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Life of the Work at Home Mom

Written by Letitia Hearty

I feel like social media is bombarding me with the message that being  a work at home mom should be the ultimate goal for every mom but as our author will point out, it’s not as glamorous as it sounds and it’s not for everyone. Whether you stay at home, work at home or work outside the home, you’re all rocking it. I promise.

Most of us would laugh at a job ad that details everything a mom does for her home and children for the pay it gives us.  No one in their right mind would consider taking those hours for no pay. Yet, being a Mom is often one of the most underappreciated and underrated jobs, or at least it feels that way.

When you become a stay at home mom there is a monumental shift.  It happens in your life, your identity, and with your being. Before becoming a parent, you were able to pursue other endeavours. Perhaps while you went to college, in your spare time you crafted, or you worked with a great company. No matter what you did, it got you out of the house and allowed you financial freedom.  It contributed to your identity and sense of self-worth.  A popular way for mothers to earn an income and mitigate the changes in their lives is to work from home.  This is especially true if working outside of the home is not a current possibility.

Human Needs

There will be no sugar coating here; being a stay at home mom is hard. It is hard work wise, but it is also difficult in a way that people seem to ignore; Mom’s needs often aren’t met.  Bear with me here, if we look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I would argue that many of us struggle to meet a variety of these. Basic needs are the first stop on the pyramid, it consists of safety and security. This includes financial security.  When we move up the pyramid we come to psychological needs.  Here we find belongingness, relationships, and esteem needs such as accomplishments.   The top of the pyramid finally brings us to self-fulfilment needs like self-actualization.

This leaves many of us feeling the need to do more outside the home to realize our potential.  Humans are driven to work and contribute in our lives; we have dreams and goals that we work towards.

Many of us watch our partners leave for work where they can fulfill those needs, socialize, and earn. Being a stay at home mom can cause a rift in partners, even though it may be the best thing for your family. Finances are often the cause of arguments. A one income household comes with some pretty big challenges for average families. We live in a world that measures value in currency.

Taking constant care of the tiny humans we created often causes a loss of identity. You aren’t who you once were. Motherhood brings immediate transformation; we learn and grow, our priorities and responsibilities change. We all too often get isolated from any semblance of our pre-child lives.

Feeling the need and want to contribute financially is a big reason many moms decide to work from home.  Working from home can also help with a sense of accomplishment and sense of self.

Balancing Act

There is something to be said about that depiction of a “Super Mom” or the woman that has it all.  It does not exist in the sense that we like to perceive it. A question I see get asked a lot and have even been asked myself is, “how do you balance being Mom and your -individuality/business/work/etc.”. The simple answer to this is: you do your best. There is no true balance between everything.  Those of us who have it somewhat figured out still struggle. The demands of an entire family are more than a full-time job. Sometimes, those demands are even more severe.

I picture a woman, a woman that is totally clumsy, on a tightrope when I muse about balancing my life.   She’s got plates upon plates piled in her hands and as she walks more get added until she either falls or makes it to the end. It sounds a little gloomy but, in my mind, she makes it.  She makes it by taking one step at a time.

The most honest answer I can give you about how to balance working from home with kids is this:

It is hard, so very hard, but it is worth it. Invest in a coffee machine and remind yourself about why you are making the time to do this. Breathe. Balance may never come in the way we envision it but we do fall into patterns and routines. As moms, one of our superpowers is being able to adapt and to make things work.  Over time it will come to work for you and your family the way it needs to because you will make it work. And know that you are valuable and valued no matter what you do or don’t do for work. Being a mom is the most challenging and most rewarding job you will ever have.  And, although your tiny bosses may not say it, you deserve a raise.

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.