Dear Crissy

A question for WAHM’s: Are you getting any work Done?

Since, having my son last year, I have referred to myself no less than a thousand times as a WAHM (work at home mom, on the off-chance someone reading is not familiar with this acronym.) I am a mom, and do most of my work as a photographer and writer from home. What I am finding, however, is that my life as a WAHM means I spend my entire day in the Mommy role, caring for my 1-year-old. During moments of downtime, I struggle to do a little housework, and maybe make dinner. Finally, I wrap up the first part of my day with a shower, and only after everyone else is tucked snugly in bed can I sit down, open my laptop, and begin my workday.

Of course, now that Evan is walking, there are very few moments during the day that I can try to sneak some work in. It was different when I could place him on a blanket in the middle of the living room, surround him with some of his favorite toys, and enjoy maybe ten minutes of distracted work. Sitting criss-cross-applesauce on the floor, hunched over a laptop, while constantly glancing up to make sure your little nugget is not trying to eat carpet lint is not the ideal work situation either.

I am starting to wonder if trying to maintain a career in any capacity while raising a toddler is feasible for me. I say for me, because there are obviously women out there making it work, while I feel like I am in need of a serious nap most of the time. I am quite sure that moms who work outside the home have their own unique blend of stress and fatigue, and believe me, I do realize how fortunate I am to be able to stay home with my baby. It is truly a wonderful gift that I would not change for anything.

My mom does babysit a few hours a week, and I’m not sure what I would do without that precious time!

For those of you working from home, do you end up staying up all night trying to get a little work done? How do you find a balance between being present for your family and meeting your professional deadlines? I would love to hear your thoughts, tips, advice and even frustration.

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  1. Ms. Ranty Pants — September 14, 2010 @ 6:15 pm (#)

    Hi Crissy, I work from home too (I am a VP of a software company, a photographer, and a writer/blogger) and am a mom of a 17 month old. Fortunately, I have a nanny 2 days a week and my own mother the other 3. There is NO WAY that I could work full-time and care for my daughter. Even when she was a baby she was the kind of kid that required constant attention. NEVER was there a time I could put her on a blanket and do my own thing. She's just not that kind of kid. So, like you, while I see some moms are able to do it all, it's not something I could even contemplate with my daughter's temperament OR the focus required for me to do my job(s) effectively. However, I AM fortunate enough to spend my lunch hour and occasional breaks downstairs with my daughter and I wouldn't give that up for the world right now.


    • kathleen — September 22nd, 2010 @ 2:13 am

      I was not sure how to reply to you….new at this and I just wanted to say I have so many friends that i wish i could take over and let them have free time for what ever is needed.Mine is 27 and is great with other children as myself and I find I wish that i could just have you help me with computer questions and i can have a ball with your little one…is it one or two. Its hard and then school ,homework,meals,family fun,and in between your own business or a affiliate.How do ya do it,strenghth,love of the time spent with your child,and you wouldnt give it up for the world.I see that now that my son is older,miss it and the one man i wanted to have my second child and marry passed away.that was a hard one but we some how get thru it. Away ;; seem blessed I really wish all men can help and be with you to help when you need it.That itself is a huge asset in trying to run a business,parties,online presentations and so much more.Even a 10minute MAKEUP TIME IS NICEto sit and relax,WellIm in NY if you ever need help…otherwise keep up the great work.9/22

  2. JaclynRubly — September 14, 2010 @ 6:15 pm (#)

    I have four kids all currently under four. (I guess you can say that I was busy!). Yeah, it's a huge struggle right now. I'm doing freelance web design, freelance photography and anything else I can do right now to keep my family afloat. I completely understand how hard it is to balance being a mom and working from home. It's a huge struggle. Preschool may also be out of the question as I know it's super expensive.

    I used to work for a daycare center that was started by my mother in law and she had a client that worked from her own home. Once her daughter was about 18 months she put her in the daycare because she was having a hard time watching her while trying to work.


  3. Manda — September 14, 2010 @ 6:19 pm (#)

    My little gal is only 7 months old…I work when she naps, after she goes to sleep (which is pretty early), and I do some extra on the weekend when I have my husband helping out 24/7. I can't imagine doing it 40 hours a week, but part time, it works for me (for now!) It's still stressful, and I feel like I miss out on quality time with my husband too…but I tell myself this is just a season, and it's a blessing to wake up to my baby girl every morning!


  4. Christy — September 14, 2010 @ 7:06 pm (#)

    Ha! I work from home but there is absolutely NO way I could get anything done if my son was home with me during the day. I am lucky enough to have a wonderful sister-in-law who watches him part of the week and my mom does the other part. I just don't think it's feasible to expect a VERY active 8-month old to basically fend for himself while I try and get my full-time job accomplished. Plus, where's the socialization going to come from? It's great in theory but hard in practice to be a WAHM!


  5. Metro DC Mom — September 14, 2010 @ 9:17 pm (#)

    I work very part-time and my kids are older, but yeah, it's hard. I still find myself sitting down to work after the kids are in bed, which often means not until close to 10. On the bright side, now that they are older, during the school year I'm a lot more productive.


