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Working from home with my toddler running around is far from a perfect scenario. In fact, most days it’s incredibly difficult. What keeps me going is remembering why I’m doing it. So here are my top five reasons for being a stay-at-home working mom.
I started out working a corporate job and taking my son to daycare a few days a week. Let me tell you just how exhausting that truly is. We spent nearly an hour getting to work and daycare and then another hour getting home. And then I would wash bottles and pump parts and prepare for the next day for probably close to an hour.
While it kept work and home life separate in a tidy fashion, it was a life that lacked balance because I was always cleaning up from work or preparing for work and childcare. And then there were the days daycare would call and I would have to drop everything and go pick up my son. It was disruptive to my home and work life.
Now, I get to be the one who snuggles my son and reads books for naptime, talks to him over lunch and gets him outside to burn off his intense energy. I know him like no one else does so I’m the perfect caregiver while he’s still so young.
When we felt like it, we hopped in the car and drove down to Georgia to support my sister at Ironman Augusta. And on days when he doesn’t feel well or is having a hard time, I throw the to-do list out the window and we have an all-day playdate.
This kind of flexibility isn’t possible with an office job. When my son would wake up clearly grumpy and having a rough day, I still had to drop him off at daycare. We still had to go about our normal activities because there’s so little flexibility in office work.
While I will probably never match my corporate salary with my at-home work, there are many financial benefits to working from home. Those benefits include:
- Gas: remember that hour each way in the car. I fill up my tank about half as often as I used to.
- Cost of childcare: my son only went to daycare twice a week, but we were still paying about $400-$500 per month on childcare. That’s $6,000 for the year.
- Earning potential: I can earn as much as I’m willing to work while I’m a work-at-home mom. Most weeks, I choose to work 20-25 hours because it’s what’s best for my family but I could work more and increase my income. In a corporate job, it’s tough to climb the ladder while prioritizing family when your children are young. I know it’s not supposed to be that way, but going the extra mile when you have a child to pick up from daycare by a certain time makes things harder no matter what corporate tells moms.
4. Job satisfaction
While I would never say that working from home with a toddler running around is stress-free, it’s surprisingly less stressful than corporate work. I’m much more satisfied with building my own business from home. I still do the same thing I did in the office: marketing. It’s just more fulfilling now.
Two years before I left corporate life, I changed jobs to escape a company that was doing massive layoffs. I thought I was going someplace much more stable, but six months in and I was once again in a lay-off environment. While I never lost my job, my job changed drastically from day to day. People had more work than was reasonable and it made them stressed. There was little direction from management and it made things hard.
Today, I’m the management. I build a team that I like and who has the skills and competencies necessary to grow my business. And when I’m not satisfied with the work, I can do something about it instantly.
Because I spend so much less time commuting and preparing for the next workday, I actually have better balance. Yes, my work is always there. I can always choose to boot up my laptop and start working if I want to. But it’s a choice and I choose balance.