Becoming a Work-At-Home Mom: In the Beginning… (Part 1)

I am a firm believer that, with God’s blessings and lots of hard work, anyone can successfully work from home. However, I will be the first to tell you that working from home is just that–it’s work.
I’m by nature a positive person but I won’t sugar-coat the truth when
it comes to working from home: if you are not prepared to put in lots
and lots and lots of time and effort, working from home won’t work for you.

I’m sure many moms could look at me and want what I have–the
ability to make a good income while staying at home, choosing my own
hours, and taking care of my husband, home, and family first. I can
take a day off (or even a few days off!) whenever I like and
the money continues to come in at about the same rate because of the many
multiple streams of income I’ve set in place.

All this might sound really wonderful (and it is!) but what most people
often don’t add into this equation are the countless hours, days,
weeks, months, and even years I’ve spent working, learning, and experimenting to get things to the point they are at.

The effort has paid off and I’m now reaping the fruits of my labors
(though I’m still making lots of mistakes and I’m sure I’ll continue to
do so until the day I die!), but I won’t ever forget the struggles I
had to go through to getwhere I’m at or the mountains I’ve had to
climb along the way.

This series is my personal journey to Becoming a Work-at-Home Mom. I will be sharing what things have and haven’t worked for me, what I
wish someone had told me when I was first contemplating starting a
business from home, and how you, too, can become a work-at-home mom.

Let me start at the very beginning…

When my husband and I were married–over six and a half years ago–we knew we wanted to stay out of debt, live on a budget, and we wanted my primary place to be at home. I had no desire to pursue an outside-the-home career; I just wanted to be a stay-at-home wife and mother.

However, there was also this thing called money. We didn’t have a lot of it and my husband still had three and a half years of school left ahead of him. We were living on a very tight budget but we weren’t even making enough to pull that off. We knew that the only way we’d survive the next three and a half years was if we not only continued to pinch pennies, but if we also found ways to increase our income.

Before we got married, I worked an odd assortment of side jobs to produce a little income: I taught violin, babysat, tutored, and worked as a mother’s helper and a waitress. I continued on in some of these after we got married but when we moved to a new town where we knew no one so my husband could begin three years of law school, I found that my side job possibilities narrowed a great deal!

However, we prayed a lot and talked about a hundred different ideas. And then we got creative.

I advertised my experience as a mother’s helper in the local homeschool newsletter and soon was working for four different families each week. I enjoyed this work and it helped to pay the bills. We didn’t have any wiggle room at all, but by carefully squeezing every little thing we could out of every penny, not buying anything but basic necessities, and strategic grocery shopping, we were able to survive on $800-$1000 per month.

A number of months went by and one week I began noticing that I didn’t feel so well. I was tired and sick to my stomach much of  the time. I went about my usual routine, but I could barely keep up with my mother’s helper jobs. I continued to feel worse and worse and we couldn’t figure out what on earth my problem was. After about a week of this, I realized that the one thing I’d not considered was the possibility I could be pregnant.

We’d wanted to have children since we were first married but we’d struggled with some infertility issues and I’d finally just given up the hope that I’d ever be a mom. However, I had some pregnancy tests stashed away and that morning I decided–on a whim!–that I’d just take one. After all, it wouldn’t hurt anything.

Imagine my total shock when I took it and looked down a few seconds later to see two pink lines! No wonder I’d felt so sick and tired!

We were ecstatic, elated, excited, and overwhelmed all at once! We were thrilled to be parents, but we realized this was going to turn our world a little upside down. Never could we have realized at the time just how much having a baby was going to change our lives forever–for the better!

To be continued next week…

Just for fun: How many of you currently work from home?
Tell us a little about what you do. (And if you have a website, be sure to leave the link in the comments section.)

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Comments

  1. says

    HI, I am a new stay at home mom for about 6 months now. I have been looking for things to do to contribute financially. Havent had much luck so far. :(( My blog is thedenotekiddos.blogspot.com

  2. says

    I do not work from home, but would love to get to the point that I can. I have my blog (www.nickels-n-dimes.com) that I do on the side and I am learning about how to generate multiple streams of income so maybe this can become a reality for our family in the future.

    I am very interested in this series and think it’s a great idea! Thank you for taking the time to share with everyone your journey!

  3. Emily says

    I work from home full time as a medical transcriptionist. I chose this profession on purpose so that I would be able to stay at home with any children I might have and still work, and I currently have an almost 2-year-old boy who keeps me very busy.

