Why Working at Home is Still Work

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I never intended to work after my kids were born. At least not work that someone actually paid me for! Becoming a work at home mom has been a gradual process and one I’m still figuring out.

Today, Life as MOM contributor, Prerna Malik shares some of her thoughts on working from home.

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  • “Is working from home easy? “
  • “Do you really work, work? Or is it just, you know, a pastime? “
  • “Work-at-home moms have it easy. They stay at home and still earn. “

Yeah, I’ve heard every one of these at some point or the other in my 4 year WAHM life. There is a lot of ambiguity around a work-at-home mom’s life? What do they do? Do they really work?

Here’s a peek behind the curtain at what working from home is all about:

Well, working from home is just like any other job. You need to show up and you need to deliver, else you wouldn’t really be working for very long. Working from home involves juggling menu plans with client projects, balancing play dates with meetings with prospects, budgeting for office supplies along with groceries. Working from home means you spend time growing your business while enriching your children.

When you work from home, you learn to make sacrifices just as you do when you work outside the home or when you’re a stay-at home mom. Working from home means you learn to say, “no” and let go.

When you’re a work-at-home mom, you slay piles of laundry while thrashing out a business plan. You learn to network with other moms with businesses while chatting about play dates and preschools. Working from home means you plan date nights with your spouse while scheduling appointments with clients.

When you work from home, you learn to schedule deadlines, appointments and bake sales all in the same calendar. Working from home means being woman, wife, mom, home manager and entrepreneur, all rolled into one.

Yes, working from home is still…work. A lot of it.

But I’m sure if your question to a work-at-home mom friend will, “Do you enjoy it?”; the answer will always be , “Yes!”

Eager to know how to kick start working from home and love every moment of it? Check out my latest eBook, How to be a Work-at-Home Mom: The Happily Ever After Guide to Leading the WAHM Life available for the next 48 hours for the price of $9.99 (regularly priced $17).

Do YOU have experience working at home?

Tell us in the comments how you balance work with home life.

— Prerna Malik is a mom, a wife, a writer and woman who believes in parenting with love, being postively productive, and creating a home that invites you to put your feet up and relax. Find her sharing her simple tips and easy-to-do ideas at The Mom Writes or follow her on Twitter.

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  1. I’ve been working at home for years. Its certainly a challenge in many ways, and I do find I simply can’t do it all. But I love the fact that I don’t have a commute everyday, my schedule is quite varied, and most importantly I find my work interesting. Its definitely worth the trade-offs!

  2. I worked from home for several years, and actually found it more difficult in many ways than going to an office. I was easily distracted, the baby often cried while I was on an important phone call, and I was out of the office loop. This was before the days of office email, etc., so I’m sure that has changed a good deal. The good side was that I got to attend to my own baby, and I was still able to help pay the bills. I wish the best of luck to anyone trying to make this work.

  3. I work at home 2 days a week. Our nanny (who is awesome and cheaper than daycare) works her normal hours. I lock myself in my room (but come out for kiddie breaks!). I save 2+ hours every day I don’t commute and that’s 2 more hours with my kids.

  4. I started working from home in July. 30 hours a week. I have three kids under five. It is hard! I’m so thankful to be earning some money but I end up working seven days a week, every nap time & after the kids go to bed. Next year when my oldest is in kindergarten (she goes part time three days a week right now) and my middle is in preschool two or three days, I know it will get a lot easier. But trying to keep up with all my home duties gets to me some days. My house is no where near as clean or organized as I’ve grown used to keeping it. More of our meals are quick and easy. I don’t make as much from scratch as I used to. I haven’t had time to do any of my hobbies – sewing or crafting. But I know as time goes by, a new routine, a new normal will develop. And as my kids get older this work thing will get easier 🙂

  5. Having just started a blog, I’m not really sure if I’ll ever become a true WAHM (as in make any money), but I know I’m going to be balancing a lot more. Thanks for the encouragement!

  6. I have juggled different sahm jobs for years, including daycare, renovating, and now blogging, and yes it is a huge undertaking of balancing, schedualing, juggling, and I definately have not got it right yet. I am working on it every day.

  7. The biggest surprise to me when I became a WAHM (DS was 1, he’s 2 1/2 now) was that I still needed childcare. If I try to work while DS is in my care I end up having to clean up a huge mess.

