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Growing a home business while you’re raising kids isn’t always easy. In fact, there are common work at home mom struggles you’re sure to face. Here are ten of them, plus tips for surviving them.
Starting my own business has completely changed my life. But, trying to grow a business while raising a family isn’t always cupcakes and rainbows.
It’s tough. And requires legitimate hard work and planning.
I’m discovering that only sharing the pleasant side of being a work at home mom isn’t fair to others who are trying to get started. They might get the wrong mental picture about what life as a WAHM looks like, and then get totally discouraged when reality strikes and they struggle.
When things get tough, remember this:
You are not a failure. You can do this.
Here are the ten common struggles. Keep reading to find out how to handle them:
- Letting Your Business Take Over Your Life
- Feeling Isolated
- Feeling Guilty
- Sitting Down All the Time
- Dealing with Shiny Object Syndrome
- Handling the Noise During Client Phone Calls
- Bouncing Back from Interruptions
- Comparing Yourself to Others
- Wanting to Quit
- Worrying That You Are Ruining Your Kids
1. Letting Your Business Take Over Your Life
Your business is often the first thing you think of when you wake up. And typically it’s the last thing on your mind when you head to bed.
Whenever you have a free minute, you want to grab your phone and do something:
- Send a pitch
- Respond to an email
- Post on social media
- Like all the posts from major influencers
- Participate in social share threads
And on and on. Your business is never done. And since you don’t have a boss telling you to shut off the computer and head home, often you don’t.
Not being able to separate yourself from your business is a common work at home mom struggle.
You Need Boundaries
If you feel like you’re working ALL THE TIME, you need to stop. You will quickly burnout if you don’t get the rest you need.
If this is you, you must set boundaries for your business. You need to define break times, when you definitely will not be doing business.
You need to put your phone down during family time and enjoy the people in your life.
Your business will still be there when you get back, and you will be refreshed and ready to dive back in.
For more information on setting healthy boundaries as a work at home mom, read this post:
2. Feeling Isolated
Let’s be honest – not everyone understands that you are legitimately working when you’re on your computer. For many people, the concept of earning money from home seems like a complicated scam.
Your kids won’t see it as a scam, but they will wonder why in the world you’ve started spending WAY more time on your phone or computer. They may even shut the power off on you when you’re in the middle of writing a client post…
(Tell me it’s not just my kids who have done stuff like that!)
Making money online from home is legit, but when your family doesn’t seem to get it, it’s hard.
That disconnect can lead to feelings of isolation – like you’re all alone in your pursuit to follow your passions and pursue your dreams.
You Need to Get Your Family On Board & Make Connections with Other WAHMs
Thankfully you are not alone. And, you can help your family understand.
But, it will take intentional education. You must not get defensive, but rather help them to share your vision. Let your big dreams shine through you so they can’t help but get on board.
And, make it a point to connect with other moms in the trenches. Find other mompreneurs who are struggling and lean on each other. It helps to have someone who gets it in your corner!
For more information on overcoming isolation and helping your family get on board with your family, read these posts:
3. Feeling Guilty
Seriously, there is so much mom guilt it’s crazy. No matter what you do, someone is going to tell you how wrong you are and why you are wrong.
If you’re working on your business you feel guilty you’re not focusing on your kids. If you’re spending time with the kids, there’s nagging feelings about all the things you should be doing for your business.
Not to mention the housework…
And the cooking…
And all the Pinterest projects you pinned for “someday” that you feel you really should get to….
It’s insane how much pressure is on women. And that pressure leads to unhealthy levels of stress and guilty.
To survive the constant mom guilt, there is one thing you must understand.
Mompreneur Guilt Hates Truth
You must speak truth to combat the lies mompreneur guilt is telling you.
You cannot do it all. And, you are doing the best that you can.
Spend some time in prayer. Contemplate what expectations you have for yourself and find areas where you can give yourself grace.
Guilt fights more when it feels like it’s winning, so don’t let it. For more specific help overcoming mompreneur guilt, check out this post:
4. Sitting Down All the Time
Trying to grow a business from home often involves a lot of sitting in front of your computer or your phone. There’s just so much to do, and when you get a few minutes, you take advantage of it.
But, sitting for much of the day isn’t good for you. It can cause health problems and get you out of shape in a hurry!
Yet, when you’re running on fumes from waking up with kids in the night and folding endless batches of laundry, it’s easy to just want to sit some more.
Be Intentional About Moving
The good news? You can incorporate more movement into your day. But, it will take being intentional.
And sometimes you need a little extra motivation.
Get up and have a dance party with the kids. Challenge everyone to not stop moving until the song is over. It’ll be good for you all!
Try moving your laptop to the kitchen counter so you can stand while you work. Every little bit helps when you’re trying to not sit so much.