  6. Jennifer — September 14, 2010 @ 9:19 pm (#)

    It's sooo hard to get anything done during the day with the kiddos around, I'm glad nothing I need to get done life and death or you, know it would be the death part! lol


  7. @take2mommy — September 14, 2010 @ 11:08 pm (#)

    I'm a WAHM and, like you, I do most of my work at night when the kids are asleep. But they are older (4 and 6) and the older they get, the longer they can entertain themselves safely, without me hovering. So now I can get an hour or two of work in during the day. But not if they were only a year old! It will get easier for you as your child gets older. It's great that your mother helps a bit but can you get more help like that? Also, Baby Einstein videos make good babysitters for toddlers! Good luck.


  8. @karenlisa — September 15, 2010 @ 1:12 am (#)

    As you know, Zachary is in preschool, and I still have sto stay up until 2am to get all of my work done. Being a WAHM is VERY tough!


  9. lindsey — September 15, 2010 @ 12:22 pm (#)

    Oy. I work from home as a marketing & pr manager for a company across the country (we used to live in NY, now AZ) and have a 20mo. Even though we’re able to juggle our schedules and bring a sitter in a few hours a week, just knowing Otto is right in the next room is a huge distraction when I’m “at work”. I had to train myself not to rush out every time I heard him cry or laugh or heard a thump or a pipsqueeky voice saying “mama” ! I don’t know how any WAHM who doesn’t have help can possibly do it without staying up til 3am! But like you and some of the commentors I also deeply appreciate my situation. Especially when O was a “baby” baby it was ideal.


  10. meagangracie — September 15, 2010 @ 12:53 pm (#)

    This kind of scares me. I'm due in Nov, and starting in Feb the plan is that I'll be a WAHM at least part time (with the rest of my time in an office). So far the plan is for us to have a nanny while I'm in the office, but not necessarily while I'm at home. The thing is that my job requires 40 hrs/week, so I'm dreading the idea of working late into the night to make up the rest of my time!


  11. DawnSpeese — September 15, 2010 @ 1:15 pm (#)

    The only thing that saved me when Hanna was little was the Mother's Day Out program two days a week. I would cram 6 hours of work into that two to three hour time frame. That and existing on very little sleep. Now that the kids are older and in school you would think it would be so much easier (and it is during the day), but now I work full time and the kids are only in school and gone for 6 of those hours. That means I have to work in the other two hours a day while they are here or sleeping, plus there is our franchise business that we own and my writing/blogging. I usually feel like I am several steps behind and find myself envying my husband who only has about 1 hour of work to do after he comes home, where I am still left with several. I don't have the answers, but somehow have managed to make it work for the past 8 years. I'm sure this doesn't make you feel any better :)


  12. Emily — September 15, 2010 @ 2:12 pm (#)

    I currently work outside the home and I'm still up late just taking care of all the household chores. I can't imagine having to give up my down time with my husband to work into the wee hours of the night if I do decide to become a WAHM down the road when I have more children.


  13. Martha Payne — September 15, 2010 @ 3:14 pm (#)

    Hey Crissy…I am in the exact same boat. I have an 18 month old and am pregnant again, due Jan 4. Every day begins with good intentions to get things done…around the house, on my blog, etc. It seems like every day, NOTHING is done other than caring for my son until he goes to bed for the night. By that time, though, I am usually exhausted and sleeping is the only thing on my mind. I figure, I can work (hopefully) the rest of my life…I only have one chance to raise my son. So, I try to not let it stress me out, & just focus on the most important job–being a good mommy. I don't have the luxury of having a babysitter at all…I'm envious of those that do, but I wouldn't trust just anyone watching my son. I'm way behind on everything, but at least I know my son is getting the proper care that he deserves. Lately, I've been having a bit of insomnia that has been keeping up working until the wee hours of the morning…so, that has helped some. Good luck! I really love your blog!


  14. Anastasia B — September 15, 2010 @ 9:57 pm (#)

    I completely understand you, I'm in the same boat. I have a 19 month daughter who just wants my attention all day non-stop. She loves to play with kids, but when I am the only other person around, I'm her play buddy. So I think it will get worse for you as he gets older and then it will get better! I'm looking forward to when she can play for at least half an hour on her own! :) I work 10-15 hours part time online, and then I have my blog to keep up with. On a good day I manage to do laundry, make 3 meals, and make homemade bread or cookies. But that's on a GOOD day, and most of them don't go so smoothly lately. Thankfully I have my mom once a week for 3 hours or so, and my husband occasionally helps out – but that's rare. I work when she naps and after she goes to bed, and it does leave me exhausted!


  15. marymert — September 15, 2010 @ 11:20 pm (#)

    I'm not a WAHM, right now I am a part time employee taking time off to be a SAHM. When I had my first child 9 yrs ago I worked full time nights for 6 months until we decided to move from the SF bay area to my hubs' home town in Iowa… so I could be a full time SAHM instead of staying up all night then crashing while she was sleeping. From then on I was a SAHM until #2 came and turned 3. So 61/2 years of being a SAHM and still to this day I say I don't know how moms and WAHMs do it. I honestly can't wrap my head around it. I once had a thriving blog that earned small amounts every few months with ads and reviews, but that went to the way side when I started working and that was only PT. So kudos to you! Even though you are struggling, you're making it work where I working only part time could not. Keep up the good work, yuo should feel very accomplished (and exhausted I'm sure!) :)


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