Last Updated April 29th, 2008

Work at Home Moms: Is It Time to Consider Working Outside the Home?

Sometimes working at home doesn’t always go as you plan. Something happens and the money your family needs just isn’t coming in fast enough. How do you decide when it’s time to look at an outside the home job?

money trouble working at home

This is a painful decision for any at home parent. You generally want to be at home. Working outside it probably doesn’t appeal to you the way the work you do at home does. But when your family needs the money it’s an option you need to consider.

Perhaps one of the biggest causes for this can be the layoff of your spouse. There’s some of that going around right now. I should know; my husband was laid off earlier this year, and the financial hit was huge to our family, even with unemployment. After all, there’s the COBRA coverage for our health insurance to consider.

It can be a challenge making this kind of decision, but there are some ways to do it. One is to look at finding a job in the evening, so that you can always be sure that one parent is at home with the kids still. It makes quite the mess of your time together, but when money is tight you do have to look at the sacrifices necessary to keep your family going.

The other option, if your children are in school, is to work outside the home during school hours. This gives you a bit more time with your spouse, which is a nice benefit.

The trouble with these options that is that you will probably have to sacrifice a big piece of your at home work time. As a rule I do not recommend giving up entirely on working from home. Taking on an outside the home job may slow your progress at home, but giving up stops it.

Never give up if you think you can do it. Find a way to make it work.

There are options to working outside the home, of course. You can expand what you do to earn money from home. Take on more clients. Start freelancing if you aren’t already. Look at a new work at home job. Figure out ways to expand your current business.

None of that is easy, of course. There’s a lot you have to do in order to succeed. Work at home jobs take time to find. Clients may be hard to find. You may not have the time in your schedule to expand your efforts.

But if it comes down to it, work outside the home. That your family has a place to live and enough to eat should always be your first priority, not your pride in being able to be there for your family by working at home. You can come back to it when things get better.

Do not forget to take the expenses of working outside the home into consideration. How’s your work wardrobe? How far do you want to drive? Will you need daycare?

The early days can set your finances back a little, but so long as working outside the home is a sufficient net benefit you can do it.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated April 15th, 2008

Who's Winning the Mom Wars?

“Mom Wars.” You have no idea how much I hate that term. It sounds like we moms have nothing better to do than to fight about who’s doing it right, stay at home or work outside the home moms.

mom kiss

I’ve never felt one was inherently superior to the other. There are advantages to each, and what’s right for your family may not be right for mine. But a lot of people forget that.

I’d like to discuss my own reasons for being a stay at home mom first.

1. I get to be with my kids.

For just about any stay at home mom, this one comes first. It’s fun to be there for everything, even if it gets exhausting at times. I have a son who loves to cling to me and a daughter who is quite independent. Both can drive me nuts and drain me some days, but I get to see it all.

2. I’m able to work from home.

This is an advantage that today’s stay at home moms have over their predecessors. It’s much, much easier to bring in an income from home than it used to be. You aren’t all but limited to daycare or direct sales anymore. Some work regular jobs, but telecommute. Others run online businesses. Others choose more traditional routes to earn money.

The balance is tough, but doable for me. Doesn’t work for everyone, though, and I know it.

So why would a mom choose to work outside the home?

1. The family needs the money.

We can argue all we want about what “needs the money” really means, and never do anything more than judge one another. I’m not going to go there because “needs” is something that can be very personally defined.

2. Mom loves her career.

Why would you leave a career you love? If you aren’t the kind of mom who would enjoy being with her kids all the time, a career provides a sense of balance in your life. Women today generally aren’t raised to expect to be at home all the time. We are raised with the expectation that we can do what we want with our lives and fulfill our own dreams.

Despite the many guilt trips others lay upon us.

And that’s the catch. No matter which road we choose, someone wants to judge us. Stay at home moms are called lazy. If they work from home it’s hard to be taken seriously (although things in that area are slowly improving for many!).

Moms who work outside the home are scolded for allowing someone else to raise their kids. They may be disadvantaged in their careers by the demands of motherhood.

