Pursuing your dreams when you’re a stay-at-home mom
Staying at home with your children does not mean that you need to put your dreams and aspirations on hold until they are grown up.
We talk with moms who have truly had it all — stayed at home with their kids while building a foundation for a lifelong hobby or a career.
Staying at home with your kids while pursuing your dreams may sound like the ideal mix of family and career, but it can also sound like a pipe dream, an impossible one for you to attain. Not so, say these moms who either drummed up work for themselves while staying at home, or left jobs and created at-home businesses. It takes hard work, support and dedication, but it can be done.
Working from home has many generous perks. You can work around your children’s schedules and you never have to worry about calling in sick again. Many work-at-home moms set their own schedules and can determine how much work to take on, and can constantly tailor their hours to suit their own needs. “I started my photography business when my second daughter was 4 years old,” shared Carrie, mom of two. “I only work on weekends so that I can still primarily stay home with them. With two kids with autism, it was difficult for me to get a full-time or even part-time job because they needed me so much. Working only a few hours on the weekend lets me make some income for my family which is much needed, but still be home with them most of the time.”
Freeing up finances
When you work from home, you don’t have to put your child in full-time day care, and that can really free up a lot of work-related expenses. Some moms find that when they do the math, much of what they earn while working outside the home is consumed by day care and work-related costs, such as gas and transportation. “When my husband and I evaluated our finances, we realized that without the nearly $2,000 we were paying in child care, if I could find a way to make a little bit of income, I could stay home,” Cathy, a photographer and mom of two, told us.
Moms who work from home, while having the freedom to work without the need for child care, will likely have to make concessions to make it all come together. Moms either work when their children are napping or down for the night, or work in small spurts throughout the day when their kids are occupied. As Cathy explained, “I had to be real with myself about my business goals. I can't be super successful the way I would love it to be right now. Eventually I will have the time to devote to my business to make it ideal, but what I am doing now is bringing in income and allowing me so much more time, so I feel I am not sacrificing right now.”
Heather, mom of two and cloth diaper seamstress, agreed. “My kids have a lot of days where we hang out at home because I'm working, the house usually isn't cleaned until evenings, at least once a week there is a frantic call to my husband to bring dinner home, and I can't even tell you how often I'm up at 3 a.m. packing up shipments to go out in the morning,” she explained.
The rewards, however, are immeasurable. The moms we talked to admitted that working from home is not easy, and at times it’s the best of both worlds while being the worst of both worlds, but it is priceless to be able to stay home with their kids while earning some income and doing what they love.
“I get to be here with them,” shared Liz, mom of two who bakes amazing cakes. “I'm able to have lunch at school sometimes, and go to special events. Also, it feels really great when they've watched a cake go from batter to finished and they’re proud of me. I love that they can see what Mommy does right here at the house.”
Taryn, mom of two, felt the same. “I'm working on a photography career right now so I can work better hours and be with my kids more,” she said.
Working from home is sometimes difficult and sometimes wonderful, and can be done well with good planning, support and time management. Work-from-home moms enjoy good days as well as suffer through bad ones, but not one we spoke with regretted the decision.