  8. I love working from home, but for me personally it is harder than having a job outside the home because of the fact that I can’t separate work from the rest of life. I just wrote about it a few days ago http://www.eco-babyz.com/2012/02/free-time-whats-that.html . Some women can do it better than me I’m sure, but I like where I am, I just need to set aside a day when I can get childcare (grandparents) so that I can devote myself to work for several hours straight.

  9. Prerna, This is a great summary of the challenges of working at home. I’ve been doing so for 8 years and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

    But key to it is as you put so well: Learn to say “no” and then let go. My house is in shambles sometimes. Sometimes I do have to bow out of family activities when crunch time hits. But overall I have more control over my life and more integration of all the parts of my life.

    You summed it up extremely well – the challenges and the rewards.

  10. I work from home 30 hours a week and agree with many of these comments. I think our house is messier because we’re home so much and I often leave chores to get a few more minutes of work in. It is a hard balance that many people do not understand. I’ve been working really hard on separating my time and only working during work time – not checking my email, etc. during kid time and I’ve been trying really hard to get one full day off a week. It’s an interesting world, but I wouldn’t trade it for a job outside the home ever!

  11. I have a very small news writing job that is easy to do from home. I schedule it around kid’s naps and bedtimes. A more demanding at home job does not interest me. I want a job (someday when my youngest is in school) that gets me out of the house.

  12. I wouldn’t change working from home for any job, but it is hard. I agree with another commenter who said it’s harder. You have to set perimeters, juggle so many things and learn to focus in little snippets of time.

    Until my husband finished school, I worked two online hourly jobs (both of which paid, but where not my favorite!) I started blogging regularly end of 2011, and have quickly realized that a “real” blog that will eventually make money requires lots of sweat (or keystroke) equity! It’s a blast though!

  13. Thanks for the input. I’m planning on returning to work in 3 weeks following the birth of my first son. I’m going to work 20ish hours from home and 20ish hours from the office, and already I’m a bit overwhelmed even at the prospect of those 20 home hours. However, I know it will be worth it to get to spend more time with my baby and to save on childcare. I realize it will likely require hours outside of a normal business day to get everything done–setting boundaries will be important but tough for me, and letting go will be the hardest thing since a sink of dirty dishes literally drives me crazy!

  14. I work FT as a medical nurse coder from home. I realized early on I couldn’t be everything I wanted. I lowered my standards somewhat. My teen and preeteen boys upped their game with the housework, and I have an incredibly supportive husband. I also have a hobby that even if I only spend 20 min a day on it, really brings me alot of joy and helps center me. Being available to my family is the number one plus for me.

  15. I became a Work at Home mom back in October when my husband and I along with our six children bought a Hotel. My husband still has his full time job and I run the hotel during the day. It’s been a total lifestyle change for all of us because we also live there. I’ve had to downsize from a four-bedroom house to a smaller apartment which is next door to the hotel. I’ve learned how to give up a lot in order for God to bless us with so much more. I’m also learning how to budget my time which is a challenge with my younger three kids being three years old and younger. I really enjoyed reading this blog post. Thanks so much!

  16. I’m in my 8th year working from home, and love it. My two biggest tips are:
    1. Get childcare. We tried trading off shifts, and it drove us batty.
    2. Have as much physical separation between the house & office as possible so you can truly leave work. When we moved to a house that had the office in the loft vs. the bedroom next to the kids, I found not working in the evenings so much easier.

  17. I work from home, and it’s not easy, especially when my work involves a lot of creative output and writing. (I do marketing writing and blogging, freelance.) I find that I struggle most with “tuning out” the distractions, and really sticking to my guns when it comes to carrying out my daily to-do list. I’ve learned, through time, to create a system that works for me; this helps me complete my work duties while still attend to the needs of my husband and son, and our home. Life as a WAHM is not easy, but it CAN be made manageable.

    Stuff that’s helped me manage my WAHM life better are:
    1. Hiring household help
    2. Working away/out-of-the house sporadically. Sometimes I just need a change of scenery to get my creativity going.
    3. Not working on weekends. Before, I’d finish projects on Saturday nights. I stopped, because it wasn’t making me as productive during the 5-day work week. Now, I make sure I limit my work output to cover only Mondays through Fridays.

    Hope my comment wasn’t as long as a blog post. Lol.