If you’re in a movement rut, ask your kids to help you brainstorm ways to get moving. I’ve discovered my kids are full of ideas!
5. Dealing with Shiny Object Syndrome
There are tons of amazing tools, resources, and services to help you grow your business. And sometimes, they really call your name.
You’re chugging along doing just fine, and then you hear about funnels. So now you’re diving deep, buying one course after another. And spending money to pay for software.
While you’re still in learning mode, you hear something about rebellion marketing. And begin to wonder if you should ditch the funnels and do that instead.
Or you’ve been doing just fine on Pinterest. You’re getting traffic back to you blog, gaining followers, and really seeing some traction.
And then you hear about this other big blogger. And all the success she is finding on Instagram. So you decide to stop focusing so much on Pinterest and go figure out IG. You get lost on the stories and look for blog posts and courses. You follow so many influencers. And no matter how hard you try, you can’t get any traffic back to your blog.
So now you wonder why you’re a failure and why you can’t succeed at anything. Or you decide to buy more courses to try and figure out the “secret” to IG growth.
And now you’re paying for a ton of learning and you aren’t actually seeing traction. In the meantime, your business actually stalls because you’re too busy chasing shining objects to focus on what was working.
Be Careful How Many Voices You’re Listening To
There are tons of people making money from home. There are so many voices you can listen to.
But, if someone’s voice causes you to feel distracted or pressured to change what’s working, perhaps you shouldn’t be listening to that particular person.
You have the power to unsubscribe. And unfollow. You do not have to listen to everyone.
If you try to, you will go insane. You will constantly be chasing one shiny object after another.
So, be careful who you let influence you. Pick a couple of voices who you identify with, and don’t spend as much time caring about what anyone else says.
There will always be new things. And you will definitely make changes in your business over time.
But, it should always be because YOU want to, not because someone else told you to.
For more information on not changing things that are working, check out this post:
6. Handling the Noise During Client Phone Calls
What is it about you being on the phone (or a video call!) that makes the house volume level automatically go up?
Just when you need it to be the most quiet, there’s fighting and bickering and asking for another popsicle or something. And that’s definitely not the professional image you want to portray for your clients.
Have a Plan
I personally try to avoid as many calls as I can. But, they do come up occasionally.
So, if you have a client call scheduled, you need to have a plan. A plan to keep the noise at bay and your children engaged.
Here are some things you can try as you figure out what kind of plan works best for you:
- Scheduling during quiet time/nap time
- Arranging for evening meetings when someone else can be in charge
- Paying your older child a small bit of money to engage the little ones for the call
- Turning on the TV
- Getting them settled with an activity
- Having the call in a location with a closed door
I also recommend having practice calls to help your kids get used to what you expect. Have “phone call drills” where you spend a few minutes preparing your kids and taking care of last minutes needs. Then, go into your designated phone call space and hang out there for 10-15 minutes.
If your kids stay quiet until you’re back, give them a small reward. Perhaps you take a trip to the park or make some chocolate chip cookies.
When you have a plan and teach your kids how to follow the plan, it really works out much better. Of course, you may still have some noise during the call. But, hopefully not on every single one…
For more tips on dealing with client phone calls in a busy house, see this post:
7. Bouncing Back from the Interruptions
Dirty diapers. Kids asking for snacks. The dog needing to go outside. Phone calls. Squabbles.
So many interruptions happen on a daily basis. When you’re trying to grow a business from home while also raising a family, interruptions are definitely a challenge.
They stop your work flow. They make you lose your train of thought. And they interrupt the task that you were planning on working on.
But, they are a very normal part of life. So, it’s best to learn how to handle them when they happen instead of wasting precious brain power and energy on getting mad.
Plan for Interruptions
Unless you’re working really early in the morning or late at night when all the kids are actually sleeping, you should probably plan on being interrupted while you work. It’s just going to happen.
You can take steps to minimize the interruptions, and help your kids learn about work time and play time. But, life happens and things don’t always go according to plans.
So, if you have an “interruptions are going to happen” attitude, you can get back to work a lot more cheerily and quickly after one does. It won’t shock you to your core, because you are expecting it.
And hey – if you happen to get through a work period without an interruption, that’s just an added bonus!
To help you plan for interruptions, always give yourself margin. Add buffer time to your deadlines and if you think something will take you half an hour, plan on it taking an hour.
This extra time will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed. It’ll help you plan a realistic amount of work each day and not a pipe dream amount.
Also, remembering your why helps. Why are you dealing with all these work at home mom struggles? What’s driving your forward even when it gets tough?
For me, it’s my kids. I want to be here with them not off working in a classroom teaching a bunch of other people’s kids.
And so, remembering that why helps me get my priorities straight. My kids are my why – and they are worth a little bit of time and attention. Even when it’s at an inopportune time.
