby in the background.

 

Nothing, and I mean nothing, completely drains a toddler’s energy than a playdate with other equally restless toddlers. It’s not an exact science and it varies from child to child. But in my child’s case, one hour of uninterrupted play is equivalent to a 4 hour afternoon nap.

So when my cousin Julie Faith invited me to her weekly playdate (which was set for Valentine’s day that week) at the Pod, I couldn’t say no. I figured if she was able to drain most of her energy that morning, she’d be asleep by 2 pm at the latest and I’d have a few hours to work without interruptions.

It worked.

After lunch, my daughter took a nap with minimal fuss, slept for almost 4 hours, and woke up refreshed. I actually had time to work and hang out with my friends. Best Valentine’s day ever!

But that’s not the only reason why I love playdates. These  playdates  gives us work at home moms and stay at home moms the social interaction we need from people who understand us the most. There, I met other work at home moms and mompreneurs, as well as stay at home moms and working moms.

It was really refreshing and encouraging to see a big group of women that are always ready and willing to help one another with just about any problem. It was nice to be in a room where everyone is cheering you on to make your own choices because they’re also going through the same thing.

Another great thing about these playdates is that it teaches kids to interact with other children early on in a setting that’s comfortable for them. The babies there weren’t afraid to approach other kids and adults because they know mom’s right there. I guess that’s why the babies there are so affectionate. They learn to share their moms and to share affection in a safe environment.

I was also surprised at how gentle my daughter was with the babies in the room. She’s usually a bit rough with her neighborhood friends (who are mostly boys her age) but at our playdate she was very gentle. She was better behaved than I expected, which motivates me to attend more if the opportunity arises.

I had so much fun. I want to thank my cousin Julie Faith again for inviting me, Alex for making me feel welcome there, and to all the “Peas” who were so warm, friendly, and patient with me and my daughter. You made my date-less (hubby had to work) Valentine’s day really memorable and enjoyable. See you guys at the next playdate!


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How Becoming A Work At Home Parent Helped My Marriage

All marriages go through problems and my marriage is no exception. That’s why I’m forever thankful that my marriage has lasted this long and continues to  grow stronger.

We’ve been through a lot and I’m glad we made a lot of good choices along the way. I think, I believe, one of the choices that helped keep my marriage together was the decision to become a work at home parent. It was a decision that wasn’t taken lightly and wouldn’t have been possible without my husband’s total support and our determination to make it work.

Our Struggles

My husband works in a call center and his schedule is often erratic. And before we had our child, there were times that we hardly saw each other. He often works nights and I usually work during the daytime. And although my previous job offered some flexibility in terms of schedule, it still didn’t give us enough time to really be together.

And that first year after I gave birth was really tough on our marriage. We were having financial, health and family problems. We fought a lot and there were times  we literally cried ourselves to sleep because we didn’t know what else to do.

Our Solution

Then my sister offered me a writing job that paved to way for me to becoming a work at home mom.

When I started I was making a lot less than what I was earning in my previous job, but it was enough to make ends meet. Since we didn’t have to spend for child care and I didn’t have any office expenses, what I was making was already a big relief.

But more than that, it also helped life a huge burden off my husband’s shoulders. Being the sole breadwinner in our family scared him. At that time, our future looked so uncertain and he wasn’t sure what he was earning was enough to provide for all out needs. Me getting that job helped relieve a lot of stress and made us more confident about our future.

Unexpected Benefit

Date night at Bellini's

Date night at Bellini’s

The relief from our financial burden was welcome and expected. What we didn’t expect was finally getting that extra time together.

It’s not a perfect set up. We still have to share our time with our daughter. But working at home allowed me to adapt my schedule to his work schedule. I would try to work when he is working so we could be together. I was finally able to wait for him to get home so we could finally talk and just be husband and wife and not Mama and Papa.

And even when I can’t match his schedule (because of our child), I’m still able to make some time for him even if it’s just to talk or take care of him.

Why It’s All Worth It

My daughter, my husband and I at our favorite place: home.

My daughter, my husband and I at our favorite place: home.

A while back, I was seriously considering applying for a job and working in an office. It was one of those days where everything went wrong. My daughter was being difficult and I was having a hard time at work. I started to question if the sacrifices I made were worth it and if I was really cut out to be a work at home parent.

After I shared this with my husband, he held my hand and told me that I was doing a great job. “More than that”, he says, “I’m glad you’re a work at home mom. I get to see you and our baby everyday. I look forward to coming home because I know you’re there waiting for me.”

Those words made everything worth it.