Guest Post: How Working From Home Made Me a Better Mother

By December 19, 2011Guest Posts

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(Note from Kat: The following is a guest post from Prerna Malik.)

Before I had our daughter, I was a fulltime professional. However, my heart was never in my job and I knew that as soon as I reached my 6th month of pregnancy I would quit working and be a fulltime mom. I didn’t want to run the rat race, do the morning commute or climb the corporate ladder.

It wasn’t me.

Once home with my daughter and after leaving the initial days of sleepless nights behind, I began to crave interaction and intellectual stimulation.

I didn’t miss my job. I missed the “perks” that came with it.

I missed the hanging out with colleagues chatting about life.

I missed learning new skills and acquiring knowledge

I missed dressing up for work each day

Making the Move

So, I spent some time on Google, found a few good blogs written by moms, just like you and me, and jumped into my new avatar — the WAHM aka Work-at-Home Mom.

I began writing online and soon, discovered that working from home was changing me. For the better. Here’s how:

  • The feelings of discontent disappeared as I began pursuing interests outside of baby-rearing and home management.
  • I was happier and more cheerful since I discovered the social “perks” that writing and sharing brought.
  • I was learning something new everyday and still am.
  • I was less of a nag {cringe} to my dear husband because I had a life beyond the home as well.
  • The best part — I got to change myself while changing diapers and bed linen. I love my life at home and the fact that I was unhappy made me feel well, unhappier still.

I knew I didn’t want to work fulltime. Heck, I didn’t want to work part-time either. I wanted to be there with my daughter and husband.

Working from home helped me find a balance. A sweet spot.

Do You Have to Work From Home to Experience This?

No.

Regardless of whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, a work-at-home mom, or a fulltime working mom, if at any point of time, you feel unhappy, disillusioned and neglected, you need to pause and take a look within.

Find something that stimulates you.

For me, it was working from home. For someone else, it can be joining a workout class. For yet another person, it could be being a part of Kat’s Hello Mornings aka Maximize Your Mornings Challenge and connecting with a group of inspiring and encouraging women.

Remember, nurturing your self is essential to nurturing your babies and your home. How you choose to do it, is up to YOU.

Working from home worked to nurture me, what works for you?

About the Author: Prerna Malik aka themomwrites is mom to a toddler and wife to an amazing man. Editor of The Mom Writes, owner of Social Media Direct and author of a soon-to-be published ebook for work-at-home moms, she enjoys black coffee, reading and being a WAHM.

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Comments

28 Comments

  • Avatar Elizabeth says:

    For me, I got really involved with volunteering with international ministries, most of which have free childcare like our Thursday morning English classes. That way I do something completely different from changing diapers, but it is part time and my children are involved. Downside-it is a lot of work without any (financial) pay

    • Avatar Prerna says:

      Hi Elizabeth, that sounds great and yes, while it is a lot of work, I guess the “pay” is in the break from routine that you get:-) Thank you so much for sharing.

  • I’ve done it all: stayed home full time, taught full time with children, and worked as a children’s author from home. I’ve appreciated apsects of all three experiences, though I have to say getting back to the classroom was hugely stimulating and satisfying in ways I didn’t expect. I felt like I’d awoken from a long sleep, that the world was new again.

    There are many acceptable ways to parent. It think it’s great when we can embrace this in others’ choices and give ourselves permission to try more than one approach.

  • Avatar Amy says:

    I have the flexibility of being in healthcare. There are LOTS of part-time options and varying shifts to give me flexibility to stay at home and also work some. I’ve been doing weekend work ever since my son was born, but since we’ve moved I’ve taken a few months off and it is surprising how much I miss it. There is a lot to be said for adult conversation and intellectual stimulation!

  • I agree with your story. When my daughter was about 3-4 months old, I started to grow a bit restless. I started a blog (Growing Kids Ministry) and also took in one other kid for childcare. It’s been a process finding a balance. I decided to become a Registered Home Day Care and had 5 kids before my son was born. That was too much. The house was trashed, meals weren’t cooked, and I was always stressed out. I realized part of my job was indeed to be a “Home Maker”, meaning I wanted to create a place of peace and order for my husband and kids. I’m back to one kid for day care, and now have 2 kids. I have to say, I feel very contented about my life.