  4. says

    I am in the beginning process of starting a business from home. I had tried Arbonne for about a year and had ZERO success… Instead I walked away from my business with at least $2000 debt. Arbonne made money, I did not. This is not the case for many woman who do this type of business, but it just didn’t work for me… so I had to get creative.

    I’ve been toying with the idea of starting my own custom party decoration/stationary/invitation business for years. After throwing my son’s 1st birthday I decided to really work at it. So many people loved the little details I put into the party and decorations that I decided I had to give it a chance. So here I am starting from nothing and trying to start this business and work my business right. I’m excited to have an opportunity to try to start a business doing something I love. I’m doing a lot of praying and planning. It’s going to be a long process and I’m going to have to be patience but it will be worth it in the end!

    I look forward to the rest of your series! Thanks so much!!

  5. says

    Why did you have to stop at that point in your compelling story?! I want to read more! I’m looking forward to your next post in this series.

  6. says

    I work from home while I take care of my 3 kids and homeschool the oldest. I am a freelance medical writer, and I blog about women’s and children’s health (my name above is linked to my site). I also do some simple blog setup and design projects when they come my way. My husband and I both work from home, so it always seems like we have a million things going at once.

  7. says

    aghh – it’s like the stories as a kid that stopped at the best part! :) Can’t wait till next week to read the next segment!

    Thanks, Crystal!

  8. Jennifer says

    I tutor online for tutor.com. If anyone is interested, I am pretty sure they need higher-level math and science tutors right away, and you can always apply for other subjects which they take on as needed. You can e-mail me at jlp5544 AT hotmail DOT com if you want to know more about it. I really enjoy it. You set your own hours, but it’s mostly when kids are home from school. It is not anything like a full time income, but I only work about 5 hours a week, so I don’t expect that!

  9. Rachel says

    I’m so excited you’re writing about this. We are about 3 weeks from having our first baby and I’m currently working full time. Hubby’s in school and works as well (part-time) and I dream about one day being able to stay home to take care of my family. Just can’t financially figure out how to make that happen yet…

  10. says

    I’m looking forward to this series! I am a stay at home mom that works, up until recently 2 jobs and I am happy to say that it is now down to 1 woo hoo! It has been a juggling act for sure and working so much can take a toll on your body. I decided that my health and mental, emotional and spiritual well being was far more important then 1 of my jobs and that was a great decision for me and God has miraculously provided for our family. Now, I work for a family friend from home helping her with a marketing business. I have the flexibility to work whatever hours I like and it is a true joy! Since then, I started a blog to share what I’ve been learning in life, tips and tricks and a myriad of other things. I am a person who loves to share and to be able to share on my blog is a great outlet for me.
    I look forward to your next installment!

  11. says

    I always enjoy reading about your life, Crystal!
    Thanks for sharing.

    I am working from home by doing online surveys, a few mystery shopping jobs, and writing books. I’m thinking about selling some crafts online.

    My website is candyfoote.com

    ~Candy~

  12. says

    I started an online cloth diaper store about a year ago. With 11 children I have lots of diapering experince!
    So far it has been great!

  13. Michelle says

    I work at home for a financial ministry. I worked there full time until my first baby was born 7 years ago, and I’ve been working from home since then. I use the Internet and e-mail to complete various projects for the ministry, as they need me. We don’t depend on my income at all, because it is hit or miss, but it’s nice when we have it.

    I love being able to care for my four babies and homeschool them while bringing in a little income.

    I’ve been married for almost 12 years, and we, too, saved up to build our home debt free. It took us about 3.5 years to complete it, but boy, was it worth the time and effort! If we hadn’t done things the way we did, we couldn’t afford for me to stay home with my kids! What a blessing!

    P.S. Instead of a stay-at-home-mom, I like to call myself a “domestic engineer.” :)

  14. Amanda says

    I am currently a teacher but I want so badly to be a stay at home mom. My little girl is 4 months old and it kills me each day to leave her. I sometimes get discouraged because I truly don’t see how it can be possible for me and my family for me to stay at home. Is it worth praying for if you know it’s impossible? (But I know that nothing is impossible with God and that’s why I keep praying). We are currently doing the total money makeover and will have everything except the house paid for in 2 years but my biggest fear is not having health insurance for my family – it is impossible to get my husband private health insurance due to his height and weight. Thanks for this piece on stay at home moms – maybe it will open a whole new door I haven’t thought of!!

