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My Work at Home Mom Regrets + Solutions You Can Use

Listen to Your Mother Show Atlanta

I’ve been a work at home mom since A.J. was born in 2010, except for a brief work assignment here or there where I worked in an office setting. The rest of the time, I worked from my bed, from my kitchen table, from my car, from coffee shops and co-working spaces around Atlanta. To many parents, working from home seems like the perfect situation. It definitely has its benefits. But in the last ei years, I’ve also racked up a few work at home mom regrets along the way. Learn from my mistakes, share your solutions below and get even more insight from work at home moms I trust in the roundup below.

Regret: Not creating a childcare swap

It took us awhile to adjust to the idea of allowing someone else to care for A.J. We don’t have any family nearby. Our family did visit from New York and Mississippi shortly after his birth, but they couldn’t stay long-term. When A.J. was six months old, he went to a Mom’s Morning Out Program for a few hours a week. When he was two, he attended preschool a few days a week, then pre-k five days a week and how he’s in first grade.

But when I think back to those early days when he was just sleeping and playing as an infant, I could have participated in a childcare swap. Either I could have exchanged hours with another mom who’s home or watched another child at least one day a week to earn extra money.

Download this emergency list for babysitters to leave on your fridge. Also, consider SitterTree as a resource to connect with experienced and background checked sitters near you.

I wish there were more teenagers near me as well, so I could hire a Mommy’s Helper. I first learned about it during a taping of my talk show.

Need a Mommy's Helper

Regret: No set office hours

When A.J. was younger, my only “office hours” were when he was asleep or when I could run to Starbucks. Even now I struggle to get much work done, with just the six hours that he’s in school and a few hours at night.

Unfortunately, my home office is in the dining room. So both A.J. and my husband can see me while I’m working which leads to interruptions.

One carved out time that worked well for the last few years was to head to a coffee shop early Saturday morning while the guys were still in bed.

Regret: Not saving more for retirement

When you work for yourself, your income can change from month to month or you may not pay yourself early on.

When you’re employed, it’s easier to determine how much of your income goes to a 401 (k) or retirement plan.

In hindsight, I wish I’d gotten a few more short-term assignments or went back to teaching on the college level sooner, so I’ve have more to invest in retirement.

Use What You Know: A Business Idea Guide for Moms

Regret: Not collaborating more with work at home moms

My first collaboration was my 2011 e-book, Use What You Know: A Business Idea Guide for Moms. Then I expanded to hosting Twitter parties and a few in-person events like the Wells Fargo blogger roundtable with other African American influencers.

The highlight of 2016 was participating in the final Listen to Your Mother Show in Marietta, GA.

I wish I’d done more and I’ll add that to my 2016 End of the Year To-Do List so I can plan ahead for 2017.

Atlanta Listen to Your Mother

 

Do you have any regrets or success as a work at home mom to share in the comments?

WAHM Solutions

Krystyn from Really Are You Serious created Work from Home Jobs for Moms.

Herschel from Gym, Craft, Laundry wrote How to balance blogging, fitness, and an active family life.

Winona from Southern Family Fun created 8 Awesome Business Ideas for Work at Home Moms.

Ashley from Mommy Week was kind enough to feature me in an amazing list of  Stay at Home Moms That Rock.

Julie from Balancing Mama found that a mommy’s helper helps her productivity too.

[Tweet “Check out these #WAHM Solutions to balance business and home”]

About Joyce Brewer

Creator & Host of Mommy Talk Show. Emmy award-winning TV journalist.Wife & Mommy; Mom Blogger; Social Media Coach; Long Island, New York transplant living in Atlanta, GA. Follow Joyce on Twitter @MommyTalkShow Author of Use What You Know: A Business Idea Guide for Moms featuring interviews with mompreneurs who created businesses using their skills & backgrounds.

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46 comments

  1. Great ideas! I regret not doing the childcare swap myself.

  2. It’s really hard to set hard and fast work hours when you work from home. Generally speaking, it’s the type of work that keeps you on all the time.

  3. I love this post. There are regrets that come with being in business for yourself. The only thing to do is try to limit the amount of things that you’re regretful over. Which is a challenge in and of itself.

  4. I love this post. There are regrets that come with being in business for yourself. The only thing to do is try to limit the amount of things that you’re regretful over. Which is a challenge in and of itself.

  5. This is such an interesting and timely post for me. I am considering becoming a “work at home” mom so it is great to see what has worked and hasn’t for you and learn from that.

  6. A childcare swap is a great idea for work at home moms. It’s a great way to make some extra money too.

  7. You’re amazing- and these are all great for every mom to take to heart. I still struggle wit hours. Being on 24/7 is exausting

  8. These are some great points. I definitely need to work on a few of these.

  9. I can definitely understand why these things would help a lot as a WAHM. I do think collaborating on projects is a really good idea.

  10. I am not a complete work at home mom yet, as I go to work most nights after my husband gets home from work. But I have work online that I try to only do when the kids are napping or really late at night when I get home from work. I am working 2 jobs right now and its hard. I sometimes hate having to get work done while they are awake and really want my attention. I am still working on a balance and its nice to see that I am not alone. I will be following for tips!

  11. Setting yourself office hours is so important. When I don’t, I feel like I have no boundaries and work very long days!

  12. I regret not setting office hours. I was working all day and night and really burnt myself out!

  13. Set office hours is a big one. I’ve had to learn that the hard way. Now I try to do all my work while my family is away during the day so I can be wholly available to them in the evenings and on weekends.

