Thinking of becoming a work at home mom? Here are four changes you can make now for a smooth transition.
You’re finally doing it, mamma. Buh-bye cubicle! Hellooo sweet, creative freedom. Becoming a work at home mom definitely has its perks but it’s not all Insta-worthy mommy moments and working on your laptop while sipping lattes.
WAHMs come in all shapes and sizes when it comes to the type of work you do—some work full or part-time remotely, and others are running their own businesses from home. In my case, being at WAHM means I’m a full-time freelancer.
Honestly, the first six months of starting your own business as a freelancer while trying to get more time in with your children can get pretty rocky—but don’t be discouraged. It’s all totally doable and totally worth it, especially if you start preparing with these four things in mind before you take the leap as a work at home mom.
Expect and prepare for financial uncertainty
I think most people recognize that when it comes to freelancing and finances, uncertainty is the name of the game. The good news is, you have great motivation (your family!) to make that money every month. Now that your family is depending on your skills to bring home income, you need financial buffers like never before. For me, that means having a good mix of hourly pricing and value-based pricing for my work. It also means setting up a budget with a Variable Income Fund (VIF). Unlike a savings account, your VIF is meant to be spent. Think of it like a pot of money that can act as a paycheck in months when income is down. Let’s say you have a good month and make more than expected. After setting aside 25-30% for taxes (yes, you need to do that) and paying any other monthly financial obligations, you can start planning for the months ahead. Squirrel away some money for a future month’s “paycheck” in your Variable Income Fund. Having money budgeted for the future has been a game changer for me and it’s actually pretty easy if you start using financial software, like YNAB or Mint. Developing the habit early will make the transition to freelancing much easier.
Find (and budget for) childcare
You might be thinking, “Why do I still need childcare? I work at home!” Yes, it’s true you now have the “luxury” of working at home in your pajamas while sharing cheddar bunnies with your toddler—but don’t forget you are still a work at home mom. Working from home moms are MUCH different than stay at home moms. You still have deadlines to meet, virtual client meetings to schedule, and even the occasional in-person meeting. (Yup, you have to actually get dressed for those—GASP!). I know childcare can be super expensive but I beg you not to skimp on this one. It will save your sanity six months from now when you are stretched out to the max, on deadline and can’t take the guilt of playing another episode of Curious George. The truth is you need time and mental space to really work. You’ll be able to give your best to your clients if you hire some extra help. Your kids will be taken care and you can work guilt-free. If you’re just starting out, even a few hours of childcare 1–2 days a week will help. Right now we are “nanny-sharing” in four to six-hour chunks a few times a week. I also work on the weekends while my husband is with the kids. Other moms I know hire college students, do a childcare co-op or even trade childcare time with other moms.
Build good habits now, to make life easier later
Life, parenting, and work are full of the unexpected. The upside is you can start building a few positive habits now to make things easier when the unexpected happens. I call these my anchor habits because they keep my life steady and stable even when things get rough. An anchor habit can be anything that helps create daily stability, like prepping for the mornings the night before to make getting to school a little easier, having a go-to menu of super simple dinners, or taking 20 minutes for yourself every day. These habits become the foundation of a smoother life all around.
Don’t forget you also need anchor habits for running your business, too. Invoicing, client calls, and pitching new business all need to be regular actions in order to build your business. Once you decide what your anchor habits will be, look at how you can carve out regular time to create habits that will lead to success.
Invest in your relationships
When you first start working at home full-time, there’s can be a lot of change in a short period of time. Everyone at home is impacted in different ways. My husband and I have different joys and pressures in this phase of our lives (young kids, freelancing, new bosses and more), so it’s critical we consciously make an effort to stay connected as a couple in the midst of our wonderful chaos. The same goes with our children. Working at home means my oldest daughter is getting used to hearing, “Mommy is working” a lot more. Fortunately, because I work at home I can say yes to being with her a lot more, too. That means long walks, picking her up from school earlier, and just being together.
Having strong relationships with your extended network of family and friends is also important. When you start freelancing, don’t fall off the face of the earth! Whether it’s taking time to grab coffee with a friend, calling your mom when you have a free moment or meeting up for a playdate, these small but meaningful actions will keep you connected with your community.
Now it’s your turn! What actions will you take this year to make the switch to work-at-home mom a little easier?
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While Society of Grownups hopes the information is useful, it’s only intended to provide general education. It’s not legal, tax, or investment advice, and may not apply or be useful to your specific financial situation. If you need recommendations geared to your personal financial situation, schedule time with a financial planner.