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Work-At-Home Mom-me: Part II - My WAHM Challenges

This is the second in a series of four articles about my experience as a work-at-home mom (WAHM). I wrote a previous post on how I got started, and this one is about the challenges I faced.

Initially, when I started working at home, it was pretty easy. My first work-at-home job was writing articles and research papers which was child's play. It was pretty much what I did for four years in college, and writing has always been my strong suit. But this job didn't really pay as well as I hoped and when I got married, it became less of a priority compared to my responsibilities here at home. Plus, with my first pregnancy, I was always really tired and sleepy. By this I mean, I would fall asleep sometime after lunch and wake up in time to prepare dinner. This was a bit disconcerting for someone who usually made the most out of the day and would go through a full day on an average of 6 hours of sleep. Online writing eventually fell to the wayside.

Now, when people ask about my home-based job, I usually tell them I'm a statistical data analyst. Sounds intimidating right? In the beginning, it was.

That was the first challenge I faced. Although the job was still considered academic writing, it was writing about something that I had absolutely no background on. So as with any new skill that you have to acquire, I had to deal with the learning curve. It was slow going at first. It would take me more than a day just to read through the instructions for the project and another day to actually conduct the analysis needed. It was so hard that sometimes many times, I considered quitting. But no, I felt that the job paid really well so I stuck with it. With a lot of help from my sisters, D and K, we eventually overcame the learning curve problem and after more than 2 years on the job, it's actually gotten a lot easier and although I have yet to completely master the job, I think I've gotten much better at it.

Fortunately, my pregnancy with J was smooth sailing so it didn't really pose much of a problem work-wise. Although I was always tired, I decided to work throughout the day, to make sure that I was tired enough to fall straight into sleep at night, and that I would have no time to brood. That really worked in my favor productivity-wise. It gave me a lot of time to work and do the research I needed to complete projects and learn more about the work that I was doing. But while the learning curve was a challenge, it was nothing compared to what it would be like when J finally arrived.

Before I gave birth to J, I had already decided to take some "maternity leave". I didn't really give myself a fixed deadline on when I would go back to work, but mostly promised myself that I would go back. Big C also said that it would be a good idea to just see how things went and go back to work only when I felt I was ready for it. About 3 months postpartum, I felt ready enough to take on one or two projects a month to ease back into the routine.

As I expected, scheduling was a nightmare. Whereas before, I had around 8 uninterrupted hours to work, now, I had to make do with pockets of time to finish my projects. I also had to start late, because my mornings now involved nursing J, then overseeing his bath, and watching him while Yaya did the laundry and had some personal time. Usually, I'd take him for a walk to visit his grandmother, who lived a block from us. When I finally get to sit down at my desk, I had to get back up in an hour or so to nurse again. (Eventually, when J self-weaned at about 4 months, nursing turned to expressing milk.) 

There was also the problem of staying away from my son. As a first-time mom, I had to keep myself from constantly hovering and checking on him, making sure he was still breathing and that he was okay. A slight noise from the baby monitor would have me running to the next room to see what he needed. And to be perfectly honest, when you have an adorable little boy in the next room, watching him sleep was infinitely preferable to working on statistical data.

My own work personality was also a problem that I had to deal with. I am one of those people who cannot work on a stop-start basis. Once I get into my groove and find a train of thought, I have to see it through until I'm done, otherwise, I lose it and I have to start from scratch again. (Scratch being staring blankly at the monitor wondering how to do it.) 

But as most moms do, I learned to adapt. And thankfully, J settled into a semi-predictable routine I could work around. My production level increased to pre-J levels, which I'm really happy about, because that means more money set aside for my boys. 

Now, one of my biggest challenges is dealing with the guilt. Compared to other moms who work outside the home, I am lucky enough to have more time to spend with my son. But at the same time, I feel guilty for being at home the whole day, but still leaving him with his Yaya for a large portion of the day. I do make it a point to pop into his room every hour or so to spend 10 to 15 minutes just playing with him, to check on him and reassure him of my presence. Before I leave him with Yaya, I also make it a point to always tell him that Mommy is thankful to have work to do for the day because it means I can save more money for him and shoti, and if he needs me, I'm just in the other room and he can come see me anytime.

But even with all these challenges, I LOVE being a work-at-home mom. Why? Well, I'll write some more about that in my next post for this series. For now, Quakermommy needs to check on the munchkin's lunch. Have a good day, mommies!

4 comments:

Michelle said...

Hello! I found your blog through Medela Moms on Facebook. I've been reading through some of your posts and am thoroughly enjoying it. Though I have been blogging since 2007, 99% of my reviews are all for free in exchange for the products I get to review. I'd like to transition now to actually writing for pay. Thanks for your blog posts about working from home. God bless you! By the way, if you have time, please come visit my blog at www.beyondsilverandgold.blogspot.com.

quakermommy said...

Hi Michelle! Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog. I've taken a peek at yours and it looks like there's a lot for me there too and I'm really ooking forward to reading through your site. :-) Have a great day!

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