Wailings Of A Work At Home Mom

The Wild and Wacky World of WAHMs!


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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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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.


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Virtual Assistant – February 25, 2013

English: eWay CRM Architecture Česky: Architek...

English: eWay CRM Architecture Česky: Architektura systému eWay CRM (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Are you a WAHM readyfor a full time job? We have an Australian company looking for a full-time VA. And the great thing about this job is that you don’t have to take a graveyard shift since Australia is only 3 hours ahead. You can work most of the morning and have afternoons free for the kids.

We are looking for a full-time assistant with excellent English skills to join our busy creative team. You must be able to speak and write English with a high degree of fluency.

Tasks include email and phone support, management of consulting calendars, CRM data, blogs, social media, client orders, events and assist with research and reporting tasks.

A happy and positive attitude is essential. You must have your own PC with a permanent broadband internet connection.

Click here for more details about the position and how to apply.Please attach a detailed resume with references from previous employment and profile photo. A short audio of you speaking would be useful.


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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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“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.