Sayonara, Steady Income! (Part 1) – WAHM Survival Tips

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Photo Credit: ahans via Compfight cc

The following is a post by WAHMderful contributor, Patricia of Mrs. C’s Sugarcoated Life.

Being a WAHM is something that I do by choice. Becoming a WAHM, meaning leaving my job and actually taking the plunge, was something that I had to do by chance. Let me explain.

A few days before my son turned a year old, back on 2007, I started working for a top telecommunications company here in Manila. Four years after starting that job, I moved on to work in a shopping mall that was close to home, but followed a 6-day work week. I was beyond burned out, and seriously missing important moments with my kid. His well-being was never something that I needed to worry about, because I had my mom at home caring for him, taking him to school, making sure he was clean, fed and happy. At that point, I wanted to focus on motherhood, and maybe find something that I could do from home, more for myself than for him. I wanted the opportunity to be a mom.

I was lucky because my husband was all for it. He saw the value in one of us being at home to help mold our son into the kind of person we know he has the potential to be. And he agreed that it was gonna be me. Thing is, I was scared about so many things – losing my steady income, not being a good enough hands-on mom, making mistakes, getting bored at home. I knew I had to try before I would know for sure, but just the thought of trying scared me. Then one day, I was forced to do it.

It was towards the end of the school year, 2012. My grandfather got sick all of a sudden, and my mom had to drop everything and care for him. That meant that I had to drop everything and care for my son. Well, sort of. I filed for leave from work for a few days and took over the household and babysitting duties. On days when my mom didn’t have to be at the hospital or in my grandparents’ house, I went to work. That entire month of March, I probably was at the office less than 50% of the time. Over the summer, I would bring my kid with me to work. You can just imagine how unproductive I was during those times. My work and my mood began to suffer. When I realized that this could go on well into the beginning of the next school year, I filed for resignation without even thinking. I served my mandatory 30 days, and by the end of May I was officially unemployed.

You know how they tell you that before you quit your job, you should have at least 5-6 months worth of money set aside just in case? Well, I didn’t have that. I didn’t even have a plan, actually. I did have a few writing jobs booked for my first month as a WAHM, which was really a lucky break more than anything, and nothing else beyond that. I was living the classic example of how not to start out as a work-at-home-mom.

That was my WAHM reality.

This happened a year and a few months ago, and guess what? I’ve gotten by.

Top 5 start-up WAHM survival tips

 

Believe me when I tell you that none of it was easy, but it sure as anything has been worth it. Allow me to share with you my top five start-up WAHM survival tips. These are a mix of what to do, what not to do, and a little bit of pixie dust!

1. Do not make the switch until you are absolutely, positively, 100% sure that you want this.

I cannot stress this enough. Like I said, the WAHM life is not easy. It is also not for everyone. So if you decide to leave your desk job for one that allows you to work in pajamas, make sure that it’s what you really want. I must stress that this was the only thing I did right when it was time for me to jump.

2. Don’t do it alone.

You will need help, promise. Your husband can be your biggest safety net when you are starting out as a WAHM. In my case, since I had no savings, no client list, and basically no idea what I would do after my first set of jobs were completed, I needed my husband and his paycheck love. I also needed help figuring out how to run the household, something that I’d never done before. The tips and tricks I learned from other work-at-home-moms in our community, both in WAHM-ing and parenting helped a lot in getting me adjusted to my new life.

3. You need a home office.

By home office, I mean your own space, be it a corner in your bedroom, a reserved seat at your dining table, or a room with a desk and a beautiful view. You need a space that you are comfortable in, where you can be inspired to think and motivated to work. You space should have the basic tools that you need to function, like a table, a computer, internet connectivity, maybe a phone, and coffee or tea, whichever you prefer. Think about the important things that your office provides you, and know that you need to invest in these things when you’re starting out on your own.

4. Learn.

Learn to manage your time better. Learn to say no to impulse purchases. Learn how to negotiate for a reasonable rate for yourself. Learn to choose jobs and clients that will not just get you through this month, but will build a long-term working relationship with you. Learn to be patient. Learn new trends in the field that you have chosen. Learn to multitask without losing focus. Learn to put your child first, and not let your work take over (that is after all why you chose to become a WAHM to begin with). Learn when to say no. Learn to troubleshoot. Learn to think on the fly. Just learn. Never close your heart and your mind to learning. This may jut be your greatest weapon as a WAHM.

5. Whatever you do, do not panic.

Life will change from the moment you step out of that office building for the very last time. Trust me. I strongly suggest that you have a plan, that you do things right, that you follow every piece of advice that The Happy WAHM shared in this post. But if life hands you lemons, like it did me, don’t panic. Squeeze those babies out, make lemonade for two (one for you, and one for your kid, more if you have more kids than I do), and face the music. Write out your plan as you go along. Adapt. Eventually, you will find your groove, and eventually things will be okay.

Lastly, pixie dust. Wish on a star. Say a prayer. Recognize lucky breaks when they arise. Pleasant little surprises will come your way, and when they do, make the most out of them. This holds true for the work part and the mom part of being a WAHM. It could be a play date, which will give you extra time to work, or a new client who was referred by an old one. Take those bits of luck and know that you deserve them.

Welcome to my WAHM reality. If I managed to turn my clueless starting days into an absolutely WAHMderful life, you can definitely do it too.

Comments

  1. Hi Patricia! Ven, here, fellow WAHMIE =) I really loved your post..it breathes out what a real WAHM life is. =)

    I basically share the same circumstances such that I have my mom with me when I was doing full-time office work (which was truly a blessing). But in the five years that I had my firstborn, I felt that it is my duty as the “mother” to raise and mold my child and not my mom who already did the same thing with me. And my husband couldn’t agree more.

    A year in being a WAHM, I find myself in the best place ever..I must say I’ve finally found my place under the sun. =)

    • Hi Ven, I am such a delinquent, it took me 2 months to reply to your comment. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your story. It always makes things so much easier when you know you are not alone, and I am grateful that I get to meet and learn about other WAHMs like you who happen to be a lot like me and know where I’m coming from. :)

  2. “I wanted the opportunity to be a mom.” … yes, yes, yes. What a lovely post, Patty! I’m okay with numbers 1 to 4, and working on number 5!

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