  15. melissa says

    I also started being a stay at home mom for my dauger of 3 1/2 years old. I always have worked and loved it. But I felt a tug that I should stay with my daughter at home(I also wanted to.). It was hard at the beginning,I felt so bored and felt I, was not doing anything for the family. We also dont get that much money coming in but I am trying to cut down on everything. I am trying to find some part time job perhaps at night or maybe at home. I am looking into medical transcriptionist and will take a course in it. I hope everything goes well so i can help my husband. I am sure it will since I have God on my side. I would love to hear your story and love your website,keep up the good work. Thank you

  16. says

    I work at home for the company that I left when I had my daughter. I quit my job when she was born and soon after, I asked if some of my “old” work could be done at home – the rest is history. I have been working at home for 2 years now, so it never hurts to ask!

  17. says

    I am also a work at home mom. I run http://happyhomemakercindy.com/ and teach couponing classes to large and small groups.

    When I first started my blog and teaching I did it mostly for fun but after spending over 40 hours a week or more teaching others how to save money. I decided I would have to treat it a job. It’s been a hard road. Blogging for a living is hard work and not for everyone. I knew that when I started this journey (after reading many of your posts) that I work have to work countless hours for free before I would reap the rewards. After over 8 months of hard work I am just now starting to make a little money from my site to cover all the money I have spent on it. LOL!

    I just started charging for my coupon classes and sometimes feel bad about doing so, but this is a job now and I have to treat it that way. I am doing what I love and have such a passion for helping others same money. As, I have heard it said “do what you love and the money will come.”

    Cindy

  18. says

    I started working from home this year. I sell vintage items on Etsy (whimsicaljunk.etsy.com) and I’m hoping to eventually add some of my hand-altered and handmade items throughout the coming year. I’m very excited about it and I love it so far!

    But it’s also been a real challenge balancing everything in our home life. This post is so timely as I started homeschooling this year, as well, (just to add another thing to my plate!) and I’m trying to find the balance through it all.

    I look forward to the next installment. I gain so much inspiration about caring for my home from your blog. Thank you for that!
    ~ Jennifer

  19. says

    I am also a work at home mom, and I love it!! I have three young kids and am able to be home with them and work some to bring in extra income. I work with a direct sales company selling great jewelry, awesome income, and incentives! I feel lucky that I found something that I can do and still be able to be home with my kids!

    I am very interested in hearing your story and am looking forward to the rest of this series!

  20. says

    I worked from home on and off before my son came, mostly writing and also doing some freelance XML for a company I used to work for. I am so blessed now that my husband is out of school. As long as we’re careful, we have more than enough from his salary.

  21. says

    My situation is very similar to yours ~ lots of little jobs here and there, but I’ve never worked in the secular workforce since getting married.

    I currently own the website http://www.childrens-church-ministry.com, and it is monetized in several different ways. My biggest income boost is the eBook (I actually have two, but one does way better than the other) on my site. What a blessing to get those e-junkie notifications in my inbox announcing a sale! I also post on Craigslist and eBay when we get in a tight, and God always manages to provide a creative idea or gift for allowing us to meet budget.

  22. says

    This is fantastic! I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series, and am a huge believer in the power of multiple streams of income. I blog (http://www.mashupmom.com) and run a careers site for librarians (http://www.lisjobs.com). I’m a freelance writer, editor, and workshop leader; I’ve published professional titles for librarians and my first book for everyone else comes out this spring. I’ve started teaching coupon classes. And all this combined with couponing/saving allows me to be a work-at-home mom.

  23. says

    I have been working from home for a little over a year now. I was inspired by you! :) You are right in that it takes A LOT of work, but it’s definitely worth it so that I can be home with my kids.

    I blog at http://www.thethriftymama.com where I share deals and tips to help you live a more natural and thrifty lifestyle.

  24. says

    I work part time at home with the same company I have worked for for 18 years. When we moved out to the country, they let me work from home. It works out well – only 10-15 hours a week. I also homeschool my daughter who is in highschool.

  25. beth schultz says

    I work full time at home as a medical coder. I’m currently pregnant with our first child. I will cut down to 30 hours a week after the baby is born. Though I cannot be clocked in for my secular work and take care of my baby, I will try to fit it around Gramma’s schedules and naps, as well as a couple hours in the evening when my husband is home. We’re sure it will be well worth it to be able to be home with our baby. If anyone is looking into coding, there is a one year certificate program available. If the program is accredited you’ll be able to get a job in the field. Great pay, too, and benefits!

  26. says

    I run LivingOnADime.com a website that teaches people how to save money and get out of debt.

    We have been in business for 10 years and working on it for 12 years (it took two years to get my first book Dining On A Dime Cookbook written) on our business. We self publish our books and e-books.

