1. My laptop’s life expectancy is that of a house fly. My computer gets lots of use. Like many other small business owners. The difference for WAHMs is that not only does it get overused, but it also gets banged on, drooled on, dropped on the floor and used as a dinner plate on occasion. I don’t know how long laptops last for everyone else, but for me it lasts, if I am lucky, through the year. At least my husband always knows what to get me for Christmas.
2. I am running out of places to hide. Yes, I hide from my children. I have four boys and they are not exactly the ‘play quietly while your mama works’ kind of kids (do those really exist?). I only hide when I have childcare in the home (or sometimes to go to the bathroom or eat a chocolate bar). However, even when I have someone in my home dedicated to play with the kids, doing her very best to keep them entertained, they still feel the need to find me. I should consider it wonderful that my kids like me best, and I do, except when I am hiding.
3. People forget you are human. Sometimes mistakes happen, or customers are unhappy. The reason this is a problem when you are a small business (okay, this one isn’t just for WAHMs) is that sometimes people forget, or don’t realize, that you are just a person. If you are annoyed with your iPhone and write to Apple about your displeasure, you may get a response written by a staff member who’s job is to reply to customers like you. Customers don’t realize that when they say harsh and unkind things to a WAHM they are insulting what you have put your blood, sweat and tears into. It can feel like much more of a personal attack and even those of us with tough skin, do hurt.
4. Family members/friends don’t recognize that you are working. We have all heard it, from a spouse, brother, parent or friend, ‘stop playing on Facebook and do XYZ’. Just because their computer is for pleasure use only, does not mean that when we are ‘sitting at the computer’ we are simply relaxing. Much of my business with Bundles and Buzz is social media based. I spend time on Facebook. Reality is, there are many days, and weeks, where I have not seen my own personal newsfeed. Just like you need to put time in at an ‘out of home’ job in order to be paid, we need to put time in our ‘in home’ job to be paid. Usually much more time.
5. We don’t have a mentor. Okay, I take that back, some of us do. We are not ‘trained’ to do our job. We learn the hard way what doesn’t work. You can’t just ask one of your co-workers what they would do, because you don’t have coworkers. I have worked hard at creating circles of other WAHMs and Blogging Mamas who help immensely, but there is no one else out there in the world that does what I do. And if there was, they wouldn’t want to help me do it successfully, because I would be their competition.
6. There are no sick days. We can’t just send our kids to daycare to have some peace and rest, because most of us don’t have any childcare. This is true for all full time mothers, however this is amplified for us mothers who are running our own business from home. When I am sick, not only do I need to care for children, but I also need to reply to emails, pack orders and source products. Yes, I can take the odd day off from this, but take more than a couple off and you will be getting messages like I mentioned in #3.
7. My kids just don’t get it. I am a WAHM so I can spend more time at home with my kids. Sometimes I think that they would understand it better when I leave the house to work, than when I ignore them, or shoo them away in order to work. ‘Mommy just needs to reply to one more email’, ‘The post office will be fun, I swear’ and ‘Please just give me one more minute’ come out of my mouth far too often. Mommy guilt is HUGE for WAHMs
8. There are no coffee breaks. These days I do a lot of my work during nap time. In order to do so, I am constantly weighing the options of making something to eat, or a cup of coffee with getting ‘stuff done’. Work is done on my ‘coffee break’ from motherhood. It is truly like having 2 full time jobs.
9. It takes a long time to get a real paycheck. Most jobs will pay you for the first time a couple weeks after you begin work. Then you will collect a regular paycheck based on the number of hours you put in. For WAHMs it can take MONTHS of hard work to see even a penny. Depending on the business, it may then take another year to pay back the financial investment of the start up costs. This can also be difficult for even the most supportive spouses. Along with that, the hourly wage STINKS. I kinda take that back. If I worked undisturbed for the hours I needed to help my business succeed, the wage might not be half bad. However if I calculated my profits divided into the hours of the day where time was spent on my business it would be an entirely different story.
10. It is impossible to separate work and home. When I take the weekend off (which I am trying my best to do these days), it is impossible to keep my mind off work all together. In my ‘out of home’ career (I am also a Registered Nurse), when I leave work it is mostly out of my mind. Being a WAHM, there are reminders everywhere you turn and your home is not your sanctuary. There will be packages arriving, work related private messages on Facebook, accounting receipts in the kitchen, and toner is on your grocery list.
It is very unlike me to write such a negative post, but don’t worry, my 10 Things I LOVE About Being a WAHM is also up!
I am interested to hear what is on your list? Please comment below with your least favourite thing about being a WAHM.