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Pros and Cons of Being a WAHM

Deciding to work from home is an easy decision for some—the thought of working from home just makes them giddy. For others, it's more difficult because it may mean giving up a high-powered position outside of the home or suddenly working after a lengthy period of being a SAHM only. And for still others, who already work at home, it may mean figuring out how to add a new baby to the mix.  No matter how you slice it, there's a learning curve to becoming a WAHM, and however you may have arrived at the decision to work from home, actually being a WAHM requires a certain amount of forethought and preparation including weighing its pros and cons.
Let's Start with "the good stuff."

The Pros of Working from Home

  • More flexibility for when you work.
  • More time with your kids.
  • You can get the laundry done and work at the same time, potentially freeing up nights and weekends for better-spent time with the kids, family or spouse/partner.
  • No dress code.
  • Fewer expenses for lunches, coffee, gas, make-up and hose.
  • No commute, which means less wear and tear on your vehicle, fewer wrinkles on your brow from dealing with traffic, and less wasted time sitting in traffic or driving long distances. If you take public transportation, it means no longer being squished like a sardine on a bus or train.
  • You can leave at any time to pick up the kids from school and shuttle them to their activities without having to ask permission or get approval.
  • No time clocks or sign-in sheets (in most cases)
  • You get autonomy and greater control over your schedule 
  • If you need to take a long break in the middle of the day, you can—with no questions asked by bosses or co-workers
  • You don't have to figure out which parent will stay home when the kids are sick, on a snow-day, or  during school vacation.
  • You're removed from office politics.
  • You have a lot of options. You can freelance, telecommute, start a business, turn a hobby or passion into a lucrative business, work as a consultant for another company in direct sales, be an independent consultant—the list and possibilities are endless.

Now that we've looked at some of the benefits of being a WAHM, let's look at some of the hard realities.

Reality Check—the Cons

  • You may work some odd hours (often into the wee hours of the morning).
  • You're responsible for the finances of your business: calculating and filing taxes properly, keeping accurate records, etc.
  • Unless you're covered under your spouse's insurance, you might not have the same level of health insurance that you had or have working outside of the home.
  • Since you don't have a separate place outside of the home to go and work, family life may bleed into your work time and work space. It requires establishing clear boundaries and a lot of communication.
  • You might not have the income you envisioned initially, especially if you are just starting out, or are starting your own business. This will require patience and dedication.
  • You will be confronted with friends and family members who think that since you work from home, they can just call and chat anytime, or worse, show up at your house/office unannounced.
  • You will be confronted with people who think that you're sitting around in your pajamas all day doing nothing.
  • You will encounter people who don't believe that WAHMs are serious business women.
  • While you won't have the same level of stress involved with working outside of the home, you will have a different level of stress, initially trying to balance working from home with family life. (Communication is the key to help alleviate this.)
  • You may find yourself working even longer hours than you did when you worked a standard
    40-hour workweek.
  • Your spouse/partner may think that since you're at home, that it means they have to do less when it comes to pitching in with household chores and childcare.
  • You may still need to hire someone to help with childcare while you're working.

While these are some very general pros and cons of being a WAHM, it's a good idea to look at your personal situation and include any additional pros or cons that apply to you, your family, your career, your lifestyle, and your goals.  As you weigh the pros and cons, ask yourself why you want to work from home and whether you have the dedication, patience, tenacity, and burning desire to make being a WAHM work for you. Even if on a sheet of paper, the cons outweigh the pros, knowing the answers to these last two questions will be keys to your success as a WAHM or mompreneur.

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