    I completely agree that if you are expecting just to start making money one day working at home isn’t for you. It takes time and a lot of work! So much so that for us that it was 8 years before we saw any profit at all. (I do have a chronic illness so that limits the amount I can do.)

    Tawra

  27. says

    I’m a copywriter. I write a lot of web content for small business websites though my own business
    http://existdesigns.com
    and then I do quite a bit of freelance work for a large ad agency where I write marketing content for major universities and hospitals.

    To all the teachers out there– my daughter is in preschool a couple of mornings a week. While I don’t want to home school her myself, I would love for her to have that type of learning experience. I know my sister used to tutor home schooled students–perhaps you could do a “in-home” school–making money (with proper licensing, of course) and staying home with your kids.

  28. Amanda says

    I sort of work at home. I am a PhD student, and except for about 2 hours of babysitting a week so I can meet with my advisor, I do all of my research from home. I get a stipend of about $30k and I don’t attend classes, so I consider myself more of a work-at-home mom, than an in-school mom. I guess it is somewhere in the middle. I have two little kids and I have to say it is a huge adventure/challenge to try to do this with two kids. I can’t wait to be done!

  29. Shannon Carter says

    I am a work from home, homeschooling, SINGLE mom. I was terrified of ending my abusive marriage because I didn’t want to leave my 18 month old daughter. I had always wanted to be a stay at home mom. But God has taken care of us! Within two weeks I had two work-from-home jobs as a bookeeper and apartment manager. We don’t live in an amazing home or have tons of extra things, but I am able to proved for us as well as be home with and homeschool my 4 1/2 year old daughter. God is good!

  30. says

    I LOVE reading your blog and thrilled that you are able to generate income from it! :)

    I have been a work at home Mom for the past 7 or so years. It does take a good deal of trial and error and hours and hours of work! It seems that you never really leave the “office”. Work does seem to always be on your mind when you work from home, completely different from when I worked in an office.

    I turned my hobby into my business. I actually scrapbook for others as my business. It is something that allows me to be my creative self. I was recently picked up as and illustrator for an up and coming stamp line “The Pixie Cottage”, a new outlet for me! :)

    Here is my blog with all my links: http://tycaalaksdesigns.blogspot.com/

  31. Jackie Brown says

    I vowed to stay at home at least the first year for each of my three babies. God blessed our wishes and I have stayed at home for five years with my second child. I now have a third and a suprise fourth on its way. I work from home with an online olive oil club. A total blessing, but it may not last long with the economy. I’m blessed with other talents such as sewing and cooking and I have made side money with these in the past.

  32. says

    I am not a work at home mom, however I work part-time during the hours in which our children are at school. I know many Mommies out there home school… But if a Mommy does not homeschool, working during school hours is very rewarding. I have the satisfaction of working and earning an income as well as the satisfaction of being at home with our children every moment that they are at home. I took a substantial pay cut to take this part-time position but I have found we have saved far more money by me being at home than I earned full-time! I hope this helps someone! P.S. Ladies: I have made great money selling hot Christmas toys on Ebay! XOXO

  33. Marina says

    I am not currently stay-at-home, (or even a mom yet!), but when I was in High School, I got my cosmetology license. I did this specifically so that I would have the option to work from my home if necessary. I now cut hair for friends and family, and having this skill is a blessing– one I could turn into a job (either in the home or out of the home) and would allow me the flexibility to pursue the things that really matter.

  34. Ashley says

    I’m a stay a home mom also, but I have an Event planning business on the side. I love staying at home and making my own schedule, but I will say that it can be tough at times. Managing two boys, one 7 and one 4, plus a business is very busy. But I wouldnt not go back to an 8-5 office job EVER!
    http://www.aneventtoremembercharleston.com

  35. says

    I’m fortunate that I’ve been able to come up with multiple sources of income as well without jeopardizing my time with my family. I am home most of the week and I blog at http://lifeofftheshelf.blogspot.com. I also do freelance writing for local publications once in a while. On Fridays, I clean our church building. My grandma watches my toddler in the Sunday School room while I do my custodian duties. It works great for us. Some other ideas I want to pursue are teaching piano lessons (my parents just recently gave us their piano) and playing piano for weddings and other events.

    Thanks for the series! Can’t wait for more!

