I became a SAHM when I was pregnant with my oldest son. I was fortunate enough that our circumstances allowed me to stay at home for 8 years. By that time, I had three children, and my oldest was diagnosed with autism. Then circumstances changed. I had to work. Daycare is expensive, and I didn't think daycare would work with my oldest. I had to get an income, and I had to stay home. I started selling an Etsy shop and sold unneeded items on eBay. I had always loved writing, and I wanted to use my degree, so I started looking for writing jobs.
Three years later, I still sell on Etsy, I still write for private clients, and I have two blogs. I love my job, but I don't love the reaction from people. Here are the things WAHMs are sick of getting asked.
Do you actually make money?
No. I have so much spare time between running a home, cooking, cleaning, laundry, raising kids, and being a Girl Scout and a Cub Scout leader that I decided to volunteer my time writing.
Yes, of course I make money. Which brings me to the next question...
How do you make money?
I'll give people the benefit of the doubt here. Most people have no idea how bloggers or writers make money. We sell ad space on our blogs. Some of us write sponsored posts. We may have affiliate links so we can earn a small commission from sales. There are many, many ways to make money from a blog. Unfortunately, none will get you rich quick.
How much money do you make?
Really? Is that ever an okay question to ask? I have a nice house, the power is on, and my kids have full bellies.
So you have the best of both worlds- you are a SAHM and you work.
Well yes and no. It is nice that I never have to line up babysitters or worry about day care costs and issues. I am very thankful for not having that expense and stress. But I also have my kids at work with me every single day. During the summer, all three kids are home. During the school year, I homeschool one child. Would most people even dream of taking their kids to work? Try working with a CD of screeching monkeys on crack paying next to your desk. That's what it is like working with kids around.
Why isn't your house clean all the time since you are at home all the time?
Do you do your dishes while you're at work? Do you vacuum your living room while you're at work? I think your boss would frown upon that. When I'm working, I'm working. I can't stop to tidy up or clean because then I would never get my work done. No work = no pay.
What do you do all day?
I drink a cup coffee and check my email and social media accounts for message. Then I write a blog post or two and promote those on social media. Then I work on client work. I eat lunch while checking my email again. I work on social media--finding people to follow, sharing other bloggers work--then I work on my Etsy shop either making new items or packing orders. The whole time I'm doing this, I'm redirecting children, refereeing fights, and giving them food.
When I think that I am finally done, a client emails or texts with questions. Most of my evening is spent on my phone with clients.
It must be nice to work from home and stay in your PJs all day.
Notice I never said anything about getting dressed in my daily plan. Right now, it's 1:30 p.m., and I am still in my PJs. Nice? No. It's not.
But your schedule is pretty open. You can take off when you want, right?
Yes, I can! But I don't get paid. If I take a day off, I have to work extra hours for 3-4 days before my day off. Then I have to spend two days catching up after that day. And while I am off, I'm still answering emails.
Yes, I can rearrange my schedule so I never miss a field trip or award ceremony, but I will end up working those hours at some point so I can get paid.
You're so lucky that you can work from home!
Luck had very, very little to do with it. I came in to this with skills and a degree. Just because I'm not using my degree in a conventional way doesn't make it any less useful. Many of the jobs I have require a B.A. at a minimum. I worked very, very hard for two years to get the clients that I have. I wish someone would have just handed me these jobs. For that matter, I wish the money would just appear in my Paypal, but I digress.
I love social media! Isn't it fun to be on it all day?
No. No, it's not. When I'm on social media, I'm looking for status updates to share, finding people to follow, and reviewing stats to see what and when I should share. All the reports and data really suck the fun out of using social media. I wish I could enjoy it, but it's overwhelming at times.
Do you work from home? What can you add?
photo via David Castillo Dominici / freedigitalphotos.net