Working at an office has always been your jam. There’s free coffee, and those post-workday margarita Mondays make your boss’ silently scary stare totally worthwhile. But now that you’re a mama, your priorities have changed. The shift into motherhood has made you question your nine-to-five existence and wonder if office life is really for you. If you’re contemplating trading in rush-hour drives and daycare drop-offs for an at-home option, you’ll need to consider what being a work at home mom (WAHM) really means. Scroll below to learn what you need to think about before quitting your job and becoming a WAHM.
1. The Job: Quitting your full-time, out-of-the-home job typically requires a financial backup plan. You can’t exactly snap your fingers and find something to do from home (especially for the salary you’re used to). Unless your company is fine with letting you work from home or you already have something else lined up, start your search well before you quit.
2. Childcare: Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you’re on mom duty. Working at home means just that — you’re working! Unless you’re the Wonder Woman of multitasking mamas, it’s almost impossible to juggle caring for your kiddo and actually paying attention to your job. While you don’t have to send your littles to daycare all day, hiring a part-time nanny or sitter provides you with time to work without worrying about what the kids are doing.
3. Office Space: Your preschooler’s art table will not make a suitable desk for your laptop, and the bean bag chair in the playroom probably isn’t the best place to set up shop. Make sure your home has some sort of space to designate as your “office.” If not, get creative and figure out a way to turn an already-in-use room (such as the laundry room or the guest bedroom) into your work-from-home space.
4. Playdates: Now that the neighborhood mamas see you at home during the day, they’re going to knock on your door (or more likely text) and ask if your kids want to play. Built-in babysitter, right? Not so fast. The neighborhood moms aren’t inviting just your kiddo over — they want you to come too. Or maybe they’ve decided you should play catch-up and host the next few playdates. Consider how you want to deal with this type of situation. This might mean creating “playdate time” in your daily schedule, or prepping a brief, but firm, explanation as to why you can’t have extra kids running around your home.
5. Salary: Just because you won’t have daycare costs to cover doesn’t mean you’re in the clear when it comes to the financial side of being a WAHM. Yes, you’ll also save money by not having to drive to work, pay to park, or buy lunch on the go. But a stay-at-home job may not pay what you’re used to — especially if you’re doing something like writing a book or starting a blog. While some “mompreneurs” make full-time salaries by blogging, writing, or consulting, it can take years to truly see a profit.
6. Savings: Salary isn’t the only financial consideration to take into account before deciding to work from home. If your new job situation means you’re taking a pay cut or going from full-time to part-time employment, you need a nest egg to fall back on. And it shouldn’t be the egg you’re planning to use for your children’s college education or to pay off your credit cards.
7. Work Hours: It’s totally tempting to spend your days with the kids and your nights working — until reality sets in. Spending all day running races, making crafts, and chauffeuring your tot around is tiring. The last thing you’ll want to do when your little one drifts off into dreamland is start your work day. Before deciding to work at home, make sure you can choose (and stick to) reasonable work hours.
8. Social Life: Your toddler is your BFF; you absolutely adore and want to spend every waking moment with them. But sometimes you need grown-up time. Socialization with other adults is one of the biggest challenges moms have when they leave the workplace. A WAHM life can feel isolating. This potential lack of social stimulation is something that you need to give some thought to before ditching your coworkers for your kids.
9. Everyday Intrusions: Your “Hey, let’s have a playdate!” neighbor isn’t the only one who might not understand that “work” is a key part of being a work-at-home mom. From your own mom to your friends, people may start suddenly popping in, calling, or texting at all times of the day, thinking you’re just hanging out with the kids. As you make this transition, you’ll need a plan for politely handling people who don’t understand that yes, you are actually working. Just from home.
Are you ready to become a WAHM? Tell us about it @BritandCo!
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