  36. says

    I worked continued to work full time out of the home while my 3 year old was young. At that time my husband worked from home. His business was steadily growing and so as the birth of our second daughter approached, we knew that something had to give. The nature of both of our work required extremely odd hours at times as well as widely inconsistent shcedules. I decided that I would stay at home following the birth of my 2nd daughter. I have been home with her a year now and still freelance in the same profession that I was previously emplyed full time in, but that work is as desired. I can easily take or refuse work without consequence (other than not receiving a check if I don’t work ;) ).
    I also work part time in the home and out of the home doing billing and marketing work for my husband’s company.
    I have just recently started a blog (as in this past weekend).
    I am having fun with that already and learning all about setting up different features and tools. You are most certainly correct that even the little things require amazing amounts of energy, focus and drive to implement and keep up!

    I look forward to hearing more in this series, especially regarding the “business” of blogging!

    Thanks for all the thought you put in to your blog.

  37. says

    I am looking forward to the rest of your series! Great start :-)

    I am a SAHM but I find ways to make money on the side, here & there. Nothing too steady, even though I would like it to be! I am starting to make some items that I hope to be able to put in a craft show in the Spring. My current project is little girls pillowcase style dresses. So that is fun!

    I too have a website, http://www.savingourway.blogspot.com.

    Thanks for all you do! :-)

  38. Kacy says

    Great series! I have a 3 1/2 year-old daughter & I watch two children in my home 4 days a week. I also tutor very part-time as an added cushion. I love being at home & thank God everyday for it!

  39. Jamie Bruce says

    I work Part time at my church now, and work from home, but before I got my PT job, i was solely working from home. I keep after school kids in my home from 2:30-5:15, and at one point I was making almost 350.0 a week! I don’t keep as many kids now, but I am still bringing in at least 140.00 a week. I also sell items on Ebay when I have the time.

  40. says

    I work full time outside the home and have a daughter who’s almost 3. In January, I started freelance writing for a website that pays me by the article. I’ve earned $5700 doing that this year, and I do it from home whenever I want. I just need a computer and internet connection. I had a miscarriage last month, and I just took a pregnancy test this morning (nauseated and sore boobs!) and it turned positive!

    We have been living on just one income and using the other to pay cash for a used very good car (last year), and paying down our mortgage. God willing, our mortgage will be paid off by the time my maternity leave runs out. My due date is about July 1st 2010, and I have enough leave saved to be paid through October 2010.

    At that point, our plan is for me to stay home with the baby and our daughter who would be almost 4 by then. I would continue writing. I’ve also sold crafts in the past. I would also consider caring for another child in my home for some additional income.

    I hope and pray that this baby grows inside of me and we have a healthy, full term baby. We’ve been trying for this child since June. Our daughter was a total surprise and we never thought it would take more than a month or two to get pregnant with another baby.

  41. says

    Amber-
    A Mother’s Helper is kind of someone that can come in and help take care of the house or kids or whatever so you can do what you need too. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, you know, a mother’s helper! ;) :D

    Amanda-
    Our family has opted out for health insurance. It can be done. Since being married I have been hospitalized once and my husband has had to have shoulder surgery. Most of my bills are in the thousands that we pay every 6 weeks. We are going through a private (read expensive) DR to “cure” our diseases. I have thyroid issues/fibromalgia I am told but not sure just how accurate that is. And hubby has Depression which is another $100-$200 in meds. I dont say this to puff myself up. Its hard work. But it can be done.
    FRT, and I dont share this with a lot of people but we make $16,000 a year. The only way I am able to keep afloat a lot is
    A) I can sew. My Mumsie taught me. I am also self-teaching myself to knit. IF I can learn, anyone can. I am VERY VERY visual. Instructions are not clear for me. Youtube and friends have helped me a lot. Crocheting is a bit harder. (Etsy store is cottageprimrose.etsy.com)
    B) I am an emergency babysitter (emergency comes up I am usually available). My sister(s) are full time babysitters and when they have something come up I can usually sub for them.
    C) I do respite care. I do NOT recommend this for just anyone. Its a lot of hard work. We are very blessed to work with a Christian family.
    D) I yardsale/thrift shop and resale.
    Everything little thing like now I’m putting more time into MSM so I can save even more.

    I am a Mom of 2 almsot under 2 (my eldest just turned 2 last tuesday). Its a lot of work being a SAHM or WAHM. It does not involve watching soaps all day if your dedicated to being a MOM. ROFL. ;)

    I am also VERY blessed because I have family in town. I am the eldest of nine (youngest sib is 5). Everyone on my side is still in town. I am 21. My husband is the 3rd of 8 and his arents are still here. Its very convienent to once in a while ask for a babysitting time. That may not always be the case.

    Just some thoughts and my life story. LOl. Yes, I am a homeschool graduate and intend to homeschool as well. :D