  • Avatar Jenn says:

    Is it true, then, that raising children and managing a home is not enough for a woman to be contented and fulfilled in life?

    • Avatar Kat says:

      Jenn,
      Definitely not! But just as some people are introverts and some are extroverts, we all have different social and intellectual needs. We are also at different stages of life, circumstance and growth.

      So while some women are perfectly contented and fulfilled with motherhood and managing a home, others are not. There are many ways to be an incredible mother, and regardless of what else we do, it is our most important responsibility, but there are many ways to do it well.

      That’s my 2 cents anyway. Does that make more sense Jenn?

      • Avatar Jenn says:

        Kat,
        Thanks for taking the time to respond to my question… I have enjoyed reading your blog posts since last summer and I’m interested in your thoughts on this.

        Yes — we are all different. And there’s no cookie-cutter-perfect way to parent. I’ve struggled a lot with feeling discontent since the birth of my last child a little over a year ago. So I understand the isolation and potential depression a SAHM faces very well.

        I’ve thought about this post all day, wrestling with it in my mind and heart. I don’t have a problem with the idea that sometimes women need to work to help support their families. But even after your explanation, I still struggle with some of what is being promoted here…

        It seems to me that what is being said is that staying home full time with your kids is only for the easily pleased woman who has very little need for intellectual stimulation. In reality, I find that raising children is the most demanding “job” I have ever had, requiring of me high levels of creativity and problem-solving, frequent research, and the ability to constantly be learning new things.

        I think that our kids are home with us for such a short time. Our time with them passes so quickly. I really *want* to have the emotional mettle to stay home with them, despite the inherent difficulties. I think maybe what stay at home moms really need more than anything is encouragement that what they are choosing to do is a beautiful thing, and that it will all be worth it. Perhaps what my heart needs when I struggle with depression is NOT to focus on nurturing myself, but instead to be gently reminded of the preciousness of the souls that surround me daily, and of how blessed I truly am.

        So… that’s my 2 cents now. Anyway, thanks for letting me think some of this out on your blog.

    • Avatar Sharon says:

      I agree with Kat. We are each so different. I have a friend who is the busiest person I know. I know we are all super busy, but her # of commitments are crazy (in my opinion). But doing life like that works for her. When her daughter was born, she choose to go back to work after 6 weeks even though her employer would have let her take more time off. Don’t get me wrong, she is crazy about her daughter, but as her mother-in-law said, she would be miserable if she didn’t work outside the home. It’s just her personality.

  • Avatar Sharon says:

    I got really into couponing after my daughter was born. It has been a great outlet for me. I am always learning new things, scoring new deals and it gives me a great sense of accomplishment.

  • Avatar Joyce says:

    Getting involved with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) has been great for me.

  • Avatar Courtney says:

    I’ve been a bit of a ping pong ball, trying to figure out what makes me happy and fulfills me after having kids and deciding to stay at home with them. I’ve worked part time and I have over extended myself with volunteer commitments. I’ve discovered that finding balance within motherhood is a huge process of evolution for me. The process takes time, and bouncing from pursuit to pursuit isn’t really helpful. Slowing down, and asking, “Does this make me happy?” helps. And right now, the thing that really makes me happy is being a full time stay at home mom: taking care of my kids, managing my household, having time for church work and volunteer work, and writing – just for fun – on the side.

  • I completely understand. Becoming a mother makes it hard to be happy in either place (work or just home). I have loved starting my blog and working on my ebook. Before, just reading non-fiction so my mind kept working made the difference between a horrible day and a good day. Thanks for sharing!

  • Avatar Brooke says:

    Thank you for your post. I can relate, although my experience was a little different. I am a civil engineer, but my heart was never fully in my career. When my oldest kids were born 12 years ago, I was fortunate enough to cut back my work schedule to three days a week while my firefighter husband stayed home with the kids. While this may seem to be the best of both worlds, sometimes I feel that I’m not committed enough to my projects at work and other times I feel I don’t have enough time at home. Also, I have been afraid to give up my career and the monetary and social benefits of being in the workforce. Around other Christian women who stay home, I sometimes feel inadequate. Thank you for making me not feel completely abnormal for wanting more.

