Another fantastic guest post about us Mom's who choose to work at home and try to keep a healthy balance between family, work, and ourselves. Some days the task of being a work at home Mom may seem easy while other days you might just want to smash your head against the wall, but either way we each find rewards in the simple pleasure of being a part of our kids everyday lives. If you'd like to guest post check out the opportunity and apply by visiting the Blog Hop page.
I'd like to introduce the guest blogger for this week:
Coral Lee is a 24 year old mother of two toddling tornadoes, located in Southern New Jersey. Still not sure what she's going to do when she grows up, she experiments with writing, cooking, and art.
What I Wish I'd Known Before I Started Working From Home: A Mommy's Tale
One night, I could hear them faintly from my computer station. A squeal, a giggle, a sob, a small sliver of their lives that I was missing. I knew that someone I trusted more than life was watching over them. But it still ached to be where I was, stuck in a quiet corner, willing a few more sentences on a dull topic to appear on my glowing screen.
And another night I almost sprinted to my computer station, my oasis, a place I could be a professional for a few hours. I check my email — another article accepted! And the comment below: Coral, this is well researched, engagingly written and very cleverly put together. Well done! Unexpectedly, I feel tears welling up in my eyes. Someone appreciates me.
Those moments were my lowest and highest. Your experiences as a work from home mother will usually fall somewhere between these extremes. I know choosing where and how often to work as a mother is an agonizing decision. In this economy, chances are you've tried everything from online coupons to homemade cleaning products to save money. Whether you're considering generating money in your own home, or you are already, here are some tips I've learned along the way. I wish I had known them before I started.
The Excitement Wears Off
The first few weeks I worked at home, it was like the beginning of a new romance. I dressed up for the job, I thought about the job all day, I couldn't shut up about the job in conversations. I should have known that feeling wouldn't last.
Like with any good relationship, you need to be willing to work through the hard times. Keep your motivation and professionalism up. Remind yourself of the reasons you started working from home in the first place. You'll find that, while you may never be quite as excited to work as you were initially, there are tons of worthwhile rewards waiting for you.
Guilt Is Pointless
There is no issue so calculated to bring out the worst in mother-in-laws as when and how often you work when you have kids. Warning: someone will say something unkind to you. Maybe a family member, maybe a friend, maybe a husband after a hard day. Instead of wasting your energy on getting angry, know in your heart that you are doing the right thing for your children.
It helps to be ready with a specific answer to offensive comments ahead of time. You're much less likely to say something you regret as a response that way. My own fall back phrase? “I know that what I'm doing is necessary. I'm happy to be able to provide for my own family in my own home.”
Own Your Professional Identity
When I find my productivity slipping, it's usually because I've let my opinion of my work slip. “It's just part time,” “I don't have to work today, I'm not essential,” and “Being a Mom is my real job” are all thoughts I have when I want to be lazy.
Don't listen to these excuses! Once you start working from home, you are a paid professional. The presence of coworkers and a commute are not what make you a legitimate worker.
I recommend that you create a separate, orderly workplace in your home just for you. Wear clothes appropriate for the job you do while you work. Have goals and deadlines in mind outside of those anyone you work with may impose on you.
For example, although I work with an agency, I also do freelance writing. I have an amount of money that I've decided that I must make each day. I don't stop writing until I've written enough material to make that much money.
Work Time is Not Me Time
Of course, you need to know your own limits. You are still a mother, and mothering is a demanding job. Whatever your at home work is, even if you love it as I do, it is also a job. It's not a vacation from mothering. And mothering is not a vacation from work.
I know there are only so many hours in the day, and if you're like most mothers, there is always work to do. Nevertheless, if you don't occasionally find time for yourself, even just one half hour a day and an hour on weekends, your work will suffer. And I'm referring to both kinds of work.
You Can Do This
Millions of women work from home every day. Thinking of you right now, I wonder if you're used to a professional or creative work environment full of peers. Working from home would be a huge adjustment for you. Or maybe you're like me, and you've been used to working at home for no money. For you, this change would involve building confidence and a skill set with little professional guidance. Regardless of what situation you are in, what are your experiences? Triumphs? Horror stories? Please comment!