A little history about me:
I've always been free-spirited. When I was a teenager I decided that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. In high school I discovered that I could earn extra cash online by taking surveys. In college I learned about mystery shopping. I had tried a few internet work-from-home programs, but none of it really suited me. I loved to write, but had a hard time trying to determine how I should go about pursuing it. I came across independent contractor opportunities in a variety of industries. Several years of mishaps (and very expensive lessons) later and here I am writing this post in my living room while my toddler is dancing front of the television to the tune of a song on one of her favorite cartoons.
Oh, the freedom! I love being a mother. My daughter has brought so much joy into my life and in some ways, I'd venture to say that she saved it. In her two short years on Earth so far I've learned more than I could imagine about life in general. However, I'd be lying to myself if I said I didn't sometimes miss being able to come and go as freely as I could before I became a mother. Good times.
I had this issue, that parenthood works to remedy on a daily basis, of losing focus. After all, as much as I craved success the only person I was responsible for feeding was myself. The daily distractions of internet, television, and overall single person-hood is plenty to keep you from achieving your goals. Not really. Actually, although my bank accounts couldn't account for it at the time, I was pretty successful. In terms of finances, I had dug myself into a hole making a couple of really questionable decisions. In terms of experience and material gains, I couldn't have asked for a better life.
I look back on my successes as a mystery shopper and field inspector. I maintained a part-time job while I worked independently and I was able to support myself and have a ton of fun doing it. How many people can say that they got paid to go to the movies, eat at nice restaurant and play mini-golf? Not all mystery shops were fun. Some were outright boring and tedious. Trust, that it is work, though not the traditional 9 to 5.
Along with those fun times came hours of reports to complete,
photos to upload and miles to drive. But, I was only responsible for myself.
Me, myself and I. No need to secure childcare. No need to pack a travel bag
full of diapers, wipes and sippy cups. If I spent my last dollar, that was
alright because I knew I wouldn't starve. If a job didn't work out, it sucked,
but it was alright because I could easily cut back on things unnecessary for me
to thrive. No wi-fi at home? Starbucks is about two miles away. I could stay in
there all day long and smell the coffee while I surfed the internet.
Staying in Starbucks all day long isn't as feasible as it used it be. I have to plan ahead of time when I want to go somewhere, even to work because I have to secure childcare before I leave. Mystery shopping isn't as feasible or profitable as it once was for me, partially because I have to be much stricter with my budget (baby needs come before anything else) and I can't take on mystery shops that are far away. As a matter of fact, even having my part-time job outside of the home can be challenging some days due to conflicting childcare schedules.
I have a small desk set-up in my bedroom, but I barely use it. Why? Because I can't isolate myself from my toddler. Even if I'm not interacting with her, we have to stay within each other's line of vision. She doesn't like to be alone and I like to make sure she doesn't hurt herself or destroy the apartment. My child is pretty well-behaved for the most part. She has her days when she's extremely moody. There's some days when she chooses to be nice and let Mommy work on her blog. Those days are awesome!
Looking at the challenges of working, either from home or outside of the home, and being a single parent I had to start thinking outside of the box. How could I be successful, clean up some of the mess from past bad decisions and be an active mother at the same time? Well, for the past few months I've invested a great deal of time into blogging and self-publishing my first book. If I know nothing else, I can tell a pretty good story. So, I spend my time outside of work pursuing what comes natural to me, writing.
Regardless of whether I'm at home or away, I'm working and when I work there's an undeniable fact that I'm still away from my child in some capacity. Most of my creativity occurs at night after my child is in bed, but if I'm home during the day, there's a strong possibility I'm spending a significant amount of time on the computer. Sometimes I have to force myself to pull away to watch a few minutes of cartoons with her or singing songs or tickling her.
The balance between work and personal time before was essentially non-existent. Either I was working or relaxing. There was no in-between, though the majority of my time was spent working. Now, there's still no balance. Either I'm working on something and engaging in mommy duties or I'm doing nothing. Since I'm never doing nothing, I'm still always working, though I now work with more purpose and clearer, more defined goals.
So, I said all of that to say, before I became a mother, working from home wasn't a breeze. It took discipline and, admittedly, I struggled with that many days because the consequences weren't as dire as they are now. Still, I had a lot of great experiences that I wouldn't trade for the world. Working from home as a mother is still difficult, but I have a delightful child who lights up my life. Distractions exist regardless of your responsibilities. Sometimes it just necessary to reassess your priorities.
© LeTara Moore, All Rights Reserved
Tags: "work from home" "motherhood" "self-employed" "balance"
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