How to Work at Home When You Have a Supersized Family
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I’m a homeschooling mom of seven children. I’ve been married since late 2003 and have been a work-at-home-mom (WAHM) since 2007. I work as a blogger/vlogger, web/graphic designer, and author of 3 non-fiction books, 1 novel and four homeschooling resource books. Working at home with all the other chores moms are responsible for is sheer insanity.
My WAHM life is not pretty. It’s not perfect. And some days I wonder if it’s even worth it.
10am-11am: Wakeup, eat, coffee, Bible(ish) time, feeding people
11am-12pm: Who knows?
12pm-4pm: Start homeschooling 4 of the 6 kids
4pm-5pm: Avoiding the kids at all cost, showering, brushing teeth (I’m not even kidding)
5pm-6pm: Dinner as kids binge watch YouTube
8pm: Kids in bed (at least I hope!)
8pm-9pm Convincing children to stay in bed
The Truth About Schedules
Schedules are a bit of a farce, even mine. Any moment is interrupted by a dirty diaper (or two). I believe it’s important to have a quiet time with Jesus every day, but often my much needed Bible time is often stolen by some sort of kid-sized drama. If my mom drops by or we have a doctor’s appointment, my schedule is a bust. Everything must be realigned. Work always seems gets the short end of the stick.
Make Your Work Hours WORK For You!
I stay up until 4 am.
I try to work while my children are sleeping incessantly asking me random questions about when their birthday is (it was last week, so um…359 days).
Not only do I stay up until 4 am (sometimes later) because I want to cherish my kid’s awake time, but it’s also the only time in the house when it’s quiet. No kids. No phone calls. No random visits from friends. Just me and my computer.
Fortunately, my husband is a night owl too. So many nights we are up together, enjoying and utilizing the silence.
PS. It’s also a great time to have uninterrupted sex.
Sometimes, You Have to Ignore the Kids
As much as I don’t want my kids to see me on the computer often, it happens…a lot. Sometimes I get on the computer in the morning “just for a minute” and that minute turns into two hours. It’s a blessing to have so many children because they often are too busy playing with each other to notice that I’m ignoring them.
Sometimes I think they secretly let me ignore them because they know as long as I am on the computer they don’t have to do homeschool. (Though that is changing as they get more autonomous. My third and sixth grader sometimes finish school before I finish my morning cup of coffee. It’s rare but it happens.)
“I’ll be there in a minute!” is a much-used phrase on and off working hours!
Ignoring children doesn’t just happen when I’m working!
Expect the “Mom Guilt”
I cannot express how much guilt I feel for working at home. I know people say that I shouldn’t. That I should view my work as important for my own benefit and the benefit of our pocketbook, but that’s just not the case.
I highly esteem the role of homemaker, wife, and mother. On the days the house is a wreck, I’m throwing yet another frozen pizza in the oven, and we are still homeschooling at 6 pm because I was too busy on the computer; I feel tremendous guilt for working from home.
I know that the Proverbs 31 woman is said to have raised a family, tended to the needs of others, sold handmade items and impressed her husband’s friends, but I often wonder if she felt as frazzled and guilty as I do.
I used to love to exercise. I had abs and buns of steel. During my first pregnancy, I ran until I was 7 months pregnant. Each additional child may have eroded my passion for exercise but they did ignite another passion…for sleep!
Because of time restraints, exercising gets the boot when it is in competition with working or sleep.
Secret: Chores start at 2 years old by sorting the silverware into the tray after it’s washed.
Get Out of the House
…or at least walk out your front door.
Most days I don’t see the sun. Many days it’s hard to remember to go outside and take a breath of fresh air. Going outside helps me remember that there is a life outside of my online world (I know! Shocker. Seriously).
Going outside inspires me to live the life I’m making extra money for. Going outside reminds me that the only thing I need I already have.
But I never seem to muster up the courage to go outside. I’m very task-oriented, so it’s an effort to stop and smell the roses. But since I struggle with depression I try to sit outside for at least 15 minutes every morning while I finish my coffee before heading back into the house to start schooling the children. Sunlight gives you Vitamin D-3 which helps fight feelings of sadness.
Sadness doesn’t inspire work, so get outside a little.
Apologize When You Get Off Balance
I have to apologize…a lot
If a kid or my husband interrupts my work, especially if I think I’m “finished” with them for the day, I can get cranky.
I’ve had to leave my desk in order to console a crying child whose feelings I’ve hurt because I’ve been short-tempered.
One time my husband and I planned to spend time together. We didn’t end up spending time together and I felt awful for putting work before my relationship with my husband. The next day I apologized. Lesson learned.
It’s okay to make mistakes as a WAHM mom, just remember to face your sins head-on with an apology.
My husband is jealous.
My husband has a great boss and a laid back job. He edits videos, shoots interviews of important people and is a very talented videographer. But he’s not doing what he is passionate about.
He is very grateful for his job, but often he is jealous that I am able to make money doing what I love from home.
Multitask Work with Pleasure
I binge watch TV while I work
Lorelie and Rory Gilmore are my WAHM BFFs.
Sometimes I watch a random movie that reminds me of high school. One that I know so well I don’t even have to look up at the screen to know what is going on (like Girls Just Wanna Have Fun). I try not to watch anything too serious or that I haven’t watched before so I can focus on designing or coding.
Major caveat: If I’m writing, I need absolute silence. No TV. No music.
Price Yourself High
I don’t work for cheap. I learned that lesson the hard-hard-hard way. I’ve discovered that if people don’t want to pay what you are worth and you let them sucker you into a low-balled price…they won’t treat you like what you are worth either.
I price myself high when doing contract work so I never regret working from home.
There is nothing more discouraging for a WAHM than to be working on a project that doesn’t pay well and is sucking up all your time and energy.
Secret: Sometimes I still manage to find myself in a job that I regret taking. It happens.
Working from home as a mom can be challenging or rewarding. One day I might feel like I’ve got it all together, only to have my world crash around my ears the next.
I’m still figuring out how to balance it all. Each season of my life has brought new challenges and new freedom.
But I have to confess I love being a WAHM of my Supersized Family!
Some of my work-at-home friends have also shared a post with the story of their days!
Stop by their sites and see how what their days look like!