By Chrissy Bernal
Mompreneur, WAHM. We hear these phrases more and more now. In the past, women either chose to have a career or stay at home with the children. That ultimatum has changed and many women are able to choose both.
I’m blessed with having the opportunity to work from home. Yes, I’m a Mompreneur/WAHM. (Work At Home Mom) It is estimated that approximately 50% of moms work from home.
There are advantages and disadvantages.
Ability to set your own hours.
It’s a pretty good perk—being able to set your own work hours. If the kids have a program at school, you can shift your blocks of work time to another time slot. However, the bad thing is—you set your own hours. You have to be really disciplined to stick with the hours you set. It can be pretty tempting to let that load of laundry distract you, to try and catch up on your DVR or take an extended lunch hour. While on occasion, these sorts of kid-free mental breaks are necessary, it’s essential that you treat your at-home work day just as you would if you were at on off-site location.
Being able to volunteer and help others
Because you can shift your working timeslots around, it gives you the freedom to do things such as help others, volunteer at school and volunteer at church. It makes you feel good and is often more rewarding than the numeration you receive from your work. However, volunteers who work from home are sometimes seen as having more available time than their non-at-home working counterparts. Whether intentional or not, people sometimes under value the worth of your time because they don’t see you go to an office, and this can make it easy to get taken advantage of.
Easy Access to the Office
When that project is taking a little longer than expected, instead of having to spend time at an off-site office trying to complete it, you can still be near the kids while getting that project done. However, that also means that you might be working on the project with the kids around and they might not understand that you’re working.
I’ve found a few ways to help me balance the WAHM schedule and responsibilities.
Set your office hours. Each month, I look at the kids’ schedules and set my schedule for the month. Having clear office hours helps keep you in a “work” frame of mind and helps prevent you from feeling like you’re scattered all over the place.
Remember, you’re still a professional. You treat your projects in a professional manner, you deserve to treat yourself and have others treat you as a professional, as well.
Learn to say NO. You just might have to say no to a volunteer opportunity or other event you’re asked to attend. Don’t allow others to disregard the hours you set simply because your office is located at home. If it’s not an imperative event or something that wouldn’t spark you enough to ask for time off from an off-site job, don’t feel obligated to take time off from your at-home job.
Clear communication with the kids. I remind my kids that mom is blessed to be able to work from the house so that I can attend their activities, help with homework…, but that also means that sometimes I might have homework, too. So, they need to let me do my homework.
Have a clearly defined work station. You must have a defined work space. If you try to get your work done on the sofa, the floor, the game room…without having an actual space, it’ll make it hard to stay focused and stay in the work frame of mind.
Pay yourself and keep records. If you’re not working from home for a company where you get set paychecks, money tends to come in chunks. This can make it hard to stay on a budget and can even lead to stress if payment on the next project is a little ways out. A great way to keep some stability going is to pay yourself as if it were an off-site job. Figure out how much money you need to bring in to contribute to your household income. Any money you receive for payment on projects should go into your business account. Then, on the 1st and the 15th (or whatever dates you like) transfer the amount you decided on into your personal bank account. It’s just one more way to set a professional tone and keep you in a business frame of mind.
Are you a Mompreneur or WAHM? What suggestions do you have for WAHMs?