10 ways to know if you should be a mama working at home

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Frankly, being a mama working at home isn’t for everyone. While everyone has their days where they wonder what they’re doing working from home, some people don’t thrive in it. There are many different kinds of people. Some who are really collaborative and feed off of other people’s energy and others who enjoy ideating on their own and managing a workload completely solo.

But as a mom, you probably look for ways to spend more time with your little ones. The idea of work-life balance is one that you really care about and want to find in a greater way than what you’re currently experiencing.

How do I know all of this? Because I worked outside the home until my son was 10 months old. It felt like all I did was prep bottles, clothes, supplies and my own lunch and materials once we got home from work. So when I wasn’t working, I was preparing to work. Day in and day out. I finished each week questioning why and wondering if there was more.

And then I left that world behind to be a mama working at home. It certainly isn’t easy and somedays I really miss my corporate job and coworkers. But I never end the week wishing for something different like I used to. I’m there for my family’s big events – and I’m talking extended family not just my husband and son.

From my perspective, there are 10 ways to really know if being a mama working at home is worth it and right for you. Each person will have their own experiences, but personally, these are mine.

1. You’re a self-starter

As mama working at home, you won’t have anyone telling you what to do or checking in to make sure that the work gets done. You need to be a self-starter to ensure everything that should get done does get done.

If having a manager who constantly checks in and micromanages you drives you crazy, you might be a self-starter. Or, if you’re the person who ensures others are following through, you also might be a self-starter.

2. You seek new relationships on your own

Working at home can mean isolation if you aren’t careful. To avoid this isolation, be sure that you’re a person who is comfortable reaching out for help or reaching out for friendship. No one will stop by your cubicle on Monday mornings to hear about your weekend. You’ll need to seek out that friendship and camaraderie.

You might be a relationship seeker if you’re good at meeting new people in groups. Additionally, you might be a relationship seeker if you regularly send out text messages to your acquaintances to see how things are going or just check in.

From my experience, interacting with others and building outside relationships is crucial to success for work-at-home moms. I felt so lonely and isolated at first after my son was born. It meant that going back to work felt really good. Those regular interactions were like a breath of fresh air after 12 weeks of little to no interactions. Don’t be afraid to make new friends and rekindle old friendships.

3. You’ve always enjoyed individual work over group work

Working from home might have some collaboration in it, but for the most part, it’s you at your desk getting stuff done. If you enjoy working alone instead of in groups, being a mama working at home might be right for you.

Ways to know you like working alone instead of in groups is to review your favorite projects and what aspects of those projects made them your favorite. If it’s because you were able to do things on your own, working from home might be just what you need.

4. You know how to collaborate digitally

When you’re geographically separated from others who you collaborate with – whether that’s coworkers located within an office building or clients around the world – you should be skilled at communicating and collaborating digitally.

In my line of work, I get tons of emails, Skype messages, texts messages, and phone calls. Being able to stay on top of all of that is important. And because digital marketing is so collaborative with the client, I also have to keep up with their project management systems.

5. Proving your work without being physically present is no problem for you

I once had a manager who believed that presence proved productivity. Over time, he slowly started to understand that isn’t the case. However, it’s certainly harder to prove your value when you aren’t located at a company’s main office.

If you work remote for a business, make sure your manager knows what you bring to the team. And any opportunities to present that come your way, take them, even if it’s outside your comfort zone. You want to prove that you bring plenty of value to the table even though the team can’t see you in person.

6. You’re passionate about what you do

Among the other reasons, this one might look out of place. Don’t be fooled, passion for what you do could be the most important way of knowing whether or not you should be a mama working at home.

I get up each morning before my son. Passion drives that. I sometimes work evenings and weekends. Without a doubt, that’s the passion speaking. I take on new projects when given the opportunity even when we don’t necessarily need the money. It’s because I can’t help myself; I love what I do.

Pause and really evaluate what you’re passionate about. And if it isn’t your current line of work, you might have to take a couple of years to make a change before transitioning to working from home. Don’t be hasty and just take the first thing that’s offered to you. Instead, pause, and evaluate the situation to its fullest.

7. Your heart keeps drifting to being a mama working at home

Don’t make the decision to be a mama working at home on your worst day in the office or during your largest struggle with childcare. Make sure that your heart is really in it. While it has some serious perks, it also has some severe challenges.

No, you don’t really get more sleep. And the stress is not necessarily less; it’s just different. You’ll see more of your family, but sometimes that is hard too because stay-at-home moms are never really “off duty.”

So take the time to evaluate if your heart is really in it. Working from home is not a fix-all. If you’re unhappy with the work you’re currently doing, working from home will not solve that. Changing careers or going back to school to advance your career might be a better option.

8. You have an area of your home that can be your office

Having dedicated workspace can be a huge benefit to your work-at-home mom life. Look around your home and think about where you could put a desk. Yes, work-at-home life is mobile, and you can do it from anywhere, but you might be more productive if you give work its due with a space completely dedicated to it.

So while this one is not a must, it’s a nice benefit. I know when I sit at my desk with my dual monitors, I can be more productive. And the more productive I am, the happier I am.

9. Your family and/or friends support you

On the days when you have too much to do, having family who can take care of your little ones is so valuable. And just like any job, you’ll some space to vent and share about what your day is like. While you can certainly pave your own way and not have family or friends who support you, it’s super helpful.

My husband knows how to step in and help when I need it. And I never cook and only do a little bit of the cleaning around the house. I’m far from a regular stay-at-home mom on those fronts. My mother lives only about 30 minutes away and is a crucial aspect of my work-at-home mom life. She’s so happy to take my little guy for an afternoon and give me some time away or the childcare I need to complete business meetings.

My friends don’t fully get it, but I think they’ve chosen to just watch from a distance and try not to get in the way. (You’ll find more tips on what to do when you don’t have support in the article: When your family doesn’t support or doesn’t understand working motherhood).

10. The work you currently do can be done from anywhere

As I noted above, changing careers and planning to work from home can be challenging. It’s easiest to make the transition if the work you’re already doing and have experience in can be done from home.

If not, you might want to change careers with an in-office job before making the switch to at-home work. That way, you can get the training and experience you need to prove yourself for work-at-home mom jobs.

Take the first step in becoming a mama working from home by visiting the jobs and resources page for opportunities that can advance your at-home career.

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