Not once during my pregnancy did I ever think that I would not return to work.
I had my plan.
Four months of maternity leave and then return to work full-time.
Imagine my surprise then, when my firstborn came along and I absolutely adored staying home with him. After two months of my maternity leave, I came to the realization that I could not bear the thought of missing out on his infancy. My Mommy FOMO was kicking in hard.
Now, I don't know how yours is, but in my marriage, we are two working people. Prior to baby's arrival, we never had the discussion of what's going to happen if I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom because that just wasn't in the cards for us.
So I broached the subject with my husband. He wasn't thrilled about the idea of me staying home and not earning anything so my mind began to work overtime trying to think up how I could have the best of both worlds.
Luckily, I came up with an idea to open a business from home, even though I had never run a business before. I hadn't gone to university. I didn't have any business qualifications. Basically, I had no business opening a business, but I came up with a really good idea. To my relief, my husband supported me and said, "Let's go for it and try it." 7 years later, I still have the business. It’s given me an income, and I've been able to stay at home and raise two children while juggling my business. I'm so glad I made the decision to not go back to work.
Thankfully there are options for Moms who want the best of both worlds. Here are a few pointers to get your wheels turning about a suitable career change while enjoying motherhood.
#1 Decide If You Can Live Without Structure
If you’re on the fence about going back to work, the first thing you need to decide is if you can live without structure.
Work means compartmentalization.
You can get up in the morning, get dressed, and then leave your kids and your house behind. Whether your working gig is 9-5 or 8-1, the awesome thing about going to work is you get structure.
Do your job.
Mentally switch off.
Are you the type of person that can live without that kind of structure? When you're working at home, you're at the mercy of your children: fevers, throwing up, not sleeping in their naps, and you've got to decide that you can handle that.
# 2 Create A Working Schedule For Yourself & Stick To It
That just might look like something as simple as, "I'm going to work four hours every day that I'm at home," or maybe it’s, "I work from 8-10 AM. Then, I work from 2-5 PM." You can be as structured as you like. But while the scheduling part is really important, if you're going to do a schedule, then you have to stick to it as much as you possibly can. Are you the sort of person that can work without being checked up on? Can you rely on yourself in order to get your work done? Again, not everybody's like that, so you've got to decide if you can do it.
#3 Flexibility Is Key
Throw a baby into the mix and you’ll quickly find out that things can change at the drop of a hat. Your baby is #1 priority, so you've got to run your life according to what's going on with your child. Whether it’s play-time, nap-time or under-the-weather time, they're going to make the call and you have to go with the flow. Flexibility comes with the territory of being a Mom. You wanted to stay working and have an income, but you're a mom primarily, so you got to be flexible and be willing to pivot and adjust your working day accordingly.
#4 How Much Income Do You Need?
Figuring out how much monthly income you need will help you decide what kind of job you can do at home. Some people just need to earn $500 a month. For others, it’s more like $1,500 a month. And in my case, it was right around $2,000 a month. Once you have that total, you can strategize what kind of hourly rate you need to earn or what career options are available to you as a Mom who works from home. If you’re a college graduate, then perhaps you can look at some consultation work from home.
Another popular work from home option is being a virtual assistant. Perhaps you’re a budding entrepreneur? In which case, the big question is do you have the money to set the business up?
Spend some time researching the various ways you can work from home. There are so many creative things that you can do from home. In my case, I did a locally-based service business. Here are a few other ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
- Virtual Assistant.
- Affiliate Marketing.
- Customer Service for a big company like Amazon.
- Open A Business.
There are a million and one things that you can do from home and you've got to decide what you're really good at. Does it work with the skillsets that you already have? Try to do something that you can slide into your life easily. Because let's face it, becoming a mother is a huge challenge in and of itself, and that should be your priority before work.
#6 Make A Plan That’s Going To Jive With Baby’s Growth
Timing is everything when making a career change, especially when you’re a new Mom. Create a plan and ensure that the timing is right. Are you ready to set up a business while your baby's four months old and not sleeping or teething? Is there a way for you to incrementally start earning so that as the baby grows you can add more workload on? Or are you ready to take the plunge and throw yourself into an exciting new project right off the bat? It’s up to you and how well you think that you can juggle everything that's new in your life.
#7 You Can Always Go Back
Realize that you can always go back to what you know. If you do try to work from home and you feel like it's too isolating or it's not paying you what you need, you can always go back to the working world. But if you're like me and you just wanted to have the best of both worlds, then get creative and think of something you can do from home.
It is possible for you to have your precious time with your baby and work from home.