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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Working While Pregnant: Perks and Pains

A pregnant woman

A pregnant woman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know a number of work at home moms who started working while they’re still pregnant. When I was still working as a medical information analyst, my office allowed me, and other pregnant employees to telecommute.

I also know a lot of women who think that the best time to become a work at home mom is while you’re still pregnant. Working while you’re still pregnant does allow a lot of perks.

For the most part, working at home is more relaxing than working in an office. You don’t have to commute. You’re comfortable. You can take as many bathroom breaks, snack break, and naps as you want.

You get an idea of what it’s like to work at home before the kid(s) arrive. You can set aside workspace as you’re preparing for the baby.

Telecommuting and working at home has allowed a lot of pregnant moms to stay productive. However, pregnant working moms, especially those in their first pregnancy, have to be ready for the surprises and problems childbirth can bring.

No matter how prepared you are to work at home, once the baby arrives, everything changes. You have to give your body time to recover and you have to adapt to your child’s needs.

Not Superwomen

We hear stories of moms going back to work after only 2 weeks from giving birth. These moms are admirable but it’s not for everyone. Some work at home moms feel compelled to go back to work so soon because they feel like they don’t have an excuse to take a longer leave. They’re working at home, which should give them all the rest they need.

But that’s not often the case. Even work at home moms have to take extended leaves for their health and for their child. This means a break from business/employers/clients. This means you might have to change everything you’ve prepared for before you had the baby.

I was hoping for a normal, natural birth and I believed I was healthy enough to go back to work in less than 2 months. Instead, I had an emergency C-sections, surgery complications, a colicky baby, mild post-partum depression and limited childcare options if I did go back to work. From being able to work 12 hours a day (even during my pregnancy), I had to stop working completely for the 8 weeks and slowly pace myself back. As much as I wanted to be like Marissa Mayer who went to work after 2 weeks, it would have been impossible.

Once you have the baby, it’s who new ballgame. Will talk about that more tomorrow.

 


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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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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.


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Missing Nanny 4: Going to Grannies

(From left) My sister, my mom, my daughter, my niece and me on New Years

(From left) My sister, my mom, my daughter, my nephew and me on New Years

The reason why Filipinos have such close family ties is because each generation is in one way or another completely dependent on one another. In most Filipino families, the primary caregivers of children, in addition to the parents, are the grandparents.

This is still the case for most families but it’s not as predominant as before. Which is why some of us have to look for nannies or consider working at home.

This was the case when I was pregnant with my daughter. My in-laws were both working at that time and my mother was on the other side of the country. The grandparents on both sides wanted to spend more time with my daughter but they were all too busy with their own jobs.

When we moved to Davao, the situation was reversed. My mother went back to

My daughter with her Grandpa

My daughter with her Grandpa

school and my in-laws, now retired, was on the other side of the country.

My mom and in-laws may not be able to take care of my daughter full-time but I know they’re often willing to help when able. That’s why, when we went back to Manila for a week-long vacation, I took advantage of my in-laws willingness to take care of my little girl and was able to keep working full-time that week.

As wonderful as it was to have grandparents that are always ready and willing to take care of my child, I try not to take advantage of it too much. First and foremost, they all have their own lives, plans and activities everyday. I’m extremely thankful every time they rearrange their lives to accommodate my daughter. I want the time they have with their grandchild to be a joy and not a chore. So taking care of their daughter should be a break from the day-to-day and not their day to day.

My daughter with Grandma in the park

My daughter with Grandma in the park

So to my mom and my in-laws, thank you so much for all those days that you took care of my baby for me. You have no idea how thankful and touched I am every time I see you welcome her with open arms. I don’t think I would have survived the past 3 years of motherhood without your support. I know we sometimes clash but I understand and I know you only want what’s best for your grandchild. My daughter is extremely lucky to have the most loving grandparents who spoil her rotten and tease her incessantly.

Thank you, thank you, thank you…


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“Mama, Don’t Work!!!!”

My baby after a tantrum

Last Monday I was really stressed because I have almost a hundred emails to sort through, deadlines to meet, and chores to complete. I was trying to focus to get as much work done as possible. And just when I’m right there in the zone, just when I get my momentum and it’s starting to feel like I just might be able to accomplish most of the things I’ve set out to do…that’s when my toddler start’s to throw a tantrum and screams from the top of her lungs: “MAMA, DON’T WORK!!!”

I usually have a few tricks up my sleeve to get around this problem. But for some reason, none of those tricks worked today. I tried working in another room (the out of sight, out of mind trick) but she kept banging on the door to the point that she starting hurting herself. I tried distracting her with food, toys, cartoons; nothing worked. This went on for hours. It came to the point I had no choice but to stop working and sit with her while she ate her snack.

And the funny thing was she fell asleep while eating. She wore herself out from all that crying.

I wish I could say that I have this WAHM thing all figured out and I have a fool-proof way of getting out of this situation but I don’t. Most of the tips, tricks and advice I share here do work most of the time, until they don’t. And as frustrating as it is, we often have no choice but to roll with the punches and find our own way of dealing with it.

This often means doing things we promised ourselves we’d never do once we become parents. Have you let your child watch TV for several hours straight? Guilty. Bribed them with candy in between meals? Guilty. Threw a tantrum yourself and scolded them into leaving you alone? Super guilty.

Being a work at home mom does allow you to see your kids more often than working moms but we also have to accept that we’re still working moms. It’s okay to be stressed because we have obligations outside of our homes that we do need to honor. It’s okay to feel bad when you end up having to resort to bad parenting practices in order to work. What’s more important is you try to do more good parenting practices than bad parenting practices. What’s more important is we have to always remember the reason why we became work at home moms in the first place; so we can provide for our families and be there anytime they need us the most.

Yes, I did give in to her tantrum but I was a little glad that I did. She wanted to hold my hand while eating her cornflakes. And while eating, she told me how much she liked cornflakes and her new friends here in our new house (she likes them a LOT). My baby, in her own way, is now learning how to talk and share her feelings with me. And when she was finally able to share, she finally relaxed and fell asleep.

My first serious mother and daughter talk. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.