WAHM is an acronym for Work at Home Mom and it is a new breed of super-moms who are taking the world by storm. WAHMs are proving to be formidable forces and they are actively contributing to the household income and at the same time they are carrying out the roles that their grandmothers once filled and that is giving their kids full-time, round-the-clock care! As enchanting as the life of a WAHM sounds, the life of the suburban WAHM is not always an easy task and in fact the life of these evolved moms is demanding, challenging and if the right balance is not found, this new generation of moms may suffer from burnout.
In order to appreciate the challenges of a WAHM, it is important to understand what a day in the life of a work at home mom is made up of. To be a home-worker, one must offer a service that is provided from home, and this could be copywriting, editing, proofreading, writing, baking, etc. This means that for most of the day the WAHM has to stay at home and work. In between fitting in her own business activities and earning an income, the WAHM is then expected to provide full-time childcare and this includes shuttling kids to and from school, extramural activities, etc. Most WAHMs try to do without household help in a bid to cut back on costs and this means in addition to growing her own -home’ business and providing 24-hour childcare, the WAHM becomes the head chef, bottle-washer, nurse, maid, referee, shopper, etc. All in a day’s work.
For all WAHMs out there, here are a few tips on how to remain sane, keep your business going and enjoy a happy and well-balanced life:
- Take a regular -me day! Take a morning off while the kids are at school and do something for yourself. Whether it is settling down with a good book, or going out with a friend for coffee.
- With the life of a WAHM being so isolated, it is important to interact with real people, so arrange get-togethers often. If you do not have a large group of friends, volunteer a few hours a month (or a week, depending on your available time) at a non-profit organisation. It is important to interact with others and realise that there is -intelligent life out there’. As exciting as the life of a WAHM may sound, your partner does not want to hear the same stories over and over again (life is pretty much the same for the WAHM – day in and day out). Volunteering your time will give you something different to add to your conversations.
- Learn to say NO! Friends and family members tend to think that because you are working at home, you have an abundance of free time, and they may (often) ask if you can fetch their children, run errands, etc. Help out where possible but don’t spread yourself too thin, at the end of the day you need to bring in the money and keep your business going.
- Those who offer services such as freelancer copywriters, or editors may be tempted to work right into the night or on weekends. Don’t! Try to limit yourself to no more than 8 hours a day and take off weekends. Set up a schedule and stick to it, and take coffee breaks and lunch breaks as though you are working in a regular 9 – 5 job. There may come a time when a few hours on a weekend is needed – try and keep this to a minimum. You may be home all day but how much of that time is actually quality time spent with the family?
- Many work-at-home moms may be tempted to throw on an old tracksuit each morning, run a brush through their hair – or worse work in their pyjamas until 12pm. Treat your work-at-home business as you would, a regular job. Keep yourself well groomed and keep up to date with fashion changes. It will help you to feel good about yourself.
- If you are juggling household chores, don’t let the ironing or washing drag you away from your work. Share all chores with your partner or older kids, to free up some of your time.
- Take leave. No matter what you are doing, you will eventually suffer from burnout if you do not take at least a week off every now and then. If you have the finances go away, if not, turn off your computer, and spend the time relaxing and rejuvenating. You may be a WAHM but you are not superwoman!
- Keep a radio on in the house or browse Internet websites, this will help you to stay in touch with current events. Working at home is a relatively sheltered existence and many moms become blissfully unaware of what is happening in the real world.
- If you haven’t already, join any one of the social network sites and keep in touch with old friends and work colleagues. You may even find other moms who work at home, in your area.
- Stay up to date with any changes that are being made in the workforce. You might want to or need to return to a full-time job one day.
- Most WAHMs decide to give up their careers and pursue work-at-home opportunities to be with their kids during the day. Even the most patient of moms, however, needs a break. The mom who is working at home providing full-time childcare will soon realise that being around their children all the time (no matter how much she loves them) can become a little challenging, at times. Don’t feel guilty about finding a babysitter every now and then and enjoying free time without the kids – take a day off!
If you are not already a work-at-home mom but are looking at giving it all up to become one – be careful before making this decision. It may seem to be a win-win situation but the fact is WAHMs are -special’ – and to become one you must be prepared for hours of isolation (if not, you are not earning money) and one will need to possess the ability of producing first-class work, while constantly being interrupted by children who need help with homework, who can’t find their shoes and who just can’t survive without their on-call WAHMs!