  • Avatar Claire says:

    The working from home gig sounds like a great set-up. The only thing I have an issue with with is the statement:

    “I missed learning new skills and acquiring knowledge”

    I have been home fulltime, worked outside the home fulltime and worked outside the home part-time. But even when I was home fulltime with no employment at all, I found that childrearing was full of experiences for learning new skills and acquiring knowledge.

  • Avatar Amanda Arjmandpour says:

    Just my 2 cents here. I would LOVE to stay home with my kids, but financially we certainly cannot. I would love to have the freedom to choose “what works for me”. I don’t have that luxury. Please remember that there are women who have to work, regardless of whether they choose to or not. Sorry to be a bit of a downer here. I am thankful for my job and what it provides, but I certainly need to learn contentment more.

    Praise the Lord that I may be able to stay home in this new year. 🙂

  • Avatar Claire says:

    Amanda, I was in your situation when my son was a baby. No matter how many sacrifices we made, it was financially impossible for me to stay home. Thankfully that changed when he was 18 months old. Thank you for the reminder that many women do not have the freedom to choose what works best for them, and for the reminder that those of us who are privileged enough to be able to be home with our kids need to remember to be thankful for it.

    I also agree with Jenn. I have never understood why caring for children at home is seen as un-intellectually stimulating. (Not to say that I think there’s anything wrong with working from home or any other arrangement that works well for a given family.)

  • Avatar Laura Magu says:

    Thank you for this article. So true. And thank you for also reminding moms that sometimes it is just finding things outside the home, not specifically work. I think many moms forget that.

  • Avatar Melissa says:

    This is such an interesting and important issue! Very applicable to life right now! Thank Jesus!
    I come from a family that expected me to go out and change the world by having a huge career. I hope that someday they will realize that although I am putting off a big career, I am still making a tremendous impact by staying home to raise my kids and provide a peaceful home for my husband (that is my goal anyway! but I am a ways off from it being organized and peaceful!).
    Awhile ago, I read Dr. Laura’s book “In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms” and it blew me away with encouragement! While I dont agree with everything Dr. Laura says, she makes an excellent agrument for why we should stay home, or work very part-time while the kids are sleeping or in school.
    Of course, this isn’t always possible for everyone, but I do believe that if you asked any child if they would rather spend the majority of time with their grouchy mommy or with a bubbly, highly trained daycare worker, they would choose their own mommy, grouchy or not.
    What are we supposed to do about getting over our grouchy-ness? Or in some cases depression?
    I am no expert in getting over this myself. I recently started working part-time from home, owning my own social selling business. I am trying to find a balance, but it I am struggling! It does make me happier to have a social outlet. I tend to derive my happiness from my accomplishments, and my work accomplishments tend carry more weight for me than my home maintenance tasks (so as you can imagine, my house is not looking so great right now). I have noticed a “workaholic” side of myself emerging since I started this business, as well as guilt about letting other things go. I can tell I need to pray more about this!
    My mother-in- law stayed home with her four kids and now that they are out of the house, she is pursuing a second career. She told me that when each one left for college/to get married, she was overwhelmed by a sense of peace about their leaving. Of course she missed them, but all that time home raising them, prepared her heart for them to move on. She didn’t feel like she had missed out on their childhood.
    I will pray for you all to have God’s peace about your situation.

  • Avatar Kat says:

    I think it all comes down to knowing that Jesus is our formula for motherhood. Sally Clarkson isn’t, the mom next door isn’t, our pastor’s wife isn’t. God is. And the only way to find the formula for how we should be spending our days is by spending time with Him each day.

    He made each of us with different gifts and different needs and only He has the answer for how those need to be utilized and balanced in each season of our lives.

    Some women are called to do things in addition to motherhood. Not at the EXPENSE of, but in addition to. Others are not. Neither is better or worse, simply different.

    Ultimately, those things we do outside of motherhood should be symbiotic with our roles as mothers. They should be complimentary. For example, writing this blog, though it occasionally takes me away from my kids for conferences, speaking or my Saturday morning writing time, in the end it makes me a MUCH better mother. It forces me to hash out my thoughts, it keeps me accountable, it inspires me to be more than I am and I can only do that by relying on Him.

