As a work at home mom, or “WAHM,” I find myself trying to juggle work obligations, keep up a home and, most importantly, care for my kids. It’s not easy, and while I’m grateful for the opportunity to be their full time caretaker, sometimes I think that going to an office would be a welcome break. An obvious solution is part time child care, but is it worth it? Keep reading to find out whether childcare is a good option for a work at home mom.
Most moms struggle in some way, whether they work outside the home, work at home or care for their children full time and forgo an income. One issue that many work at home moms face is whether we can “do it all” — give our kids our full time attention and meet our work obligations.
Many work at home moms do so because it allows them the opportunity to spend more time with their family. As a result, the idea of placing their children in child care part time or hiring a nanny might seem counterintuitive. Furthermore, paying for care can cut into income. What’s a mom to do? First, size up the benefits and drawbacks of your situation.
Benefits of working at home
Working at home has its benefits for sure. Kimberly Chastain, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and author, says that work at home moms have the best of both worlds: they work and stay at home.
Depending on your job, you likely have some freedom with scheduling. If you need to take an hour to run your daughter to her ballet class or your son to preschool, you can do that. It also means you control your time — what you do and when you do it. Maybe you do the majority of your work after your kids are in bed so that you can spend daytime hours with them.
Drawbacks of working at home
However, simply having the best of both worlds doesn’t mean it’s easy…or ideal all the time. Chastain notes, “Often, you think you can get more work done than possible.” As a result, you stay up all night working and end up feeling exhausted. Because your work is at your home, there’s never any down time.
“You check that one last email before bed, so you don’t get away from work,” Chastain says. Keeping your children entertained when you’re in the middle of something important, such as a project with a deadline or a business call, is also a challenge.
Considering outside help
The somewhat obvious solution is to either place your kids in daycare or hire part time help. However, many moms struggle with this. After all, isn’t one of the perks of working at home being able to be your children’s full time caretaker? Not necessarily. If you’re finding that completing your work is taking two or three times as long as it otherwise would if you were able to work in peace and uninterrupted quiet, consider how much more time you’d have to spend with your kids. Being pulled in several different directions can stretch a one hour project into a three hour project.
At the same time, look at your finances. Will paying for part time help cut into your earnings too much? Or would that help allow you to complete even more work? Sit down, do the math and determine how many hours per week, if any, you can afford while still making your job “worth it” financially.
And remember that sometimes, it’s doesn’t just boil down to dollars and cents. I’ve known moms who worked part time just so that they could have some time to themselves, an outlet for their brains and a feeling of productivity outside of their role as mom. Their income didn’t cover much more than their kids’ childcare, but it was worth it to them. We have to find the right solution for each of our situations that “works” for us and for our families.
If you’re a work at home mom, do you use childcare or do you juggle both work and caring for your kids? And if you have any advice for other WAHMs, please share it in the comments section below!