Wailings Of A Work At Home Mom

The Wild and Wacky World of WAHMs!


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Working Without Experience, Yes You Can!

telecommuting

telecommuting (Photo credit: jessamyn)

I’ve met a lot of moms who expressed interest in working from home. Most of those who don’t go through with it have one thing in common. They all believe that they don’t have the experience needed to be able to work at home.

As long as you know how to use a computer, you have experience.

As long as you’ve had a job before, you have experience.

The great thing about working online or having an online, home-based business is you can practically do ANYTHING you want. You can make money on the skills you already have and what you’re passionate about. You can start a business, freelance, or get a job online.

Just to give you an example, let’s say you’re someone with no work experience, you’ve only finished high school,  you know how to use Microsoft Word and Excel, and you know how to use Facebook.

I can already think of several jobs off the top of my head that you can do:

  • Data encoder – There’s a lot of competition for data encoder jobs and the pay isn’t much but it’s something practically anyone can do.
  • Answer surveys/market research – All you need for this is another email account (to avoid spamming your personal email) and a few minutes to fill up a survey and give your opinion.
  • Blogger/writer – If you love to write, why not make a living out of it. It may take a while for you to have regular clients or to set up a blog that earns but it can be very rewarding especially if writing is truly your passion.
  • Online retailer – If you know how make crafts, cook, or you have talents like playing the piano, tutoring, gardening, you can sell you products and services on Facebook, Fiverr, Ebay, Etsy, Pinterest, Multiply, Amazon,sulit.com.ph. etc. I have a cousin who likes to bead everything (not just jewelry, bags and other accessories, she also beads kitchen items) and she gets regular clients and custom orders from that single skills. Once, she created a set of beaded cutlery and she was able to sell that set for 4 times what it was actually worth. I have friend, who is a sculptor, who sells her custom clay jewelry and accessories online and she also markets her art classes there.

As you can see, the possibilities are endless, even if you think that you have no experience. All it takes is a little imagination and a little elbow grease.


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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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The Best Time To Start Becoming A Work-At-Home Parent

telecommuting

telecommuting (Photo credit: jessamyn)

“When is the best time to start working from home?”

I encounter this question time and time again from moms who want to try their hand working from home. It’s also one of the questions had the hardest time finding an answer for because most of the moms I know (myself included) didn’t really have the option of choosing when we can start working. All the working moms I know starting working from home either out of necessity or because the opportunity was there and they had to seize it.

But I think this is a question worth answering because knowing the ideal time to start becoming a work at home parent can make process easier.

Working from home can be a big shock, especially if you’re used to working in an office. Those who don’t have any work experience can also have a hard time working at home because of the high level discipline, focus, and time management skills needed do a full day’s work load consistently.

The Answer

I asked a lot of working moms I know this question. And the one thing that we all agree on is that if we were the choice, we would like to start working from home one our child starts elementary school or grade school.

We believe this is the best scenario for several reasons.

  • Grade school classes last all day (at least, for private schools here in the Philippines). This would give work at home parents the most amount of time to focus on work.
  • Even if you choose to home-school  there are enough activities and exercises in an accredited DepEd home school curriculum to give parents enough time to work while teaching their child.
  • Grade school kids are old enough to take care of themselves and do some simple chores. They’re also old enough to entertain themselves from time to time. This frees up more time for work.

The Alternatives

Unfortunately, most of us don’t really have the option of waiting for the kids to go school before we can start working. What if you’re still pregnant or you just gave birth? What if you have a toddler or several toddlers? Tomorrow, I’ll be talking about the pros and cons on working from home at different stages of motherhood, what you can do to allow working from home possible, and job options.


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Office Sharing – An Alternative to Home?

Nicky working like mommy

Nicky working like mommy

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being a work at home mom. But for the past few months my sister and I have been scouring the city for places where we could work, especially once my daughter starts going to school this June.

We figured it’s more practical for us to start looking for places near the school for several reasons.

  1. It’s cheaper and less time consuming to just find a place where we can work close to the school. It’s too expensive and tiring to go home after we drop them off just to work then leave work to pick them up from school.
  2. My sister and I alternate dropping off and picking up our kids. (The school transport service does pass through our area.)
  3. We could work at nearby coffee shops and co-working spaces but they’re too expensive.
  4. This school has a lot of great after school programs and activities their school has for parents (like free Chinese lessons and parenting seminars) that I want to take advantage of. Working nearby would allow me to do that easily.
  5. I want to be able to get to school quickly in case of emergency (our house a bit far from the school).
  6. We want to work in a place where we can be comfortable. A place where we can bring pillows, a small pantry, and maybe have other work at home parents over. We all that’s not possible in a coffee show or virtual office.
office setup

office setup (Photo credit: Rob ‘n’ Rae)

Then, a friend of ours suggested an alternative, why not share an office space?

It turns out our friend P (a lawyer) has this office nearby where he meets with his clients. Even at his busiest, he only uses the office around 20 hours a week.  He got the idea of sharing his office from his fiance, an online entrepreneur who also uses the office to do her accounting and to meet up with suppliers and customers.

After talking things through, we’ve come to an arrangement:

  • We’d be sharing rent, electricity, and internet connection equally.
  • We’d have our own keys and can stay there as long and as often as we want or need.
  • We have free rein over the conference room (which they never use). We can bring anything that would make us feel comfortable.
  • We can bring our own food/snacks.
  • We can have our kids/spouse/partner over. This is perfect for us because it would allow us help our kids homework right away after school (they’re open too tired to do their homework by the time we get home).

It’s a short walk away from my daughter’s school (more exercise for me!) and it’s cheaper than working in a co-working space or coffee shop.

We’re lucky, I know. We’re lucky we had a friend who was open to the idea. We were lucky that his landlord was open and, in fact, encouraged this arrangement with his tenants. We’re lucky the office happened to be in a place close to school and it was something we could afford.

I’m not sure what the future holds with this arrangement. But it’s definitely an option and an alternative for us work at home parents if ever we need to work outside of our house.  Will update you guys on how this “experiment” would work. Wish us luck!


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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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Executive Assistant – February 26, 2013

3 stone ring with channel set

3 stone ring with channel set (Photo credit: sirtrentalot)

Are you a work at home mom and you’d like to have some opportunities to travel? For WAHMs with older kids, this could be a great job for you.

Jewelry Channel, a television shopping channel, broadcast via Thaicom5 Satellite is looking for the Business Coordinator/Executive Assistant.

The primary role of a business coordinator is to act as a hub, or central point, of information for different modules of a business. The coordinator’s job is to manage the flow of information between the various, branches and departments of a business or organization. The business coordinator helps develop the “loop” of information that establishes the communicative process within an organization, browsing information, coordinate with business partner, schedule the meeting for executives, organize and general administration. Business coordinators may be assigned to run the start up business program/project under supervision and close guideline from head office. Our business coordinator may be required to travel to Bangkok for the training (under company’s expenses).

This is a full-time job with a great starting salary for experienced applicants. Click here for more details about the position and how to apply.