14 November 2011

on being a WAHM

Before I got pregnant with Bennett, I was working full time as a vendor at Microsoft and was working part time building my own business, Mandy Chiappini Photography. Once we found out we were pregnant, I knew right away that I wanted to quit my "full time job". My Husband and I always talked about how wonderful it would be if I could be at home with our children, especially when they were little. So... that's what I did. I quit my job at Microsoft and spent most of Bennett's early months snuggling with him and enjoying every minute of being home with him. Once Bennett was around 3 months old, I decided to jump back into my business. I started working more and more, and I admit - it was wonderful to watch my photography business thrive and turn into a success. But with that came a lot of challenges.
Balance. How to I balance running my own business and staying at home to care for a baby? Totally new territory for me. This is when I really started to understand, and took on the title of "work at home mom".


Here are the things I love about being a WAHM. 
First and foremost, I get to spend most of my days with my little boy! Super important to me. Also, I have control over how many hours I work every week, I have flexibility with scheduling throughout the days I work, I get to stay somewhat social in my job, I have a fairly steady income, and I am my own boss. Pretty much my dream job/situation...

But here are the things that make it a challenge.
A busy toddler running around means that mama doesn't get to work during the days at all unless it's naptime. I have to work around my husbands 8-5 work schedule, which means that I mostly work in the evenings and on the weekends. Normally I don't mind that, but sometimes it can be a hard because it cuts into "family time" and activities. Not to mention, a lot of times I have to stay up late and work in order to meet my business & client expectations. Which in turn makes me really tired the next day and hard to keep up with Bennett.

{sometimes i feel like i should be multi-tasking like this. ha. not even close}

I actually work a lot more than people realize. Aside from the photography session itself, I put in hours upon hours, upon hours... editing & post-processing (which is the biggest time-sucker), consulting with clients, organizing client sessions, uploading galleries, placing orders, preparing orders for shipments & post office runs, bank runs, balancing budgets, networking, blog posts, working on marketing collateral, website maintenance, updating my portfolio... etc. That is a LOT to handle in a few short hours at the end of every night and on the weekends. And I never really get "alone" time to work. I don't leave the house and go to an office. I work at home, which means when I'm trying to talk to a client or concentrate on finishing the post-processing on a session - often times I'm battling the screams and noisy toys of my 21 month old.

So since I work at home being a Mom (and yes!!! it's a lot of work), and I work at night and on the weekends, sometimes, it can feel like I don't get much of a break. Which I'm sure is a common feeling for anyone that works and has kids. But I think what makes it a little harder is that I'm forced to work during the only times my family has to be together.

It's extremely difficult to fit in family time, time with friends, time for other hobbies, time to clean, time to organize, time for just me and my hubby, time to RELAX? It all comes back to finding that balance, and I haven't even come close to figuring it all out.

Okay that sounds like a bunch of complaining and I totally didn't mean it to come out that way. Even though it's tough sometimes to be a WAHM, I really am grateful for my job. And for the wonderful opportunity I have to do something I love & be able to stay at home with my son. I try not to take it for granted and I definitely admire those that work full time and have to be away from their babies throughout the week. You are all truly my heroes because I can't imagine having to be away from Bennett all day every day.

I hope that from this, you get a little more insight as to what some of us WAHM mom's do all day/night! :)

12 comments:

kerANDuh said...

I'm a WAHM too...and I have school and  a job outside the home but I'll be done with both of those in the next few weeks since we'll be moving...BUT- I. TOTALLY.GET.THIS!  With my husband's ever-changing schedule, we have to discuss my "work hours".  Before I had from 9pm-midnight to work. Now I have roughly 8-10pm. It's totally rough, like you said...but totally worth it to be home with my littles!!

Kiara Buechler said...

That graphic is the perfect representation for any mother I think, I love it!  I've only had a few days of experience trying to work from home, and it was an utter failure when D was awake, and when the hubby was home it was almost impossible too (he demands almost as much attention, but at least he doesn't grab paperwork and climb into my lap constantly).  I think your home office should be the first thing you set up in your new house, well, after your bedrooms of course :-)

Tara said...

I am not a mom yet, but hope to soon. I have friends who work and friends who are WAHMS and SAHMS. And wow was it an eye opener for me. I think the WAHMS and SAHMS were more stressed out about things than the working full time moms I know. They feel so much pressure for being a home maker and everyones expectations, and that it is a thankless job (in the fact that you don't get people praising you for it very often) it reall was a huge eye opener that 40 hours a week, when taking care of a child isn't very much time at all. I still would love to be a SAHM or WAHM or work part time! but at least now I have relistic expectations, and know that it isn't going to be some walk in the park. :)

Shondra Walker said...

I'm a WAHM too.  It's tough, but be prepared for it to get even tougher when #2 arrives.  My work time is probably 10% of what it used to now that I have a 26-month old and a 3.5-month old.  Hopefully you are more prepared than I was...lol.  

Katie @ Lovesoflife said...

I'm a WAHM. And holy cow. It is tough. SO TOUGH. Sometimes I feel like a bad mom b/c I feel pulled from work. Then, I feel like a bad employee because I'm pulled from work. It is a HARD balance. I spend a lot of my time working at nights, weekends--like you said, during family time. I wouldn't trade it--being home with my daughter is priceless. But it has it's challenges. I have a post in my drafts about this, too!

melissa rohr said...

when i went back to school i was sure i would be able to juggle the kids and the books seamlessly...that is what nap time is for right? it worked great at first but now i am selfish with my couple of hours in the afternoon and just nap or blog...which means my grades suffered a tiny but my happiness didn't anymore and that was worth it :)

graciepie said...

I am glad you did this post Mandy. This is a topic that Steve and I have talked a lot about and also agreed that I would leave the full time world of working when a baby comes. I always figured I would still be doing something part time from home though to help out. I can imagine it would be difficult to find the time for everything you have to get done in a day!

Nikki said...

I can barely manage with what I have...I would never make it ;)  No wonder they call it WAHM, it sort of blindsides you!! ;)

amy@agoodlife said...

i hear you on all of this!  i don't think many people realize how much we try to fit into a day & how little time is left for ourselves!  

Stephanie Doyle said...

I can't even imagine working at home. I'm sure it has it's perks, but I bet at times it's more difficult than going into the office!

Jenn said...

Very nicely put! This is why I am happy to be going back to my fulltime (non photography) outside of the house job! I enjoy my "little" photography business much more than the big ol beast I have had to turn it into while laid off. I salute you for taking on working from home fulltime with a toddler!

Chelsea @The Curly Cues said...

I loved this post! I have a different situation working away from home 3 days a week, but I can totally see how difficult it must be, especially when there are no definitive lines between work work time and mom work time. You are amazing! :)