I’ve been a stay-at-home mom and loving it since my oldest was born in 2008. Now, I’m a WAHM. I’d like to share my story, and share some lessons I’ve learned in the hopes that they will help you in your WAHM journey!
*This post contains affiliate links. The income from affiliate links helps keep this blog running, and helps my family out with income a little too, at no extra cost to you!*
I met my husband when I was 16 and he was 17. We dated and got married at the ages of 18 and 19, respectively, and moved to London near his family. I gave birth to our first son two weeks before our first anniversary. And since then, I have truly ENJOYED homemaking and mothering full time. I love being with my babies, I love keeping my home running well with systems, and I love being able to bake and cook meals for friends who had babies and read and play and take my kids to the park.
Every once in a while, however, I would wonder if I would ever do something else. Not in a terribly longing way, just in a curious, “what-if” kind of way.
I was a SAHM and proud of it.
But, as does happen in life, our boys grew older, and our expenses have grown along with them. After our 4th baby boy was born, I felt that I needed to contribute something to the family finances.
Of course, it took time. E was a difficult baby. He was super clingy, and would actually burst into tears when he saw the back of me because he knew that meant that I was possibly moving away from him.
But then my baby grew a little older.
And some family members tentatively suggested that perhaps being out of the house for a few hours a day might actually be good for him. I resisted. How could I possibly send my baby out at such a young age? 10 months old was just a little baby! (Yes, I know. There are babies in daycare from the age of 2 months. But not my babies…until now.)
Sending your baby to daycare for the first time is tough.
First, there was a disastrous attempt at a daycare with which he was NOT on board (I stayed a few minutes and left him there for a couple of hours, and he cried the entire time inconsolably, despite the fact that the sitter was incredibly sweet). I searched my town and found a small Montessori daycare run by a wonderful, relaxed woman in her home.
This time I determined that it would be a gradual, gentle approach to being in daycare. I actually stayed with E for a couple of hours every day for a few weeks and then brought him home, just so he’d get used to it and feel like he was in a safe environment. After 3 weeks she gently suggested that maybe he might be okay just staying without me.
Turned out he was perfectly fine. I was the one who was having the issue letting go, apparently!
And he is happy there. Downright thrilled to go every day.
Lesson Learned 1: Sometimes, initially spending more time saves you time and aggravation in the long run. I fully believe that his daycare experience is so good because he felt safe there when I finally did leave him.
Now with one hesitation out of the way, I had a few more:
I had never gone to college. I had studied and tried making a business out of photography, but that was the extent of my learned marketable skills. The photography business didn’t really take off–I’m a perfectionist, and at the time having 2-3 small children, I didn’t have the time to practice as much as I would have liked. Which meant my photos weren’t entirely perfect. And I was terrible at self-promotion. I wasn’t business minded.
These were all my EXCUSES as to why I couldn’t be a WAHM.
But on the other hand, I did want to do something tangible. Something that wouldn’t get undone 5 minutes later, like most of what I did as a homemaker. Did the laundry? Oh look, the hamper is full again. Made a kid happy? Oh hey, he’s having a tantrum!
So here is a list of the WAHM jobs I have tried:
Photography. As mentioned above, for various reasons, it just didn’t work out.
Cake decorating. This is something I do enjoy, but I mostly do it for people in my family. Every once in a while, I make a cake for a friend for pay. But this is just for bits of side cash, I don’t make much money on it. To be honest, I’m good at it for an amateur, but nowhere near the level of incredible talent some cake decorators have in my town! So I’m happy with my little side hustle, and so are my friends.
Gifts and gift baskets. I actually spontaneously launched this business before Purim, our big gift-giving holiday. I made my investment back plus still have a lot of inventory in the form of beautiful dishes, but I’ve decided to keep that as a seasonal thing, e.g. before holidays and for the end of year teachers’ gifts. It was quite intense at the time, but I did enjoy it, so I’m keeping it as a side job too.
Transcription. I tried it, didn’t enjoy it, and couldn’t imagine spending hours doing it.
But all these things just didn’t seem to be the right fit to turn into my primary source of income.
2. There are SO many ways to make money from home.
And you might be able to do many of them! But it doesn’t mean you should. Not every job is the right fit for your personality, season of life, and family situation.
3. Definitely, brainstorm your skills and talents.
But sometimes you might have skills or talents you NEVER EVER thought you might have. Which leads me to…
4. …Sometimes the only thing to do is to just jump into the deep end.
I didn’t know if I could make gift baskets and hostess gifts. But I asked for as much advice as possible, researched a little, and JUST DID IT. And you know what? I was actually good at it! And I really enjoyed the creative aspect. Believe in yourself!
5. Don’t make excuses!
If you are, it means you might not want it enough. And then you’ll have to evaluate why you don’t, and what will be able to motivate you.
So I began to explore the possibility of blogging.
With help from Suzi at Start a Mom Blog’s Blog by Number course, and Abby Lawson’s Building a Framework, I managed to start this blog, although I’m enjoying just creating content for now and building up a following. I always loved writing in high school, so getting back into it has felt really good. And as a typical firstborn, I REALLY enjoy helping people and giving advice. Usually, the information is even solicited. And my friends have been asking me for homemaking advice for years, so I figured, why not turn my experience into a blog?
And, as seems to be the norm in my life, when things get busy–they get super busy. At the same time as I was researching and learning and starting An Organized Mommy, I connected with Menucha Citron of Moms and Crafters via the Profitable Blogging Summit. I messaged her to tell her how much I enjoyed her talk about sponsored posts on the PBS. One thing led to another, and now we are collaborating, along with another friend, on a new blog that we are launching mid-summer.
Lesson Learned 6: Reach out to successful people in your field! You can make amazing new friends, and you never know when a fantastic opportunity might come along. This also takes bravery, but it is so worth it.
Blogging, however, is not paying the bills, at least for now. So I started looking into freelance writing. I learned a lot from the Writing Moms Conference by Abbi Perets at Successful Freelance Mom, and I found a job opportunity on a Facebook freelance writing group. It involves writing and editing for 10-15 hours a week, which fits pretty well into my life at this point, and besides for that, the writing topics stretch my creative skills, and I can use the experience (and the paycheck of course). The catch is that it is on a starter salary, so I do want to break into more freelance writing once my working life is better established and I’ve worked out my blogging and writing schedule.
As a follow-on from freelance writing, I also realized that I have a lot of VA-like skills I didn’t realize I could actually use, and so I’ve decided to officially brand myself as a freelance VA/writer/editor.
Lesson Learned 7: Sometimes you just have to pay the bills. Sometimes you’ll do jobs you didn’t envision you could ever do. And then you’ll find out that you can. Stretch yourself a little and see what happens!
I was introduced to Sagan Morrow’s fabulous e-book, The Business of Writing and Editing, through the Ultimate Work-At-Home Bundle, and am now taking her Set Yourself Up for Freelancing Success course to–well, set myself up for success. It’s a 7-week course and will hopefully give me a better idea of my business direction. I’ve already gained so much from it, and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to start a freelance business in any niche.
I will be posting a WAHM resources page with–well, resources that I’ve found to be extremely helpful as I step into this new, scary, and exciting world of working from home.
- Initial investments (of time or money) can pay off in big ways.
- There are an infinite number of ways to make money from home. You just have to find YOUR way.
- You might have skills and talents you never knew you had.
- Sometimes the only thing to do is take the leap into the deep end.
- Don’t make excuses.
- Reach out.
- Sometimes you’ll do things you never thought you could do when you have enough incentive.
What are your hesitations and fears when it comes to working from home? Please let me know in the comments below!