I need to come clean about something. I consider myself to be a WAHM who is primarily rational. My life as a stay-at-home mum is a long cry from what I imagine it would be like if I had everything under control.
I have a strong belief that many other women around the world are in the same situation as I am, clinging to our sanity while balancing the demands of family, daily work responsibilities, basketball practice, ballet recitals, PTA meetings, and the plethora of other responsibilities that fall on our shoulders.
If you’ve been a stay-at-home mother for longer than a few seconds, you’re already familiar with the struggle that we go through. It is a struggle for us to find time to spend with our children since, as a result of what takes place, we wind up with no set schedule or boundaries for our work hours. Because we wanted to be able to spend more time with our children, we decided to pursue careers that allowed us to work from home. In principle, this works out perfectly fine.
Finding a happy medium between one’s responsibilities at work and at home may be difficult for anybody, but it can be extremely challenging when one’s employment is also their home. You burst out laughing when other people say, “Being able to work from home and spend the entire day with your children must be wonderful.” Oh, if things could just be that simple! You start laughing so hard that you start rolling on the floor.
I used to have a job requiring me to work at an office outside the house. I fondly recall those days. I lived my life in two distinct and separate spheres at the same time. The office provided a calm and private environment where I could carry out my duties, concentrate on the tasks at hand, and make significant progress. And then there was home, which was a place where I could focus on having fun with my children while also giving them my undivided attention. I was expected to be at work during certain hours and set aside time for my family.
Now I have what I like to call the “hom-ffice,” a strange amalgamation of the words “house” and “office.” It is difficult to determine where one compartment begins, and the other one ends. My office is now a continuation of the living space in my home. My house is gradually morphing into an additional working space for me. Due to the nature of this predicament, I find that I have the attention span of a gnat. The following is a description of how I spend my day at work.
When I first get up in the morning, the first thing I do after getting a cup of coffee is sitting in front of the computer to check my email. Fifty additional messages have been received. No problem. As I prepare to attack the first one, I ensure I have everything I need.
“Dear Nicole, I was wondering if you might be interested in”… “liquid in a sippy cup, lovely please, my pretty mother?” Whoa!! All right, time to make a mental shift! I’ve just turned around to look at my little girl, who has just wriggled her way out of bed. She has large brown eyes, sweaty, crazily curly hair, and a huge grin; together, these characteristics create the perfect portrait of childhood. I give this angel with rosy cheeks a tight hug and then proceed to the kitchen to get some juice. Afterward, I attempt to go through my email before returning to my seat.
“Dear Nicole, I was wondering if you could be interested in my new affiliate scheme selling the new Lego robot I developed!” Switching gears once more in the brain. I turn around in my office chair to find my youngster proudly holding up his Lego creation. His blue eyes twinkle, and his face is beaming with pride. I give his blond head a light rub and compliment him on the extraordinarily original ideas he comes up with. I couldn’t help but exclaim “ooh” and “ahh” when I saw the latest creation from Lego, a robot that can scale walls. He gives a jovial grin before returning his attention to his Lego creations.
I refocus on my job and make it my mission to do as much of it as possible despite the numerous interruptions that come my way during the day, including karate class, dinner, and reading my children’s stories before bed. I usually work late into the night while watching late-night television. When my husband is concerned about my well-being, he comes to check on me here. I turn around in my chair to give him a goodnight kiss and tell him that I just want to finish up a few outstanding projects before I go to bed. I get into bed quite late at night, just to get up early in the morning to start again before the kids wake up.
Are you beginning to recognize the recurring theme? When I look at how you spend your days, I can almost guarantee that they are similar to how I spend mine. I adore being a stay-at-home mum (WAHM), even though my days and hours are sometimes harried, and I have to contend with many distractions. I tell you the truth when I say that I would never take a job in a corporation in the United States in exchange for the one I have now. Is it any wonder I have a good portion of my mental faculties intact?
On the other hand, as I interact with more and more stay-at-home mothers in my line of work, it is becoming increasingly clear to me that I am not the only one who faces my challenges. The expectations that are being established by other mothers are simply not compatible with the reality of the situation. What are our options?
1. Reclaim the office that is rightfully yours:
Claim that space as your own if you even have a single room that you may use exclusively for your business. Clean up all the games and other objects that aren’t related to work. Transform your home office into a legitimate place of business. You can’t continue to play games while just giving your company a partial commitment anymore. Your workplace is considered to be a part of your territory. Make sure it stays safe.
2. Acquire a stopwatch or a timer:
If your children can understand the concept of time at their age, getting a timer is a great idea. It truly is a life-or-death situation. Tell the kids you’ll set a timer when you need 20 minutes to work without interruption. If they give you twenty minutes of quiet work time, you should reward them with high-quality time. Join each other in a round of card or board games, or take a trip to the local park. If you make reclaiming your work area and time a priority this month, you will be one step closer to becoming a happy, peaceful, and effective stay-at-home mother.
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