  14. I am glad you can recognize your early mommy mishaps but I dont think they should be regrets. They helped mold you into the mom you are today and I know you are doing an amazing job! Keep going and connecting and I will keep some of these in mind for the future because I will be a WAHM when the time comes.

  15. I’m struggling before on how can I work,My kid was so into me! She won’t be able to sleep without me her side! But then I finally found out that there were a lot of moms doing a home based job! I’m glad you found it too. 🙂

  16. This is a helpful post! I have these regrets before, especially not setting office hours. Then I made myself organized and it made great changes. Now I appreciate every aspect of being a work from home mom.

  17. Thanks for sharing this.
    I think it takes a lot of character to come to grips with regrets, let alone list them for others’ learning experience!

  18. Set business hours is something in working on getting better at. It’s important for my sanity!

  19. These are things I struggle with daily. I try to set hours where I need to just work but there’s always something else happening especially with three kids!

  20. I’m just so jealous that you ARE a work from home mom. That’s my goal. I’m a SAHM right now. Congratulations on being apart of the LTYM family. I was a part of the show what feels like many moons ago here in DC.

  21. The whole setting hours thing helped me a lot. When I scheduled time for me to work, it made scheduling the day much easier.

  22. I had to set up an office space away from every one in my house. I used to work int he living room but that has to many distractions. Now I set an alarm to remind me when it is time to log off so I do not work all night. I regret not doing it sooner.

  23. I’m sure both sides of the fence (working outside the home moms and work at home moms) have their own benefits and regrets when it comes to their work. It’s definitely all about the way you handle yourself though that’s what matters the most!

  24. I work from home once a week. I struggle with time management. I need to block out distractions better.

  25. I’m new to this space but I am trying really hard to find structure. With my youngest it’s really hard.

  26. I wish it was easier to take a break. I feel guilty when I walk away from a project to either do something else equally important or just give myself some recharging time. Your hints are sure to help a lot of people – even WAHDs who fact these same problems.

  27. Thank you so much for this post! It really resonated wth me– I think sometimes my kids see me at home and forget that I’m working and then make me feel guilty if instead of listening to them I’m at my computer which is exactly why I need to set those office work hours and stick to them ( and make sure my kids honor them too!)

  28. I too regret not putting a little something aside while home with the kids for the last 9 years. I can only imagine what I would have saved up now. I just received a copy of my current SS payout and I either need to move down south or start saving now. I also didnt care out office hours. I’m better at it now that they kids are in school all day and I now have a PT job. Best thing is that we were both their for our kids in the early years. Great post!

  29. Oh, this post is an eye opener for me. Nice lessons you got there!

  30. A child care swap is a good idea if you trust the other mom. I’ve never done it, but I might consider it in the right situation.

  31. Elle (CleverlyChanging)

    I can totally relate. I don’t do date night regularly with my husband and I spend a lot of time working. My kids are now wanting to do their own Youtube videos and my husband just started a podcast. Thankfully, because I work from home, I do get to spend a lot of quality time with my family so its worth it. I am also trying to make more residual income to save more in my IRA.

  32. My sister is thinking off building up her business so she can work from home and I spot a few things here that she needs to consider. I’m not a mom but I work from home and there are a few things I wished I did differently. For one I think I should have made better investments.

  33. I don’t live near family either. I regret not being able to get my children’s involved in sports and other activities due to previous work schedules and not having at least one other person around to help out.

  34. I’m not a stay at home mom, I’m not even a mom. But I definitely understand how these tips or things you would’ve done differently would be helpful for moms who work from home.

  35. It’s never easy to work when you’re at home, no matter what age the kids are in, unless they’re in high school. I think swapping is a great idea, I didn’t know that there are moms who did that.

  36. I don’t have any kids but I do work from home. I definitely learned the importance of setting office hours early on. Thank you for sharing your regrets, I got great tips for when I have my kids.

  37. I love being at home and wouldn’t trade it fo the world. I guess the only thing I regret is real adult conversation sometimes.

  38. These are really great points. I currently work from home when I have things to do in the house, but setting working hours are important. One time my nephew cried while I was on a support call and I was embarrassed. My sister just came upstairs to give something to my mother, but he thought it was my kid. lol I had to tell her she needs to respect my working hours because even though I wasn’t watching him, the customer could’ve sent an email or made a complaint call easily jeopardizing my job.

  39. Christina Aliperti

    Every work at home mom should read this post. There are pros and cons with everything, you just have to weigh them out and find what works for you.

  40. These are great tips for work at home moms! And good to know for future reference for when I have kids one day.

  41. Whew! Thank you for the heads up before my hubby and I have children, lol! I am going to share with my sister, a mom of three. Very insightful!

  42. Great points! If I could go back, I would have appreciated the flexibility more instead of feeling guilty when I had to do “kid stuff” (appointments, etc.) during the traditional working hours.

  43. The childcare swap sounds like a good idea! Trying to save for retirement as a self-employed person is definitely difficult and something I’m also struggling with.

  44. Interesting read, my baby is a Junior in college but had often wondered how much fun it would have been to have been a WAHM. Happy Holidays!

  45. I wonder if you didn’t do more looking back because you were exhausted. I was tired for the first four years of being a mom. Like you my family is out of town, and we had to do a lot of it on our own. While babysitting sounds great, I don’t think I could have handled two little ones.

  46. My biggest regret like you is not collaborating with other work at home moms, not doing childcare swap, and not showing up consistently for my audience.

    Most important of all Joyce, I wish I was kinder to my body. I started my work at home journey 2 months after giving birth. I should have taken a couple of extra months off. That’s my biggest regret.

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