5 myths about work-at-home-mums cleared up!

If you think work-at-home-mums have it easy, you really need to read this article!

I’m a work-at-home mum (or WAHM, as some like to call us). When people ask me what I do and I tell them, a series of emotions usually flutters across their faces.

They first look surprised, then a bit confused and finally, as it all sinks in, envious. “Oh you are so lucky”, they often say, “you can work, have an afternoon nap, do the laundry and save on babysitting costs,” they say. I wish! But this is so not true.

So to clear up any misconceptions, here are some myths and realities about what it’s really like to be a WAHM.

Myth 1: It’s just so easy

Yes, it just awesome that there’s no daily commute to work and back, battling peak hour traffic.

The only time you need to step out is to do the school run — and if you can convince hubby to take on either drop-off or pick-up (both would be too good to be true), then you have all that time to just sit down and work.

But “sit down and work” is easier said than done. To successfully and productively be able to work from home, you have to be ultra-disciplined.

Without having a manager to supervise you, it’s just so easy to get carried away with commenting on your best friend’s adorable Facebook pictures of her newborn, or stalking your ex-boyfriend (and no, this does not count as online research).

If you don’t have the willpower to control these urges and focus on completing the task at hand with little or no supervision, then working from home probably won’t work for you.

Tip — Facebook and other social media platforms are time-wasters and productivity killers. Try not logging in to Facebook first thing in the morning and you’ll be amazed at just how much work you can get done.

If you can’t live without seeing what your friends have been up to, then set yourself a “Facebook time limit”, after which you log out and stay logged out. 

 

 

myths about work-at-home-mums

If you have a helper, give her clear instruction about her daily chores so you’re not wasting time micro-managing her.

 Myth 2: You save on childcare

Those who say “oh, so you don’t need to spend extra on a helper because you can work and keep an eye on the kids, right?”, are thoroughly misinformed. To give you some perspective, just imagine if you had to take your three-year-old to office every day. Would you be able to work? I think not.

In my case, because my kids are now old enough to go to school and pre-school, I have a reasonably-sized chunk of kid-free time to get some quality work done in the morning.

But when my boys were younger, this was not the case. I couldn’t really lock myself in a room and leave the kids to their own devices without having the police knock at my door and arrest me for child negligence. So I had no option but to employ a helper. And so no, we never saved on childcare because I am a WAHM.

Tip: If you have a helper, help her do her job well too by providing her with a clear timetable of her daily tasks. This will increase productivity for both of you. 

myths about work-at-home-mums

WAHMS miss the peace and quiet of a regular office!

Myth 3: You’ll enjoy the peace and quiet of your “home office”

The first few weeks of not having overly chatty work-mates interrupt you every 10 minutes will be blissful.

But soon, you’ll start to miss them, even that nosey auntie who always wants to know when you’ll have your next child. This is because your only human company for most of the day comes in the form of a semi-naked and babbling toddler (or two).

Another thing that you’ll start to miss is the ritual of getting dressed up to go to work.

Hanging around in your PJs all day may sound just perfect to all you daily office-goers. But the day you accidentally catch sight of yourself in the mirror at 2pm and get terrified of your own unwashed hair and tatty nightclothes, is the day this illusion will vanish.

Tip: As tempting as it is to hang around in your PJs all day, try and resist the urge. Take a shower, get dressed, brush your hair and dab on some lip gloss. This way you won’t give yourself a heart attack when you see your own reflection in the mirror will feel good about yourself even if you’re not heading out anywhere. 

myths about work-at-home-mums

It’s very easy for WAHMs to get carried away with their work, and work into the night, sacrificing time with their partners. Try to avoid this situation by planning out your day to a T.

Myth 4: You’ll have so much more time to spend with your partner

Not really.

Because unless you can finish all your work while your kids are in daycare or school, the rest of your time will be dedicated to sporadic bursts of productivity in between cooking, feeding, and answering questions such as “Why is your hair grey? Is it because you are going to die?”

What all this means is you may get your second chunk of proper work-time after the kids go to sleep. So warn your partner in advance if you are thinking of becoming a WAHM that he may have to sacrifice some cuddle-time.

Tip: Be really self-disciplined about harvesting every ounce of super-woman energy the moment the kids are out of the house, in order to complete your work during the day.

You’ll also have to be disciplined about when you stop work — it’s so easy to continue working until late in the night, and this is obviously not good for both yourself and your relationship. 

Myth 5: You can stay on top of your household chores

Unless you clean the bathrooms or mop the floors when you are stressed or have writer’s block (like, um, myself), then no, working from home will most likely not result in a sparkling home.

If you don’t have a helper, then those breakfast dishes will probably still be in the sink at dinner time.

Time is precious when you are a WAHM and any free time that you have will be dedicated to frantically working away before your little ones come home. Those dishes and that laundry can wait — that deadline cannot!

Tip: If you don’t have a helper, be efficient about how you do your housework. For example, pop the washing in the washing machine the moment you wake up, so when you come home after the school run, it’s ready to be hung.

If you have a helper, try not to waste your time micro-managing her. As pointed out previously, a timetable will help. 

Watch this hilarious video below on what it’s like to be a WAHM, and if you’re seriously considering working from home, this theAsianparent article is a must-read for some very helpful tips.

Fellow WAHMs — do share your most useful tips on how you succeed at working from home, in a comment below.