Sunday, June 24, 2012

Being a Work at Home Mom {wahm}

I received a few requests asking how I make being a work at home Mom work for us, so I thought this would be a good post topic.

I will start off by saying its not easy. But I am extremely fortunate to be able to make a living and be around my baby girl everyday. I also have an amazing employer who has worked with me from the beginning to accommodate my changing needs.

For us, me working is a must. My husband is in a doctorate program to become a chiropractor so he is not bringing home an income right now. This means that I am the main breadwinner in our house for the time being and need to have a job so we can pay the mortgage and keep the lights on. 

The company I work for is remote so prior to having Molly I already worked from home. My plan was to continue my same work from home situation after she was born and my maternity leave was over. In my mind I was picturing this- me, in my office, working along with my cup of coffee and the radio on while my baby happily played with her toys on the floor causing no distraction. ha! I had another thing coming...

Before becoming pregnant I had never pictured myself being a stay at home mom. Part of my identity was my career, actually a lot of my identity was my career. I was a 20 something single (not yet married) woman with no kids and no real responsibilities. My main objective every day was work. And I really really enjoyed my career. So picturing sitting around the house, watching daytime television and turning over loads of laundry while my kid played (my unrealistic view of what a sahm did) was not my idea of a good time. 

I got a real understanding of the stay at home mom life while on maternity leave and wow, hardest job of my life! And I quickly realized my notion of simply working as I once did, just with a baby on the floor, was not going to work. I was going to have to come up with another plan. Especially since I couldn't work while bouncing on the yoga ball holding my screaming child and SSHH'ing as loud as a I could {see my colic post for a better explanation of this}. 

My husband and I sat down and started a conversation about what was going to work for us. And luckily some family members stepped up in a HUGE way. So this is my life as a work from home mom.


What I do: 
I am an Account Executive for a web development firm. I manage clients and projects on a day to day basis and oversee the ins and outs of the operations. I have been with my current company for 2 years.

My schedule:
I work full-time on a modified schedule. I am available every day but not always at my desk. Because we are a web company my work can mostly be done anywhere, including on the go. Technology is fantastic! On Mondays and Tuesdays I work at my desk all day from 9 to 5. These are my full focus days and I schedule most of my client meetings during these days. I have someone watching Molly during the day so I don't have to worry about her and I can devote all of my attention to work. On Wed-Fri I work at my desk, in the living room, from my phone at a doctors appt. etc. while taking care of Molly. On these days I make the most of nap time. I power through things with 150% during those times to make sure everything is taken care of. I have one hand in work and one hand on Molly when she is up and it gets very challenging. Especially as of late since M has gotten extremely mobile.


Sitter situation:
Near the end of maternity leave I started to panic because I realized that my vision for work from home/take care of Molly was not going to pan out. I was going to need another plan. There was no way I would be able to work without the help of someone else. This is when my Dad stepped up bigtime! Lucky for me, my Dad is semi retired and he volunteered himself to watch Molly on Mondays and Tuesdays. No big deal right--well my Dad lives 3 + hours away! He made a huge sacrifice to drive to us every week to watch Molly so I could work. This has been a lifesaver for us. It has allowed us to save money on childcare, keep Molly at home with a family member and he gets to spend time with his first grandchild. He drives to our house on Sunday evenings, watches Molly on Monday and Tuesday while I work and then drives home Tues night. Amazing!


What Molly does:
Molly has never really been on a schedule (we are sort of there now, finally) so her days look a little different from one to the next. Right now she takes two naps a day, each around one hour and fifteen minutes and eats 3 meals a day. In between that she plays. So on the days that I am taking care of her I juggle between working, feeding her, changing her diapers, putting her down for naps and keeping her entertained while I work. It is not easy. My office looks like a daycare center. Toy chaos! Some days she is more independent and will play on her own for a long time allowing me to really focus but other days she is extremely needy and wants my attention at all times. And now that she is crawling, pulling up, climbing, trying to step from one thing to the other I am unable to walk away from her for more than a minute. This makes finding time to pee, eat, get something to drink, etc very difficult. BUT I get to spend my days with my little girl by my side and that is amazing.



Evaluation of how its going:
I am tired. I don't get any downtime. My breaks from Molly are when I work at warp speed and my breaks from work are when I am fully focusing on being a Mom. My lunches are cheese sticks and a slice of turkey while making a bottle and my conversations are bababa and lalalala. Its different from what I ever imagined myself doing but I think its worth it. Believe me, there are days when I wish I was waking up and driving Molly to daycare and then going into work. Being able to separate my two roles completely sometimes sounds like heaven. But then I remember how short this time is and how much Molly enjoys being with me and her Granddad and I wouldn't trade my situation for anything.

We are just now starting to explore hiring a babysitter to come in on Wed and Thurs around Noon to 4 or 5. Because of Molly's increasing mobility I just need to be able to have some more full focus time. Our plan is to have them in our house still so I am there and available if Molly needs me.

My 20 something pseudo single (shout out to the old blog name!) self would have never, ever pictured this for myself. But life is full of new and unexpected adventures. And we are making the most of it, and trying to have as much fun as possible while doing it!



Please, please post any questions you have in the comments. I would love to hear from other work from home or stay at home moms or work away from home moms. Its all hard and there is no right way to do it. Its whatever works best for your family. 


  1. I'm also a work at home mom but I don't have a sitter. It is way hard and there are days I just want to pick being a mom or having a career. I can relate!

  2. Great post! How did you find a work from home job? Did it start that way or did it evolve into that?

  3. Diana @ frontyardfoodie6/26/2012 10:37:00 AM

    I don't know you do it! I quite my job when I had my first and have a huge respect for women who do what they have to do with work. You're amazing! I'm in awe of you being the breadwinner AND the mama.

  4. Yes, the conference calls are very tough! I try my best to schedule those on days when I have help. The napping longer days were definitely easier. But happy to be home with her!

  5. Thanks! It is definitely very hard but I have a great support system. One day I hope to drop the breadwinner role, we will see. : )

  6. You are doing such a great job; though I know you are worn out much of the time.
    As she gets older, things will change and a routine will settle in and you'll wonder yourself how you did it all!
    I'm so impressed with what a great mom you are.

  7. Wow. I'm currently entertaining the thought of having kids for the first time in my life (I'm almost 29) and you just addressed a lot of the concerns I had. I don't want to give up my career, but I also want to be there for my kids. I anticipated being able to swing doing both but now I'm not so sure without having someone to help out a bit!

    Your Dad is adorable!

  8. Please don't let my post overwhelm you! Its tough, that is the truth, but its SO worth it! I could not imagine my life without Molly in it.

    And you can always get someone to help out. Even if its not your adorable Dad. : )