Thinking About Working From Home?
So you haven’t even started your maternity leave yet and the idea of going back to work after your baby is born is filling you with dread.
Maybe you work at a high pressure job where the stress is just not worth the limited satisfaction you get. Maybe you are at a job that has unrealistic expectations of parents and you’ve watched your co-workers struggle with work-life balance when they became parents.
Or maybe you just would prefer that your child spend their formative years with a parent at home.
Any of these scenarios may push you toward the idea of being a work-at-home mom, and there is no greater motivator in life than being a good example for our kids and setting a good work ethic for them.
I know a huge motivator for me was not wanting my kids to grow up to do the same thing I had done (work for the same employer for over 10 years without feeling truly valued as an employee).
Moreover, the stress of not being the “team player” that was required of me by staying late and working countless hours of overtime, just wasn’t going to work with a child in daycare.
With a decade of seniority, a pension plan and health benefits, it wasn’t easy to walk away from my career in journalism. Yet dealing with the stress of work and the thought of bringing that home to my family seemed like an even harder thing to choose to do.
Instead I chose the thing that had been gnawing at me for years. The thing that I had always loved, but pushed aside because I was too busy. The thing that called me to journalism in the first place: photography.
Working as a photographer, I’m able to set my own schedule and be home for my kids.
What are the things you might want to consider if you’re thinking of making the leap from new mom to work at home mom?
Here’s a list of questions to ponder:
1. Is your partner supportive? Without a partner who’s willing to back your cause, your business will never get off the ground. Even though you’ll be home, the household responsibilities will need sharing for you to get your work done. Have a plan to map out both chores and child-minding duties to make sure you can get things running smoothly.
2. Do I plan to have more children? This one is tricky because if you plan to have more kids, childcare could be more than you’re making at your job. Alternately though, if you don’t return to work after your first child, you won’t have a paid maternity leave for your second child. Consider the options carefully.
3. Is my family ready to make some sacrifices? Being an entrepreneur often means financial sacrifices. If you’re not the type to give up the annual family vacations; if upgrading your car every other year is important to you; if you don’t think you’ll be happy without a weekly night out at a lavish restaurant, maybe this lifestyle isn’t for you.
4. How will you overcome isolation? Being a mom can be lonely work, but being a work-at-home-mom means you don’t even get to go to the office, to break that isolation. Be willing to go out of your way to make new friends in mommy circles. You’ll have to learn to network anyway once you’re an entrepreneur so why not start now?
5. Is there something you LOVE to do almost as much as you love your family? Let’s be real, starting a business is a lot of work and there will be some times that your business will have to take priority. Make sure you love what you do and it will make this part less painful!
Carrie Duncan is a birth photographer and owner of Four Bees Phohtography. She resides in West Toronto with her husband and two photogenic children. A former journalist, she now tells all her stories through the lens of her camera.