Guilty as charged when it comes to being on social media too much. Scrolling through Facebook and Instagram can be a fun and great way to connect with people, especially when schedules get the best of us. But when most of what is displayed on our feeds are everyone’s highlight reels and “best of” moments, it’s easy to fall into the comparison trap and think that the grass is always greener on the other side.
Comparison Is The Thief of Joy
Sometimes I feel that way about being a work-at-home mom (WAHM). That sinking feeling of having two jobs at the same time (mom and entrepreneur), yet not being “good enough” at both of them. There are times when I feel like I’m trapped in a comic book time loop – managing the home, our helpers, writing e-mails, crunching numbers, and teaching my kids the same lesson for the nth time, day in and day out. At times, I honestly miss the days of singlehood, the freedom of traveling and going on adventures without much responsibilities.
There’s also the matter of looking over to other friends who have corporate jobs, enjoying business travel and claiming all sorts of accolades, among other benefits to boot. Their kids’ vaccinations are paid for, and all their pregnancy checkups with their OB and the actual delivery are covered! (Our insurance doesn’t cover for pregnancy-related expenses, and going on our 3rd child now, these things add up.). I also miss having an “office best friend”, since I just talk to my kids and helpers most of the time.
Even though Mati and Hannah mean the world to me, there are days when I feel isolated evein with a house full of people. I have a great group of friends who I can chat with on Vibe, but still feel a deep sense of anxiety and cabin fever, and on occasion get “crazy eyes”, thinking will this be my life forever?
My husband gently reminds me to reset my perspective, and that there is a season for everything. I’m writing this post as a reminder to myself of the blessing of being a WAHM. That this is a time of my life that I’ll never get back and that I have so much to be grateful for.
If you’re a WAHM, or thinking of becoming one, here are the things I appreciate about what the WAHM life.
1. Flexible Schedule
Since both Albert and I have our own businesses, I appreciate that we can take short vacations during weekdays without having to ask anyone’s permission. We recently went on a short 3-day beach vacation at Anvaya, leaving on a Tuesday afternoon. First off, there was no traffic! Secondly, I was so surprised that we were practically the only guests there, having the beach, pool and all the facilities to ourselves.
I read some negative reviews about the resort on TripAdvisor, claiming that the service quality was low, but when we were there everyone was so welcoming and helpful. Albert says it’s probably because there are no people, which would not be the case on a weekday or a holiday. We agreed that it was a great idea to go on pocket vacations during weekdays, and that we would do it again for sure.
On a day-to-day basis, my usual work hours are 3 to 4 hours per day. I work on my own clock, which can be advantageous and problematic at the same time, if I let my moods get the best of me. The rest of the time is all for my family and household.
2. Extra Income
I am thankful that the baby business I started with my partner Sheena has helped us earn extra income for our households since day 1. Albert is the main provider of our family, and anything else I earn is treated as bonus savings. In our marriage we share our finances, but I feel empowered and happy when I get to bless and surprise Albert with stuff or experiences he is too busy or too selfless to think for himself.
My faith goal for our company in the long term is for us to make it an internationally-known brand. Secondly, that earnings from Bonjour Baby will be eventually be able to fully cover for our household expenses and vacations, so that everything Albert will earn will be for long-term savings for the kids or any new business we would want to start.
As a startup, we are far from being in the Top 1000 corporations list. I am proud and humbled to have reached so many milestones in our two years of being in business, all by God’s grace.
3. Home Management, Getting to Know Our Helpers
I am not a Martha Stewart, Pinterest-peg kind of homemaker-decorator. But I like our house to be as neat and clean as possible, with everything having a place of its own. It’s really a learning process for a noob like me, coordinating everything and making sure that everything is filed, organized and complete, while everyone is healthy and fed. It’s a no-brainer to some awesome moms out there, but not for me. At least as a WAHM, I have more time to be on top of my responsibilities. – groceries, bank stuff, filing an endless amount of papers, Konmari-ing, running errands, and all the little things that need to be done.
Getting To Know Yaya and Ate
Being at home most of the time, I also appreciate getting to know our helpers at a more personal level. It’s one of our prayers for all our helpers to have a personal relationship with Jesus, and through listening to their stories and struggles, we have been able to share about what Christ has done in our own lives, and also to invite them to church.
On the flipside, being with our household helpers also helps me to see who is a good fit for our home and who to ask to leave. Basically, to judge their character by what they do, and not believe in just what they say. When you’re with someone a whole lot, it’s hard to keep living a lie, and I have seen some helpers reveal their true selves a few days or weeks in to their work.
An added bonus is that being home most of the time, we are less fearful when overdramatic helpers threaten to leave, and can take them up on their threats. Because honestly, I’d rather be physically exhausted with housework, get behind work tasks than live with a diva with a bad attitude who thinks she is indispensable.
4. Digital Everything
It’s ironic that one of my complaints being a WAHM is being stuck at home, but to be honest, it’s actually one of the reasons why I love working from home too. No traffic, no outdoor heat (summer is particularly brutal), and everything I need is just a few steps away.
Though I sometimes miss face-to-face conversations, I also like the convenience of being able to interact with customers and suppliers in digitally (get replies instantly), and avoid office politics.
5. Being With My Kids More
Saving the best for last, as much as I ramble about the two toddlers who are fighting over one toy when there are five others just like it beside them, I love being with Mati and Hannah. To be honest, it’s actually more for me since they won’t probably remember most of what we do, but as a mom, I love to look back and reminisce on our memories together – the funny, frustrating, and everything in between. I can’t wait to see how adding shoti to the mix would make things crazier, and have more stories to share with Albert when he comes from work.
No Place Like Home
I like singing Paw Patrol’s theme song with Mati (No job is too big, no pup is too small!), or watching Hannah run around and hide herself behind the curtains to surprise me. It’s also reassuring for Albert because he likes that I am the one bringing and fetching Mati from school, apart from getting to know Mati’s friends and arranging playdates with them.
There’s a saying that quality time is more important than quantity time, and it’s really true. But if you can have both, then it’s even a greater blessing. Spending time with the kids helps me learn about who they are, and how to pray for them.
God’s WAHM Confirmation
I still carry doubts, though. And those bouts with discontentment come and go.
But God has blessed me with magic moments when I least expect it. Signs of His faithfulness that I am right where I need to be. There would be times for both Mati and Hannah, I would think to myself it’s been a while since I’ve heard them giggle uncontrollably, and without explanation I would do something uncharacteristic or unplanned that would cause either to burst out laughing.
No matter how tired or frustrated I am, when Mati whispers “I love you Mommy” before his afternoon nap, or asks to read the Bible, it’s all worth it.
To everything, there is a season is a verse in Ecclesiastes that I run back to every time. I still miss traveling and having more personal time. But I know one day, I will miss the times when my kids follow me to the bathroom to watch me do my business. There’s this overused church lingo that says we should always be at the center of God’s will. Basically, it just means to be where God has placed you to be at this time. And when everyone is asleep (and snoring), and I reflect about how my day has been, I can’t deny that for now, this is where He wants me to be.