Being a work at home mom (WAHM) is an experience that many women pursue and enjoy. Though it offers many sought-after benefits, like freedom, the ability to set your own work schedule, and being your own boss, there are still challenges associated with the role.
I recently conducted a survey of over 50 work at home moms asking them what the main challenges were they experienced working from home. Though the women who responded varied in the work they did from home, their responses were very similar. Listed below are the top 5 challenges these moms face:
#1 – Balancing time between work and family.
Balancing time between work and family was the top challenge for the work at home moms surveyed. Many moms stated they experienced feelings of guilt when working while their children were home. So how can a WAHM get her work done and not miss out on quality time with her family?
Solution: Establish a schedule for when you will work and when you will play. Involve your family in the creation of your schedule and then post it in a prominent place where all will see it. Create an activity corner for your kids filled with items that are sure to keep them interested and occupied. WAHM.com suggests setting up an office somewhere in the home where you can close the door as a signal that your work day has ended. Try hard not to go back into your office, if possible, until your next scheduled work time. After all, working moms get to leave work at work, so this same philosophy should apply for work at home moms.
#2 – Staying focused on work and using time wisely.
Let’s face it. Working from home can create a lot of distractions. It’s hard not to notice the laundry that needs to be done, the dishes to be unloaded from the dishwasher, and that one picture frame that’s slightly higher than the others. Any and everything can become a distraction. So how can you stay focused and use your limited working time wisely?
Solution: Be a tough boss and the greatest employee. Create a routine that you can consistently follow and expect yourself to follow it. Consider setting your alarm for the same time each day you are scheduled to work and head directly into your home office at that time. To ensure you complete all necessary tasks, try creating up a prioritized To Do list. Start by listing all work-related projects, assignments and tasks you need to complete. Next, assign each a priority (A, B, C, etc.). Spend 80% of your time working on A & B priority items and the remaining 20% of your time on C or lower priorities. Set up a reward system for completing tough tasks or for working through a certain number of items. This will help to keep you motivated and focused.
#3 – Juggling multiple responsibilities with limited time.
The demands on work at home moms can be great. From cooking, to cleaning, to nurturing, to leading, moms generally juggle a lot of responsibilities.
Solution: Solicit help. If you have a spouse who is able to share some of the workload, then collaborate on ways he can help. Get your children involved in handling some of the household chores. Whether picking up toys or helping with the laundry, kids as young as two years can contribute in some way. If your budget allows, get outside assistance with the cleaning or hire a virtual assistant to help with some of your business responsibilities. By sharing the workload, you can create more time in your day.
#4 – Finding work from home that pays instead of costs.
While there are many great direct sales and network marketing companies to choose from, some moms prefer actual jobs they can do from home. However, finding legitimate work from home jobs can be challenging.
Solution: Many sites feature job boards for work at home positions with real companies or businesses. Sites like WAHM.com Jobs and HireMyMom.com feature actual work from home jobs. Finding additional sites is as easy as searching on Google for work from home jobs. By doing your research you should be able to find a site that fits your needs.
#5 – Having little time for myself.
The WAHMs I know all have this as a big challenge. They arise early and go to bed late trying to handle all of the responsibilities for the day. After being pulled in many directions throughout the day, many moms forget to take time out for themselves.
Solution: As important as it is to schedule your business hours and stick to them, it’s just as important to schedule time for you to relax and rejuvenate. So as you establish your work schedule, be sure to include time for “play”. Whether it’s time with the kids, your husband, or your girlfriends, schedule it in and stick to it. For ideas on ways to rejuvenate, check out my previous post Time Out for Mompreneurs.