Focus on that why when interruptions happen. It’ll help you stay motivated to deal with the interruption and get back to work.
And for more help dealing with interruptions as a work at home mom, read this post:
8. Comparing Yourself to Others
There is always going to be someone doing better than you. With the rise in work at home moms, you can easily get stuck playing the comparison game.
You may think things like:
- She started her blog a year after me, how’s she got so much traffic already?
- I must be doing something wrong – I’m not making as much money as she is.
- Should I just quit now? I’m not as good as any of these other people.
- How come her house is so perfect when mine’s over here looking like the trash can and toy box exploded?
Comparisons don’t just have to be about your business to be wrong. Anytime you start wishing you had what someone else did, it’s not a good place to be.
Once you start down the slippery slope of comparison, it can be hard to stop. You will notice more and more “evidence” that you really are a failure and you’ll build a solid case against yourself. The longer you spend comparing, the harder it’ll be to snap out of it.
So, you need to recognize the dangers of comparing yourself to others, and embrace the unique path that God has placed you on.
You Are You
Do you know what sets you apart from all of the other businesses out there?
Just being you. You are the only company that can offer you. Your voice matters.
When you start feeling inadequate compared to someone else, try thinking on these things instead:
- My kids love me
- I may be taking baby steps, but at least I’m moving forward
- Social media photos are not reality – they can be staged!
- I have a unique set of skills and talents to share with the world
- The tortoise won in the end…
As a work at home mom with kids in the house, you cannot put in the hours that other people do. Your progress will likely feel like a snail could outrun you at times.
But, if you keep taking consistent steps forward, you will get to a pretty fabulous place. Do not give up. And do not compare your journey to the path that others take.
Now, it’s true that maybe there are things you need to improve on. If you recognize something as a true problem, it’s worth diving into.
But not in a “so I can do this like ____ ” kind of a way. Instead, it should be in a “so I can do my best” kind of way.
9. Wanting to Quit
Have you ever felt like throwing in the towel and just giving up on your work at home mom dreams?
I know I have! Many times I’ve contemplated going back to the classroom. I’ve even applied for a couple of them…
Thankfully the Lord closed those doors and I didn’t get them. He knew all along that pretty soon I’d be able to bring my husband home.
But I didn’t always see that path. I just saw a lot of failures. And slow progress.
And when you combine that with late nights and early mornings, you’ve got a surefire recipe for defeat.
When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed…Take a Break
If you’re feeling totally overwhelmed and ready to give up, let me encourage you – you can do this.
But, you may need to step back for a day or two and get some rest. Take care of yourself.
And when you come back, you may be amazed at how much better you feel about the whole situation. It’s amazing what a little self care and rest can do.
When you’re in a better space mentally, take time to analyze your business. Are there parts you need to shift or stop? Are there tasks that you can outsource?
Changing directions is not quitting. It’s pivoting. And sometimes, that’s what you need to do.
For more tips on how to cope when you’re ready to quit, read this post:
10. Worrying that You Are Ruining Your Kids
This work at home mom struggle is similar to mom guilt, but it’s different enough that it deserves its own space.
When you’re spending time on your business, you’re not spending time with your kids. And when you see all the pictures of moms playing with their kids on Instagram and read the posts on Facebook about the importance of being there for your kids… and sometimes you can start to wonder if you’re going to ruin your kids by working.
After all, you’re busy with your business and can’t do all the housework. They have to pitch in!
And you can’t entertain them all the time, so you make them play by themselves (or together.)
In today’s culture, these things can make you feel like a bad mom. Like you’re not doing enough for your kids and they’re going to grow up scarred.
If you’re worried that you’re ruining your kids by having a business, it’s time for some more truth.
Your Kids Benefit from Having a Hard Working Mom!
When you start to feel like you’re ruining your kids, just remind yourself why your business is good for them. You are teaching your kids:
- How to work hard
- That your passion can be profitable
- That you don’t have to “go” to work everyday to generate an income
- How to be responsible
- How to pitch in
And so many more things. You are not ruining your kids by expecting them to pitch in and help. You are raising them like women did for centuries – preparing them for adulthood.
Just think – when your kids graduate from high school, they’ll have an #adulting head start. They will know how to cook and clean and do laundry.
And most important, they will know that they can create their own job to take them wherever they want to go.
Wondering how else your kids benefit from your business? Read these posts:
You Will Deal with Work at Home Mom Struggles
As a work at home mom, you will struggle. You may face these ten challenges, or some entirely different.
But, if you speak truth and focus on the things you have control over, you can overcome a lot.
You really can run a successful business while raising a family! So go out there and tell your struggles that they aren’t going to win. That you aren’t going to quit. And go do big things mama! You’ve got this.