Being a Work-at-Home Mom Is Harder Than it Looks
Once upon a time I dreamed of being a stay-at-home Mom. I would wake up with my bright-eyed baby, tickle her cheeks and begin my day. We would stroll through the park, enjoy play dates and take naps at the same time. What a life it would be!
As you can imagine my dream world was shattered when our first child entered the picture. Being a stay-at-home Mom is a tough job! When you add in the Grace Factor (you know, that thing we all need but fail to use with ourselves and our children), it makes the day even harder. We now have two kids and every day seems to require new skills as we learn the hearts of our children. Disciplining and raising them with grace is no easy task.
When we entered seminary (yes, I say WE because it takes both of us to make our lives work), we started crunching numbers. I think I will forever be grateful that my husband is getting a counseling degree. When I started to freak out about our finances during seminary, he was able to calm me down, help me see truth, and trust our God. We were determined to stay out of debt while also keeping our kids at home with me. I never thought God would provide me with an opportunity to work from home.
I now have the privilege of working for a great Christian network that helps churches think and act as the missionary. It’s a job I can do while my children nap each day, and it helps pay the bills.
However, being a work-at-home Mom is no easy task. There are a few “rules” I’ve adopted that help me balance the work/home life that can make working from home stressful.
1. Keep the iPhone, iPod and Blackberry put away during meals. Sure, it only takes a few minutes to send that quick email. It’s also only takes a few minutes for your child to dump his supper on the floor, or say something hilarious.
2. Stick to your work schedule. For the most part, I set aside about 2 hours each day during nap time to work. This means we try and eat lunch at the same time every day so the little ones can get to their naps in time for Mom to work. Then when they wake up, I can shut down the computer and enjoy some quality time together.
3. Keep track of your work time. I use a free app called EternityLite to keep track of my hours on my iPod. This helps me in many ways. When I am working while the children are awake, I can hit the ‘Stop’ button easily to deal with a home issue. It also helps me see how much time I’m really spending ‘away’ from home ‘at work.’
4. Be flexible! Your kids will get sick. If you are a seminary wife, you are bound to get pregnant and your name may get added to the nap schedule! Keep in good communication with your boss, so they can know when you have a change in schedule and cannot work as much as you usually do. And every once in awhile, throw out your entire schedule for a fun event with the kids. It may mean waking up early to get those hours in, but the memories will be worth it! Remember, your kids are always your main priority as a Mom and you’ll never regret raising them.
Written by Julie Masson