I have been a Work at Home Mum (or WAHM, as the trendy kids call it) for over 5 years now. In that time I’ve discovered people have some odd ideas what a WAHM gets up to. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s really like to work at home when you have kids, check out my frequently asked questions.
1. Do you work in your Pyjama’s all day?
No. A little thing called the school run gets in the way of that. I would dearly love to work in my PJs but school’s have generally deemed dropping your kids if while still in your PJs to be bad form so I’m up and dressed before 8.30, same as every other Mum.
2. Do you watch daytime TV all day?
No. Like all sensible human beings, I watch Netflix. And not all day. A portion of what I do is mindless admin and, being a lady, I can multitask. This means that when I’m sending out booking confirmations or promoting stuff of social media I can enjoy a bit of Criminal Minds at the same time. Other WAHM’s may not be so lucky, it all depends on what you do.
3. As a WAHM, how do you work around your children?
I don’t. I work when they aren’t around. Now that they are in school, that means I work from 9am – 3pm. Before they started school, that meant I worked in nap times, when they were in bed and when I could convince someone else to have them. Being a WAHM is really bloody hard when they are small. Working “around” them is a myth.
4. WAHMs are always free for coffee, right?
Wrong. Most WAHMs have deadlines. They also don’t get paid if they don’t get the work done. They would probably dearly love to have coffee with you and would hugely prefer it to getting their work done, but they have bills to pay.
5. Since you’re at home all day, your house must be really clean
It’s not. My husband really wishes this one was true. Housework is the bottom of my priority list. This is because, unlike the other things demanding my time, it isn’t going to pay me or cry if I don’t do what it wants. Some WAHMs find housework a distraction. I do not.
6. It’s not a problem for you if one of your children is off sick, is it?
It’s a massive problem. While we don’t have to explain our absence to a boss or have colleagues thinking we’re skiving we do still have to get our work done. This isn’t so bad if the child is actually ill and just wants to sleep or stare blankly at the TV. In those cases we’ll probably just about keep on top of things. The problem comes when the child has been sick, and is now feeling fine but can’t go back to school for 48 hours. It’s these occasions we dread because they will be bouncing off the walls with boredom and there’s no hope we’ll get anything done.
7. The school holidays must be great aren’t they?
They are. But they are also the only time I need to arrange childcare as I cannot take 6 weeks off. This means they are expensive plus I get the Mum Guilt because, while boy Child loves a day camp, Girl Child is less keen.
I love being a WAHM and I feel incredibly lucky to have found a way to work from home. I imagine the same goes for most WAHMs, but don’t think it’s an easy life. It involves plenty of juggling, help from other people and tons of self discipline. If you’d like,to know how I became a WAHM you can check out my story. If you’d like to read about the life’s of lots of different WAHMs, check out Business for Mums.