Mathematically, the day of a mom who works at home with her children (a Working SAHM) looks achievable. Allowing for eights hours of sleep, there are 16 hours of productivity in a day. Subtract 4 hours for showering and eating. Now there are 12 reasonable hours to accomplish goals.
Imagine that each part of your life will be given a third of that time left: Child Playtime/Education, Household Duties/Cooking, Business:
2 hours for business before the toddler wakes
4 hours to play, practice skills and learn to write the alphabet
2 hours for business during the toddler’s naptime
4 hours to run errands, pick up the house, do laundry and cook dinner
Reality, however, is not so nice:
10 minutes for business before the toddler wakes up early
5 hours and 50 minutes to bribe him to write one letter on the chalkboard
2 hours to check Facebook and doze off on the laptop
5 hours to run errands, dump clean laundry on the bedroom floor and listen to my husband’s day while my toddler refuses to eat dinner
10 minutes staring dumbly at my laptop before going to bed
Accept the Struggles of a Working SAHM
It is not always easy to be both a good mommy and a good employee, but know that others just like you struggle with this balance. An exceptional Working SAHM from Marion, Rebecca Swartz, has a 1-year-old and works part-time hours from home. “I have to remind myself that if they wanted someone who produced as much work as a full-time employee, they would have [hired one]. I want to produce quality work for my employer, but it needs to fit within the agreed upon hours [so I can focus on my family].”
Remember to Embrace the Joy
Take time during the day to remember how wonderful your life has become. You can wear yoga pants all day and showering is optional. Your children will be bonded to you like no one else in the world, and you will remember their young years forever. You are mostly in charge of your schedule and for Rebecca that means vacation time is flexible. “I really enjoy being able to visit family for two weeks at a time twice a year. You wouldn’t get that kind of vacation time for most jobs.”
Making a schedule that works for you, and sticking to it, will save a lot of frustration. “Being a work-from-home mom has required me to get creative,” admits Ashley Allred, Warren. “I stick to a strict schedule with my kids to leave them less stressed, and to allow myself time to make phone calls and do business on the computer.” Keep in mind that women who work in an office only do business during business hours. Whenever you schedule business hour do what it takes to keep the kids from interrupting that time.
Prepare for Emergencies
Because children love their mommies, it can be beyond difficult to get them to completely leave you alone during your business time. So make an emergency bag. Fill the bag with rare snacks you do not stock in the pantry, library books they know will go back soon, favorite movies and toys they do not usually enjoy. Ashley runs into impromptu business calls during the day and at times “in the middle of an afternoon meltdown. That requires lots of bribing.”
If you don’t have to be an island, don’t! Even if you do not use a regular babysitter, it’s a good idea to have a list of emergency sitters on hand for that deadline. Do you have friends who are also Working SAHMs? Set up a day of trade. You watch her kids in the morning so that she can work, and she repays the favor in the afternoon. “One of the most rewarding advantages of an at-home business is knowing that my children are with the best person to care for them: their mom,” says Amanda DeWolfe Ritchie, Ossian.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 24-percent of women work from home, and separately, the same number of mothers stay home with their kids. That is good news for Working SAHMs, because that means businesses are opening the door for this new generation of “off-location” working mommies. The best payment, of course, is now you’re a real-live Supermom.