It’s much better to admit that most of us are just trying to do the best we can with what we’ve got. Each decision means a sacrifice of something else, whether it be a change or delay in your career, a decrease in the family’s income or something else.

Sure, it’s sometimes hard to talk to a mom who made a different choice. Your lives can be very different. But odds are you both made the decisions you felt were the right ones. Argue about who’s the better mom and you’re just making life harder for each other.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated October 5th, 2007

What’s Really Important to You?

Being a stay at home or work at home parent means sacrifice for most people. It is often a statement that you value your family above money or your career. Not always, but often.

But even in your day to day life you need to think about what is most important to you. If your children are in a lot of activities that interfere with family time, is that the right use of your priorities? Of your children’s priorities? Is it right for the family?

Sometimes the right answer is not easily seen. If your kids love their activities, for example, you might not want to make them give those activities up, even though they result in such a loss of family time. On the other hand, taking a break might be the right thing to do.

Similarly, you have to balance working at home with working on housework. How important is a clean home to you in comparison to having a successful work at home business?

My own balance can be a bit off at times. If I let housework slide a little too far because I’m feeling inspired in relation to my business, there will quickly come a time where I will have to work much harder on housework than I would have if I had simply kept up.

And of course there is no substitute for time with the kids.

One of the key things I try to do (don’t always succeed, but try), is to minimize how often I deal with a particular item. Mail, both electronic and paper, needs to be sorted and disposed of quickly. The majority may go in the trash, but the rest really should be read immediately, and a decision made. The fewer times I have to interact with a given item, the better.

Keeping your life organized and focusing on what really matters to you is a great help when it comes to perspective. You will know what matters the most to you and what you really don’t care all that much about.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated September 18th, 2007

Do You Forget Family Time?

Working at home has always been a major time commitment for me, and I’ll readily admit that sometimes I struggle with balancing it with family time. How do you make sure you have enough of it?

A part of it comes from planning. If you don’t have a schedule it can be very easy to overdo, to feel that you have to keep working, even when your family needs you.

Your day to day routine can help you keep in touch with your family. You should always be taking time to be there with your family.

It can start with dinner. Eat together regularly. Daily is ideal, with the television off. Prepare dinner together. I got my kids started in the kitchen very young. They don’t have to be very old to tear lettuce, after all, and how they help changes as they grow.

That’s one of the important things to remember about family time, in my opinion. It is not just about having fun. It’s about living together and helping each other.

But I do try to get out with my family. We try to have family outings regularly. Our ideal is once a week, but other parts of life often get in the way of that.

A simple thing to do is pick a place and go hiking. It’s free and good for all of you.

Of course, at times you do have to cope with your work getting out of hand. Business picks up and you really need to work extra hours. Getting enough family time is tough.

In part you will need to decide how much work you should be taking on. Sometimes you have to just deal with it, but other times it’s a matter of knowing how to say no.

If it’s getting really tough, it may be time to consider a little childcare help. That may not be the reason you work at home, but it can be of great assistance at those times when you just really need to get things done without interruption.

If you’re one of the lucky ones, you’ll have family or friends who can help much of the time. In my case, that would be my inlaws. Retired, local grandparents are really amazing.

Other times you’ll have to pay for help. If that’s what it takes, you may have to be resigned to it.

Once you’re done with the busy times, make sure you commit to some good family time again. You do not want overwork to become a habit.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated May 6th, 2007

Are You Overcomplicating Your Home Business Schedule?

Great time management skills are vital to running a successful home business. If you aren’t paying attention to how you use your time, you are probably wasting a lot of it.

But if you overdo it you can make things worse.

There are some basic things you should do to manage your time well when working on your home business. You should have a time to check your email, then leave it alone as much as possible. You should know how much time you can spend on forums and blogs. You should know how much time you need in order to get everything that you need to get done, done.

But sometimes you can overdo it. When you forget that flexibility is one of the key benefits of running your own business it is very easy to do this.

If you say you’ll check email from 9-10, participate in forums from 10-11 and so forth, you’re probably overdoing the schedule. You may not need all that time for each activity every day, and if you find scheduling that carefully hampers your ability to change tasks when you finish early, it’s probably a problem. Read the rest of this entry »

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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