10 Challenges of Being a WAHM

Working at home looks like the ideal situation for many aspiring WAHMs. However, before you commit to the WAHM life, you should know about some of the challenges ahead.
By Deborah Ng 

I won’t lie. I love being a WAHM. I enjoy the freedom of being my own boss, picking and choosing my clients and projects, and working when no one else is around. I have flexibility that enables me to volunteer at school, attend sporting events, enjoy lunch with my friends, and still get the job done.

With that said, being a WAHM isn’t always puppy dogs and roses. While the positives for me far outweigh the negatives, the truth is, working at home is a challenge. I wouldn’t trade my life for anything, but there are a few things that can turn working from home into a sometimes-frustrating experience.

1. Finding work that pays well

People seem to associate “work from home” or “mom” with “not worthy of a living wage. In fact, if I had to choose the one thing that frustrates me the most about freelancing and telecommuting it’s how some others don’t value the work I do. It’s hard to be taken seriously as a professional if I accept a less than professional wage, but then, it’s not always easy to land high paying projects in a competitive market.

2. Finding the best time to work – for all involved

WAHMs can’t always do the 9 to 5, no matter how much we like to convince ourselves we can. Kids who are home during the day don’t take too kindly to parents who spend 8 hours locked away in an office, and working after hours can mean family interruptions during times our family needs us. Family isn’t always understanding or respectful of work time, no matter how well intentioned they are.

3. Finding a quiet place to work

Not everyone who works at home has a dedicated home office. Some WAHMs use a corner of the dining room or family room, and others tuck away in their bedroom or guest room. Many of us work where when we can, where we can, in order to get the job done.

4. Convincing others that you really ARE working

There are always those who feel working at home isn’t the same as or important as a job outside the home. Sometimes family and friends feel you’re always available for babysitting because you’re home. Sometimes there are neighbors who drop in for a cup of coffee at an inopportune time. It can be difficult to convince others that we’re not only busy, but that what we do is a job just like any other.

5. Finding enough work in a competitive field

It seems as if everyone wants to work from home nowadays. There isn’t anything wrong with this at all, but because it’s still not the norm the competition for remote and/or freelance opportunities is fierce. Thus, we’re applying for the same jobs hundreds of other telecommuters and freelancers are applying for. We have to present ourselves in the absolute best possible light at all times if we want to beat out the competition.

6. Saying “no”

WAHMs have to be good at saying “no,” or else we can get taken advantage of. In addition to lowball offers from potential clients who feel we’ll take any crumbs just so we can work at home, there are also clients or employers who want us to work longer hours. We have to be firm about the hours we work and the work we do. Moreover, we need to say no to teachers who always ask us to volunteer because we’re home, friends and neighbors who know home and therefore always available to help out, and family members who are always clamoring for our time.

7. Getting paid on time

If you’re an independent contractor, you might find some clients take their sweet time to pay your invoices. Our time is precious, and the last thing we want is to spend our working hours chasing down payment. We have to be firm with our clients regarding the terms of our invoices and contracts, because if we allow late payments once, they will continue. Late payment isn’t the norm for those employed full time with a company, but it happens to many freelancers on a regular basis.

8. Achieving work/life balance

People who telecommute spend more hours working. While others are commuting into work, we’re at our desks working. While some people can leave their work on their desks after they clock out each day, our work calls to us because we never leave the building. We work through breakfast and lunch. If we’re not careful, work and finding work becomes all consuming and we’re not spending as much time with our families or having downtime as we should.

9. Isolation

As much as most of us enjoy the quiet of working at home, it can also be a lonely situation. There’s no office banter, no lunch or happy hour with co-workers, and unless we leave the house, we’re not meeting new people. Networking online can help, but it’s not the same as speaking with grownups face to face.

10. Avoiding distraction

From the refrigerator, to the television, to the Internet, to the neighborhood coffee klatch, the home and neighborhood provide plenty of distractions. It’s easier to procrastinate or find other things to do when you’re in your own home.

Working at home presents challenges for sure. However, for most of us it’s worth the trade off. Having the freedom and flexibility to make our own hours, and do things that are important to us is the most important thing of all.

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