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I thought I knew everything there was to know about life as a work at home mom. And then I became one.

Boy, was I wrong.

In the past eight months, I've discovered there were lots of things I never knew or considered, even as a stay at home mom!

So, I'm sharing the top things I think everyone should know about life as a work at home mom.

A little background

I was a teacher for twelve years before I had kids, and then I stayed home for five years after my first son was born. When I returned to teaching, I knew within a few months that full-time teaching and a family with small kids was not the best fit for our family. I talk with my husband all the time about how much nicer I am when I'm not working full-time! He agrees much quicker than I would like. 😉

After one year back in the classroom, I left my job to become a work at home mom. We decided when I quit that I would build a business with the goal of replacing my teaching salary. I'm not there yet, but my business is headed in the right direction.

Things I've learned about life as a work at home mom

It's hard.

I knew that it would be tough when I switched to working at home, but what surprised me was how different it was from being a stay at home mom and being a working mom.

Being a stay at home mom is tough because you can feel like you're losing yourself so your entire purpose focuses on your kids or your husband or your home. It can be hard to remember who you are outside of those things. 

Being a working mom is difficult because you're pulled in two different directions. It's easy to develop an uneven balance between the two. And you feel like you're doing a disservice to your family or to your job or even to both! 

The work at home mom situation is different. The boundaries between family, home, and work are blurred. It's simple to develop an unhealthy balance one way or the other and feel behind and/or incompetent as a wife, mom, and business owner. 

The work at home mom situation is different. The boundaries between family, home, and work are blurred. Click To Tweet

I learned very quickly how important it was to develop boundaries when working at home!

It's lonely.

Life as a work at home mom can be very isolated. You want to focus on growing your business, but that frequently means you're by yourself. It's easy to feel guilty when you use time that you could be building your business for lunches with friends or an evening out. 

When you add on the fact that many of the people in your social circles don't really understand what you're doing, it's easy to lose those connections and struggle to develop new ones. 

The best thing that you can do for yourself and your family is to make an effort to stay connected with people in your life. Spend time away from the computer, get together with friends outside of your home, or even talk to them on the phone.

It's also very possible to find friends who get the work at home mom life. If you don't live in a place where there is a big entrepreneurial community, there are fabulous people and groups that you can find online. You can check Facebook for events or meetup.com for events near you. 

You can also find amazing groups for work at home moms on Facebook. Be sure to find a few that fit your needs!

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It's easy to get off track.

When you work at home, there are so many things that can catch your attention! There's laundry to fold (ALL THE TIME), dishes to do, and small people that want your attention. 

It's definitely important to intentional about your work time and your home and family time. There are several things I do to be more productive. Some of my favorites are:

  • Batching work - I notice that I save so much time compared to switching between tasks.
  • Using systems - I've started using Dubsado(affiliate link) as the CRM for my business. Their automation and customer organization are game-changers!
  • Meal-planning - When I spend a little time deciding what our meals will be, I'm more organized for the week and there isn't that 5:00 panic that leads to a trip to the drive-thru. 

It's easy to get burned out.

Life as a work at home mom can be exhausting! Your work is always there, your home is always there, and sometimes your kids are always there. Without clear expectations and boundaries, it can feel like you're working all the time and falling more and more behind.

When you add in the fact that it is seriously hard to start a business and can take time to get to where you feel successful, it's easy to get burned out.

There will be times that you feel like a failure. There will be times that you want to quit. 

But those are the times that you can't give up.

My rule is you can't quit on a bad day. Take a break, get a good night's sleep, and try again tomorrow.  

The best things that you can do to avoid burnout are:

It's flexible.

I don't want you to think that life as a work at home mom is awful, because it's not! I adore how flexible it is. I choose when I want to work, where I want to work, and I can wear whatever I want to work.

When my four-year-old is up at 2:30 and it takes an hour to get him back to sleep, I can take a nap during the day. You definitely can't do that as a teacher!

When it's crazy cold outside and I can't get warm, I can spend the morning in my fuzzy wookiee pajama pants. #beentheredonethat

close-up of wookiee face on pajama pants

While it takes discipline and routine to work at home, I love the flexibility it gives me to be available to my family during the day.

It's rewarding.

Another thing that I love about working at home is how rewarding it is to build a business. While every career has elements that are very rewarding (helping kids learn is amazing!), it's especially exhilarating to see tangible results from an idea that I had and work I've done. 

It's a lot like parenting - it starts with an idea, then moves to a baby business, and it starts to grow. It's amazing to think about how your business will grow and what it will become.

Whether it's completing a major project, creating a digital product, or providing a service so a business owner can focus on other aspects of his or her business, the feeling of accomplishment is the best!

Summing it up

There you go. You've got the good and the bad of life as a work at home mom! Whether you already are one or are looking to become one, it's a good idea to know what life is like.

If you skipped ahead to the end, remember the following about life as a work at home mom:

  • It's hard.
  • It's lonely.
  • It's easy to get off track.
  • It's easy to get burned out.
  • It's flexible.
  • It's rewarding.

Most importantly, remember why you're a work at home mom and celebrate the fact that you can do it!

Now it's your turn - what are the top things people should know about life as a work at home mom? Share them in the comments below. 

Until next time,

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