I was having a pity party. My supposed-to-be perfect life being a work at home mom wasn’t so perfect after all.
It had been a rough evening for me with my pre-teen son. I hadn’t finished my never-ending To-Do list as a result, and I felt as if I was falling far behind my self-imposed deadline to finally become a successful work at home mom.
Now, I sat going over all the reasons why my life should be easier:
- I had given up a thriving career to stay home with my children.
- My husband had passed away unexpectedly, leaving me to raise two children on my own.
- I prayed daily and was a relatively good person.
- I worked hard daily putting in extra hours for my work from home jobs and home business.
So with all of this, I asked, Why me?
Don’t I deserve a break? Haven’t I earned a better life? This was not what I had expected.
The Realities of Being a Work at Home Mom
When making the decision to become a work at home mom, many don’t realize there can be a dark side to it.
When we look at our favorite bloggers or influencers online, we’re tempted to get star-struck by the glamour and seemingly easy lifestyle they lead.
We want to believe that they achieved all of that without much effort or disappointments.
So then, when our journey doesn’t quite look like theirs–when our beginning doesn’t measure up to their grand finale–we get discouraged. Oftentimes, we even give up.
How can we overcome this obsession with comparison?
How do we recognize that when things get difficult, it doesn’t mean we’re heading for failure?
And how do we learn to stop holding ourselves to an unrealistic standard that not even God holds us to?
Let’s start by first identifying the dark traps we set for ourselves and along the way we’ll discover the solutions to overcome them.
Traps We Set (And Ways to Break Free)
Have you heard of that word? Let me share my definition of it: the relentless pursuit of more–more money, more things, more recognition.
It causes people to make poor choices and ultimately sacrifice those things that were once top priority to them.
Here’s what it looks like as a work-at-home mom: You want to work from home so you can be there for your kids.
But you eventually find yourself focusing on, worrying about, spending the majority of your time on your work.
Yes, you still love your kids, but you find yourself pursuing the work–and the money it will bring–more.
In your mind’s eye, you just want the best for your family. You want to succeed in order to provide the needed extra income for bills and necessities.
These desires aren’t inherently bad.
But here’s the thing that makes it my definition of affluenza: you begin to pursue the “success” and forget who you’re called to serve and why you’re working from home in the first place.
This trap of affluenza is a very slippery slope. No one sets out to go there.
But step by step, as you’re looking around and comparing your progress with others’ journies, you can fall prey to it.
Resist the temptation to focus on how much money your blog or work from home is or isn’t making.
Instead, focus on the needs of your target audience.
Who are you trying to help? What do they need? Does your content or products or service solve their greatest needs?
How can you ease their fears or greatest needs? Does what you offer help them become better versions of themselves?
If you need to refocus your efforts, then pause and do that.
Get clear on who you are targeting with your blog or business, figure out their greatest needs, and then make a plan to meet those needs.
When you take the focus off of yourself and what you want, and instead start to focus on others, you will see this dark side of affluenza starting to fade away.
Just remember that contentment is destroyed by comparison.Roz Walker
Let’s do away with this comparison thing and Instead, focus on others.
Now, what about your family?
In the midst of your work life, where does your family fit in? Do they feel valued and listened to? Are their needs met? Do they get adequate time with you?
Where are they in your list of priorities? Do they come before your business?
Listen, Mama. I get it. It’s not easy to balance all the things we have on our plates, but it is possible.
- Start by identifying the times in your day that require you to be there for your family.
- Next, look for times that are open for you to schedule in your work.
- Then, sit down with your family and review your schedule with them. Ask for their help in giving you the time and explain why it’s important to you.
- Post your schedule where everyone can see it and then stick to your plan as far as possible. This block schedule for busy moms will help you create your ideal plan.
2. UnPrepared for the Challenge of Being a Work at Home Mom
When I first came home from my career job, I got started in direct sales. My goal was to reach the team milestones as soon as possible.
So I listened to the leaders in the business tell how they made calls to family members and friends. I took notes when they shared how they put fliers in their neighborhood. And I listened in on calls and copied the scripts they used.
And I got excited when they shared how by doing all of this, they quickly became leaders with top awards.
I can do that, I thought. So I talked to family and friends. I put my children in a stroller and went around my neighborhood, sticking flyers on mailboxes. And I visited local businesses and convinced them to put my business cards and postcards in their stores.
I was driven and relentless.
But after a month or two of doing all of this, I didn’t see the results I was expecting. I expected to have more income than I did.
What was I doing wrong? I was doing what the leaders did, but I wasn’t making “leader” money.
I got discouraged because it wasn’t happening as fast as I thought it should.
Success in any type of home business can take time. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen. It just means you have to put work and time into it.
You have to expect that you’re going to have some challenges. Money is not gonna flow right away for most of us.
And if you don’t expect those challenges, you can quickly get discouraged and stop before you realize success.
So what’s the solution?
Make a contract with yourself that you will not quit until you have given it at least 18 months.
Write it down, sign it, date it, and then post your contract where you can see it.
Here’s one you can use:
(Click on image to download)
Now follow that up with hard, persevering effort. That means you keep listening to those training calls. You keep taking the courses. Keep passing out the flyers. And keep doing those things your mentors are telling you to do.
Implement what you learn, day in and day out. You take the steps that move you forward even when you don’t see immediate results.
Just trust in the process.
Find a good mentor or business coach. Find one person in your field who is knowledgeable and follow their advice.
And as you learn from your mentors, apply what you learn. It’s up to you. It’s not their responsibility to get you success.
You have to apply every technique you learn and trust the process that has worked for those further along on the journey.
