Tuesday, February 15, 2011

GIE #26: Working from Home

Staring at the computer screen above during all the 'free' time I have isn't really my idea of an ideal career. But that's what I do, for two years already. I am a stay at home mom that also works from home part time. Nap time and sleep time is my work time. Honestly, choosing to stay home was an easy decision for me. Before our daughter was even conceived, my husband and I decided that we want me to be home raising the kids and that's ultimately way more important for us than anyone's career or our family income. I know for many families it is not an easy decision, but we were able to curb our spending to the max and almost make ends meet with one income. Which left me with a newborn in my arms and the question of "What can I do to actually help those ends meet?"

So did my four years of college get me a work-at-home job? No. A Craigslist ad did. I probably could go out of my way looking for some telecommuting job in Interior Design. I'll be honest though, with this huge responsibility of a new human being, I was looking for something with a little less responsibility and dare I say something that would be more 'fun'. At that point I didn't want to design anyone's kitchen, bedroom, or bathroom. I just wanted something I can do in those short hours that the baby actually sleeps, do it and be done - without having to constantly think about work. I enjoy being a Brand Ambassador at Lunch.com, the job was waiting for me and was exactly what I needed. With my husband's salary and this part time income we're able to just barely pay the mortgage and all of our bills, which is a blessing.

First and foremost I am a stay at home mother. Working from home was just the consequence and a need that got filled later. Staying home is what is most important to me. To all the working moms out there, a handshake and a hug - I don't know how you do it. I honestly can't imagine working full time outside the home and feeding my family nutritiously, keeping a more or less clean home, and staying sane. I would not be able to do that, I am sure of it. I would have to resort to frozen dinners and take out, but the health of my family is invaluable and I wouldn't want to pay that price. Not to mention I don't feel comfortable letting another adult spend more time with my children than me, the mother. Selfish or intuitive? You decide.

I am home because I want to be the one that not only brought our kids into this world, but the one who walks along side them on a daily basis. The one to teach right and wrong. The one to be there for the first steps, the first bite of food, the first drawing, the first time on the potty, the first piano composition. Beyond that, I want to give my best to the kids, not what's left of me after an entire day at work. I don't want to live from weekend to weekend, I want weekdays to be a joy. I know what 9-5 is like, just not with kids. Even without children it wasn't easy keeping up with the house. Since we both worked full time, we understood we were both drained and we shared cooking and cleaning responsibilities. But now I am happy to adjust myself to my new family, the three of us. If I have any regrets years later, I would not want to be regretting not having spent enough time with my children.

Do you think my home is spotless because I stay home? Not even close. Since not working at all wasn't an option, any 'free' time is spent working. Hence, as you can imagine, it doesn't leave a whole lot of time for everything else. So in order to not ignore my daughter and get things done around the house, I include her in nearly everything I do. She helps me bake, clean, and do laundry - and she thoroughly enjoys it (especially when she makes a mess!). I can relate to moms that stay home and do not work at all and still have trouble keeping the house clean, with babies, toddlers, and kids, it is near impossible.

Is working from home ideal for every mom? Probably not. Though some will enjoy it like I do. I love being able to do everything in one place without having to run, drive, and constantly hurry for something. It is nice to have work revolve around your life, instead of life revolving around work. I am so thankful to my husband for making this possible and try my best to make his time at home enjoyable because I know how hard he works for us. He is a cookie addict, I make cookies shortly before he comes home so that they are fresh and ready for him. Homemade bread? Ditto. Fresh salads, yummy chicken, clean laundry (most of the time)... Would I be able to do all this if I worked full time? Certainly not. I can imagine the typical full time working family, it's past 5:30 pm and the wife is hurrying to get dinner on the table. Kids are cranky, husband is hungry, she is drained to say the least. Somehow that didn't seem worth the extra income to me. Sure I am exhausted some days too when I get a lot of things done, but having to do that every day, take a breath on the weekend, and do it all over again - that must be really tough.

I stay home, work at home, do I ever get out of the house? Sure I do! Because there is a lot more time to work with, I have plenty to spend time outdoors with my daughter and husband (he works second shift), plan play dates with other kids, visit friends and family, go to the library, and make special trips and outings. Just because I do not work it doesn't mean I am cooped up at home 24/7. I look at it sort of like homeschooling where you have the freedom to choose any friends you like, do your work anywhere you like, and learn anything you want (versus public school where you're limited to a certain group of friends the same age, stuck in one building, and forced to learn whatever is on the curriculum). Once again, is it for everyone? No. It's for those who can afford to stay home and those that like to pave their own way.

If you are considering working from home, weigh your options and look at what's really important to you. You will not have that disposable income, but what can you do without? How much do you pay for daycare and what do you have left over? Do you really need the latest cell phones with 100,000 minutes? Do you need to eat out every week? If you will be home you'll be able to provide great meals for your family at one third the price, and even know what's in your meal. There are so many ways to save money if you stay home, from your wardrobe to making your own bread.

Moreover, the benefits of being home outweigh anything you think you might miss, in my opinion. Being there for your kids during the years they need you most is priceless. Building a strong relationship with them now will pay off when they are older. All parents say "Kids grow up so fast", but apparently this saying is not taken seriously because the average number of minutes parents spend in meaningful conversation with their kids is 3.5! Yes, 3.5 minutes per week. The number of minutes an average child spends watching television per week is 1, 680. Why even wonder what's wrong with kids today? Many people have children, but few want to be parents. Your kids don't need a perfect parent, they just need you and your time.

If you haven't yet, check out numbers 1 through 25 of our Glimpse into Eco-Babyz:

3 comments:

  1. Great post! I stay-at-home too and wouldn't change it for anything.

    It's a struggle at times financially, but I find that I am no longer as materialistic as I was before our son was born and I was working full time.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What is a Brand Ambassador and where do I sign up?

    ReplyDelete
  3. To Anonymous poster without an email: The site is Lunch.com - they no longer have job openings! Sorry. You can always find something on Craigslist, time consuming as it is. That's where I found the job.

    ReplyDelete

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