    If our roles in life don’t make us better followers of Christ, better wives, better mothers then perhaps those roles should be questioned. But it is not the role that is the issue, it’s how it plays our in our specific circumstance.

    I love hearing everyone’s thoughts on this! I know it is a sensitive subject for many, but I encourage each of us to walk in the confidence of what God has called us to rather than a mold we feel pressure to conform to. In the end I only want to look like Jesus…

  • Avatar Susan Beckett says:

    I am a 59 year “young” adopted mother of two (soon to be three) little girls ages 6, 4 and 1. I have chosen to use my nursing background to care for special-needs children in my home through foster care and adoption. I love my job! God has given my husband and I a passion for medically fragile, ventilator-dependent children who often have no one else to love and nurture them. Yes, I DO miss some aspects of nursing in the work place, but I know that what I am doing now is right where God wants me to be! Nurturing future generations is a HUGELY important job.

  • Avatar Crystal says:

    Thank you. I know that feeling very well. I worked full time through all 3 of my pregnancies, and now that I’m home, I couldn’t be happier. I have even lost that extra weight off my body since I quit my job. I am now a WAHM, and really enjoying this new adventure in life.

  • Avatar Angel B says:

    Well I am a SAHM and it is tough financially. We do without in order for me to stay home. Its not for everyone. We don’t have tv or smartphones or eat out. I coupon and make from scratch a lot of things. I also craft and sell a few things….mainly to support my craft.
    BUT I am also very active. I am the PTA president for one daughter’s school and room mom for the other. I am also in a mommy group that tries to do one MNO or MNI a month or two. And I am in MOPS. That helps my interaction. It gets easier once the kids are in school. You get to socialize with whole new sets of people. Trust me you WANT to be involved in the school and get to know teachers, kids and other parents.

  • Avatar Emily says:

    I started doing a WAHM job becuase I knew we needed the income but I truly desired to stay at home with our son. I never in a million years thought I would be working with a MLM company! Honestly, there are days when I read the “happy mommy blogs” when I cry and all I want to do is stay at home making sensory boxes and cookies with my kids (lol) but on the other hand, I am seeing how many people i am helping financially and physically by working with the company I do. Not only that, but I had my best month last month (ironically, right before i gave birht!!) and it has been such a blessing financially for our family. When the furnace gave out last month I could say, no problem, my check can help a lot with that. It was still a strain, just not a financial disaster. Unfrotunately, I still hate having to tell my son “mommy’s working” when I really need to hunker down and get on the computer, but I also think that it helps me make my other time more intentional (at least I strive for it.) I used to feel bad dropping him off at Grandma’s house so I could work but then I realize he is so blessed to be creating wonderful memories with Grandma and so am I that I am able to get some work done while he is enjoying himself. The work is challenging and has made me grow in so many ways. I cannot let myself procrastinate or my business suffers. I have to truly care for others, ask, questions, and listen to them. I need to be invested in their life. This is not easy for a selfish person like me. Finally, I was a person that never really folowed through on things and I told myself that if I was going to do this, I was going to do this! Everytime I thought about quitting I considered that it would be just another thing I started and stopped. The perseverence has paid off and I have learned that I am really good at something! I belive God has used this business to help us have a better life but also wear off some of those rough edges.

    I think prayer has to be a part of every mother’s life. I am continually coming back and asking God to be sure that this is where he wants me right now. I don’t believe it’s so much whether or not being home is “enough” but listening to where you’re being called; and with so many things, there are seasons. It may change throughout motherhood. I believe our job is to keep our ears and hearts open.

    God bless you mamas!

  • Avatar Rhonda says:

    “If our roles in life don’t make us better followers of Christ, better wives, better mothers then perhaps those roles should be questioned.”

    Great quote – thank you for that. I am a SAHM/part-time WAHM (never thought I would do the WAHM part). My writing and editing work is a nice respite from home stuff and housework, and at the same time energizes me to go back and work on home stuff and housework. It also gives me great opportunities to interact with people I never would have otherwise, and hopefully be a witness for Christ.