So you want to be a work at home mom.  Join the club.  It seems everyone’s mother wants a way to make an income while raising their little ones.  Well, don’t fret.  There is a way to make it, and no, it doesn’t involve stuffing envelopes or selling soap to your family and friends.  Here are the simple ABC’s of working at home so hopefully you don’t have to learn the hard way, (like I had to.)

 A.  Figure out a budget.    This is the hardest part, I think.  It varies on your personal situation.  Obviously, a single mom will have a different strategy than the wife of a CEO who just wants a little cash for her mad money jar.  One woman decided on the delivery table with her first child that she wasn’t returning to work, much to the panic of her husband.  But, after the birth was over, they sat down, determined approximately how much money they could survive on a tight budget, and figured out how much she would have to bring in. 

 1.  An addendum to this is:  You can get by on a lot less than you think!  Eat oatmeal for breakfast, meal plan for the week, cancel the cable, sell the second or third car, get rid of the wine habit…if it’s expendable, toss it!  Scratch that; Sell it!

           

B.  Look for (and get) a work at home job.  The next thing this brave young couple did was to find a work from home job.  These are also         referred to as telecommute jobs.  There are a number of ways to do this, the best way being the internet.  There are scores of sites dedicated to helping moms get jobs from home.  www.IncMoms.com is one of them.  They post work at home, (WAH), jobs every day, and they don’t charge anything to access them.  Check these sites every day, as you never know what you’re going to find.  You can get jobs working as a virtual assistant, a customer care representative, a transcriber, a translator, an appointment setter, a sales representative, and let us not forget, a writer.  The pay varies from job to job, so finding one that fits your talents, time and financial needs could take awhile.

  1. Look out for scams!  There are lots and lots and lots of them out there.  A general rule of thumb goes like this: if they ask you for money, they are a scam.  In all of my experience as a work at home researcher, I have only encountered one legitimate job that asks for money, and that goes towards a background check.  Also, don’t work for anyone that wants you to transfer money in your account, or anything weird like that.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Here is a page with articles and links about WAH Scams.  You will not, I repeat, you will not get rich working from home.  However, you will get an unbelievable amount of satisfaction from being able to stay at home with your angels.  If you feel more comfortable applying for an established company, there's a list here.

 

  1.  Now that you have the job, stake your place.  And time, that is.  Take the desk in the den, or the basement, or the kitchen table after breakfast.  Just claim it as your workspace so that every time you go there, you are motivated to work.  Also, be aware of your most productive hours.  Being a work at home mom is a dance.  I’m dancing between naptime and playgroups and chores…somehow, the work gets done.

 

  1. Prioritize the kiddies.  This is a major one.  It makes no sense to work at home if you’re always on the computer or the phone and unable to interact with the kids.  So, sometimes that means turning off the computer because it’s a sunny day and putting off the work until after everyone’s in bed.  Organization is the key to being successful at this.  Take advantage of naps, school, moments of exploration, be flexible and you’ll be fine.

Some Helpful Hints

            *Check your emails at night, otherwise you’ll be on the computer all day.  Trust me on this one. 

*Meal plan and remember that your crock pot is your best friend.  If you don’t have one, I always see them at local thrift stores.  Check out www.allrecipes.com for easy ideas.  I use them all the time.  Read the reviews to get a good idea on how the recipe turns out.  Also, their 20 for 20 article is a must read for money saving home cooked meal planning. 

*Use your kids to help your chores.  They’ll get a kick out of being useful and spending time with their mom. 

 Last of all, just stay sane.  If you feel overloaded, renegotiate what is necessary and has to be done and what can go out the window.  Some days you just won’t be able to (gasp) get that workout in.  Jump around with the kids and call it a wash.  Remember, we’re parents, multitasking is our middle name!