The Reality of The Work-at-Home-Mom


The Glam Life Of A Work-At-Home-Mom…

There’s a real romanticism on social media about it these days.

I Have To Admit That I Got Caught Up In That Fantasy Myself.

After all, we all have AT LEAST one work-at-home-mom (often a Network Marketing Mom) rolling through our Facebook feed who’s created a six figure business, selling essential oils, while creating Pinterest-worthy-vegan-gluten-free school lunches for her adorable kids (who never eat sugar, watch television, or fight amongst themselves)

Five years ago, I DREAMED of being her (okay, maybe not the network marketing bit…).

I went from being a single mom with a stressful seventy hour a week job in commercial insurance, to a pregnant newlywed with that same stressful corporate job AND a second job teaching yoga (which was my passion).

In my first trimester (after barfing at work A LOT), I quit my corporate job and followed my dream.

I taught anywhere between twelve and fourteen yoga classes a week throughout my pregnancy (often while barfing in between classes…#justsayin).

When I was in my final trimester and could no longer get up from the floor without grunting, I packed it in. The truth was that while I was happy teaching yoga, I was working A LOT and not really creating a sustainable income.

I gave birth to a busy baby boy and registered for Marie Forleo’s B-School literally while I nursed him, ready to try my hand at the utopian world of the work-at-home-mom.

After all, I’d made literally millions of dollars for other people in my corporate career and left it all behind to pursue love over money to teach yoga.

How hard could it be?

You can imagine from my tone, perhaps, it hasn’t gone as smoothly as I’d originally hoped

The difference between my fantasy (which looked a lot like a vision board come to life) and the reality of mompreneuring was un petite jarring.

I’ve learned A LOT.

So if you’re a mom about to embark upon the crazy/beautiful journey of working from home, fear not. I’ve got you.

Here are some of the most significant realities I’ve inelegantly stumbled upon as a work-at-home-mom:

Fantasy: You’re so super organized that you see all clients, create all content, market and sell during nap time and then prepare a healthy meal for everyone to enjoy

Reality: Multi-tasking sucks (but be prepared to write while you poop)

To be honest, my family prefers when I work during “work time” and then put it all away and play during play time. Buuuuut, it doesn’t always work like that. One out of every five emails I send is written during “Mommy’s Special Alone Time” i.e. while on the can. Sorry if we email a lot and this is shocks or offends you.

Recommendation: Be really flexible. Make schedules and lists if that floats your canoe. But be really ready to just throw it all away and go with the flow. Inevitably, someone will get sick during your big course launch (or all get a nasty stomach flu in Disneyland…but that’s a story for another day) or you won’t get any sleep and your photoshoot will turn into a therapy session. Just me? Forgive it all. Even the nights when everyone has popcorn for dinner in front of Paw Patrol

Case-in-point: While writing this article, I have been thrice interrupted: to make breakfast, clean up dog barf, and sing karaoke.

Fantasy: Once you work from home, there’ll be tons of time for massages, mani/pedis, family naps, and afternoons off

Reality: Building a business is time consuming. I got a massage…that one time…

I think that women in general could prioritize self care A LOT more highly.

For the work-at-home-mom, who’s often pulling double-duty as primary caregiver to small humans and CEO-empire-building-goddess, this becomes both more challenging to schedule and extra-super important.

Why? Because otherwise, you will go crazy. Plain and simple. Burnout is ridiculously common amongst the mompreneurs in my circle. Even more so because we’re battling the stigma that life is somehow easier because we work from home.

Recommendation: Schedule your self care. Legitimately block off time in your calendar for things like yoga classes and, oh, I don’t know, bathing. Get a sitter. Call Grandma. Do what you need to do to get some deliberate down time in your life. Down time is where you birth creativity, inspiration, and sanity.

Case-in-point I’ve burned out so many times as a working mom. Three of those burn-outs required hospitalization for the various illnesses that I contracted and then tried to muscle my way through. Just get the darn massage.

Fantasy: You’ll hang your proverbial shingle and instantly, clients will inundate you with opportunities for a multiple six figure income

Reality: Building your business will probably make you cry, question your sanity, and take time to be profitable

It really, really, really pays to Invest in education and coaching and learn as much as you can about your industry and business in general. If your business is your LOVE, then play the long game. Be consistent, but don’t forget to reserve the right to change your mind. That’s one of the perks of being the boss, after all.

Recommendation: Keep Going. Obviously, I would go back and change a million things about the start of my business. (hello, cringe-worthy website…). But, for me and my family, it’s been beyond worth it. We do have waaaaay more freedom than we ever did when I worked in a corporate job. My income and impact potential feel unlimited. It’s been worth every single stumble.

The truth is that life is messy

And so, incidentally, is my house*

*Note to self. Must hire housecleaner

My life and business rarely look the way I expected them to. Reality has been infinitely trickier than I ever anticipated; and infinitely richer and more fun, too.

Ain’t that kinda always the way?

If I could offer one, final note of unsolicited advice, it would be to be as authentic as possible in your business. I’ve found that being really honest with my audience about what’s going on at home has created soulmate clients and feels a lot better than playing into the perfection myth.

Your willingness to be real, vulnerable, and authentic, and to keep trying when things get tough are the sexiest things about you. They will aid in your success if you STOP trying to front like things are perfect and contribute instead to the conversation about imperfection in a courageous way xo

Photo by Wholehearted Photography
Erin McDonald

International Transformational Coach + Head Babe in Charge at ClumsyGrace

Erin is an international life and business coach, obsessed with transformation - both her own, and that of her incredible clients. Also, tacos. When she's not coaching the funniest, most creative, purpose-filled, biggest-hearted-bad-asses on Planet Earth, she enjoys parenting her two hilarious kids and wife-ing it up with her rad husband. She considers herself a kitchen dance party enthusiast and is a self-proclaimed Whack-a-Mole Champion. She believes that most success comes from mindset, that coaching creates miracles, that relief is an underrated emotion, and that Harry Potter’s birthday should be a national holiday

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