If you’re active in web forums or mommy discussion boards, you probably know that the acronym WAHM stands for “work-at-home mom.” While all moms work at home (is diaper-changing, toilet-scrubbing, dinner-cooking and fight-breaking-up child’s play?), some moms choose to make their home the place where they work for pay. As a WAHM myself, I’m often told that I have the best of both worlds… and I do! There are a few comments that I sometimes hear, though, that leads me to believe that there are a few WAHM-related myths floating around out there.
- “It must be great to be able to work and not pay for childcare!”
Unless a mom is working only (or, if the kids are older, mostly) during the hours that her partner is home, then she’s not getting out scot-free on the child-care if the kids are young. Most jobs require some semblance of concentration, and this requires relative peace and quiet, which are going to be in short supply if the kids are young! When my children were little, I would work when they were asleep or being entertained by my husband. Even now that they’re older, I get my best work done when they’re not around. The most effective WAHMs concentrate on work when they’re working, and on the kids when they’re not. If you’re considering working from home, make sure you have appropriate child care plans in place, assuming your kids are younger than school aged.
- “Wow, it must be impossible to balance everything!”
This one has the potential to be true, I assure you; it is often very difficult to balance everything… but it’s not impossible! Yes, sometimes the housework slides, and there are some weeks where I’m very busy and the kids might not get as much hands-on mom time, but for the most part, sticking to a schedule helps with this immensely. Those wanting to work from home should experiment with several different routines to see what works best.
- “My boss would never let me work from home!”
If you work for yourself, this is not an issue, of course, but if you currently work for someone else, you might be surprised by your boss’s receptivity to the idea of you working from home, at least on a part-time basis. While certain occupations would not lend themselves well to telecommuting (I’m thinking waitressing, firefighting, nursing and other professions where you must be physically present in order to work), many do. Talk to your employer about allowing you to work from home just one day per week, on a temporary basis. As long as you can keep your productivity up over several weeks, ask for another day per week to work from home. The key is to be at least as productive, and preferably more productive, at home as you are in the office. Give it a try!
I’ll be the first to admit that working from home is not for everyone. It can be difficult to achieve balance and to keep your motivation up without a boss looking over your shoulder. If it has been your dream to work from home, however, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give it a shot!
What do you think are the best and worst parts about working from home?