Being a work at home mom isn’t easy. You will perhaps have to work harder than you’ve ever worked in your entire life. But it will be worth it if you don’t quit.
Make a business plan for your next 18 months, detailing what you will do and what you expect each month. Commit to it and don’t give up.
Now let’s get practical with this next dark side – distractions. Working from home can be a blessing. But it can also be challenging.
Everywhere you look around you, there’s a distraction. There are dishes to wash, laundry to fold, and cleaning to be done. And concentrating on work can become challenging when you are constantly bombarded with tasks needing to be done.
Plan ahead and create a schedule that includes time for both household and business tasks. Write it down (the block schedule is great for that) and hold yourself accountable for sticking to your schedule.
If you’re a blogger then this printable blog planner will help you organize your blogging tasks so that you get more done by staying focused.
Be sure to block out time for work that isn’t high traffic or high interruption time. For instance, you may not want to block out time to work during the hours your kids first get home from school.
Maybe it’s quiet in your home first thing in the morning. So you may plan that after your morning devotion time, you will block out 2 – 3 hours to work on your business.
Some things may have to get done during naptime or at bedtime. No matter when, honor your time by managing it well and you’ll soon see the results.
If you worked outside the home, then you’re used to being around other people during the day. However, when you work from home, your co-workers are your children, your spouse, and anyone else who lives in your home.
The lack of non-family adult coworkers to talk with each day can quickly leave you feeling alone and unmotivated.
Being a work at home mom doesn’t have to mean being lonely. You can find plenty of opportunities to network online, or in your local community.
If you’re doing direct sales, maybe your upline has a Facebook group. Or if you’re a blogger, there are plenty of online blogging groups.
Find an opportunity to network with those who have common interests and are doing a similar type of work. This will help you feel more connected. It will also provide you with a place to ask questions, seek advice, and just vent when things get challenging.
Don’t forget your church and other communities around you. These are great places to connect with others and break up that sense of isolation. Find your niche and take advantage of the different avenues to meet and connect with others.
5. Shiny Object Syndrome
The shiny object syndrome is another dark side of being a work at home mom. I’m sure you’ve heard of this. It’s when you have one thing that’s just right for you, but you start chasing after everything shiny that comes into view.
How does this look in a home business? It happens when you start down one path for your work from home–whether it’s blogging, a type of home business, or direct sales–and you get started with a lot of motivation and determination.
Then it starts to get a little challenging, or a little hard to understand, or you’re not moving at a pace that you think you should.
So you start to look around, and you hear that other moms are making more money more quickly in that type of direct sales business.
Or you see bloggers in that niche are making more sales from their blogs. Or someone tells you that you should get a work at home job and not even try to start your own home business because it’s too hard.
And as you look around, you start to doubt yourself. You start to doubt what you’ve begun, and you start to pursue something that looks shinier than what you have right now.
There will always be something that looks better than what you have. There will always be different advice for the same thing. And there are many different paths to success. One isn’t necessarily better than another.
You have to just trust the process with the one you’ve chosen. Remember, you chose it for a reason. Give it time.
If you jump from business to business, you’ll never gain the momentum to keep moving forward to ultimately reach your goal.
Here are your steps:
- Do your research,
- Make a decision on which path you’re going to take (here’s how to discover God’s vision for your home business and life),
- Stick with that decision for the duration of your contract–that 18 months we talked about,
- And apply what you learn relentlessly.
Again, refuse to quit.
And it may seem like an eternity. But if you keep going, even when it gets challenging, you will see results.
6. Copycat Syndrome
Similar to the shiny object syndrome is the dark side of the copycat syndrome. This dark side afflicts us in a lot of different areas of life, not just in working from home.
It sneaks in when you start to compare your progress with others’. And as you’re on your journey, and you’re following those who are successful in your chosen field, you may get the temptation to copy exactly what they do.
It’s one thing to take their advice and apply it to your own situation, or your own work from home. But when you try to do exactly what they’re doing, copying their words and copying their style, you’ll soon find out that it won’t work for you.
You see, God made us each unique. He made us one of a kind. We each have to be authentic in our work from home.
You cannot be like anyone else because it’s not who you were created to be. The secret to a successful home business or work from home is authenticity.
By maintaining your authenticity, you’ll draw those who you were designed to serve. You have a unique perspective. And there’s a group of people out there looking for that perspective.
So if you aren’t sharing your unique perspective with the world, you’re denying someone the message they need to hear.
And you’re missing out on being a blessing to others and serving in the way you were meant to serve.
So, what’s the solution to this? It’s finding your voice. Discover your strengths. Determine what you’re gifted to do.
And then figure out how your uniqueness can be shown in your work from home. Do it in a way that’s authentic to you and not to look like someone else.
7. Burnout from being a work at home mom
Burnout is one of the most common dark sides among work-at-home moms.
Starting, growing, and building a home business or working from home takes hard work, dedicated time, and effort. Oftentimes, you’re waking up early and staying up late to grow your business. And burning the candle on both ends can quickly lead to low energy, discouragement, and ultimately burnout.
Give yourself permission to take a well-deserved break. In your block schedule, schedule in time for self-care. Arrange with your spouse, or relative, or a friend to get a few hours each week for alone time. Or spend it doing something you love.
Maybe it’s a shopping trip for a couple of hours with a friend. Or maybe it’s an hour soaking in the tub while listening to music.
Whatever it is, schedule some time for yourself to relax and rejuvenate. It will give you a new perspective and the energy you need to grow your business.
So there you have it. The common dark sides for work at home moms, but some solutions to help you overcome them. I encourage you to either use these solutions or come up with your own to thrive in your work from home.