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Becoming a Work-At-Home Mom: Working 60 to 70 hours per week is not something I’d recommend

If you’re new here, you’ll want to go back and read the first parts of the Becoming a Work-At-Home Mom series.

While I was trying my hand at blogging and building up our online bookstore, I was also forging relationships with some other family businesses and Christian homeschool companies. One of those relationships happened to be with a family who published a nationwide homeschooling magazine.

They mentioned they were looking for someone to join their team on a very part-time basis helping with some marketing responsibilities. I inquired further and discovered it was something I thought I might be able to do as it just involved researching companies to contact about promotions and cross-promotional opportunities and the contacting them and trying to work out cross-promotions.

I’d had a little bit of experience working with online companies because of my wedding business, online bookstore and blog, so they were willing to bring me on to work about two hours per day for them. It was tedious work, which often resulted in dead ends, but I was learning so much about creating pitches and marketing a product and — best of all! — I was getting paid for my time!

After a few months of working in this very part-time capacity for this homeschooling magazine, I guess they decided I had some potential, because they asked me to stay on in a more permanent position and gave me more responsibilities for heading up some of their larger promotions and brainstorming creative marketing ideas.

Before I knew it, I was officially their Marketing Manager and was also managing an ad sales team. Much of what I was doing, I had little experience in, but I found that I could learn so much just by reading great books on marketing, observing other companies and analyzing what was working for them and then being willing to experiment.

It was so rewarding to see hard work pay off, magazine sales increase, ad sales generated and new ideas blossoming. I was loving just about every minute of what I was doing. There was only one problem: between my responsibilities for the magazine and my own blog and business, I was often working 60 to 70 hours per week, in addition to being a wife, mom and homemaker.

I remember working well into the night — or even all night some nights — just to get everything done. And working so many hours definitely took its toll on me and I look at pictures of myself from that time period and realize how utterly sleep-deprived and exhausted I looked. I certainly wouldn’t recommend those long work hours to anyone else!

The good news was that between the various things I was doing from home and my husband’s part-time income, we were able to stay out of debt, I was able to stay home with our daughter and we actually had a little breathing room in our budget for the very first time since being married.

In addition, my blog and our online business had continued to grow. So when my husband finished his last week of law school, we felt it was time for me to quit working for the homeschool magazine and just focus on our home, family and my own business.

It was a big leap of faith to give up the regular monthly income from the homeschool magazine — especially since Jesse still had to study for the bar and pass the bar before he’d be able to get a full-time job — but we had made it through law school debt-free (by the grace of God!) and we were ready for me to work less and spend more time being a wife and mom.

…to be continued next Saturday

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  • SO SO glad to see the new installment – can I tell you how much I wait for this each Saturday? It’s a fantastic series — motivational, engaging and PERSONAL!


    So you were a full-time employee for the home-school magazine? Or was it an hourly position that you were doing for 60-70 hours a week?

    • Crystal says:

      It was a contract position — I was paid on commission for ad sales and then a monthly rate for my work as marketing manager. The 60-70 hours per week was that work combined with my blogging and online book business work.

  • Cristina Taflan-Corniciuc says:

    Hi,I’ve only started reading your blogs for a few days and I’m hooked. I’m a stay at home mom,I have a 22 month old son and I’m 10 weeks pregnant. I’ve been thinking of starting to work from home,in my spare time, wich, believe it or not,I have a lot of it. My son has been very hyper and he’s very hard to discipline, he’s just stubborn,so he’s been on a pretty strict schedule when it comes to nap times,meals,etc,to teach him some boundaries. I’m also a little too organized,so considering I have at least 2-3 hours a day free of kids,noise,any kind of bother,I was thinking of doing something useful with that time. Now,the only thing is,I don’t know where to start. I’m great at blogging, writing anything for that matter,I just need something that would bring me a little income, to help my husband with the bills. I just don’t have the slightest ideas on where to start. Any ideas,advice? ?

    • Crystal says:

      I’d start with considering what you’re good at and what your talents and gifts are? Then, consider how you can turn those into an income. The best way to learn is to just jump in and start doing something. The more you experiment, the more you’ll learn and grow.

      If you’re willing to be a self-starter, research, experiment and work very hard, there are many, many possibilities out there. I have a page with simple ideas and suggestions here:

  • Kathryn says:

    It is a joy and a good laugh to read this segment this morning since I am actually catching up on my business work. 🙂 There are always +’s and not +’s to every opportunity, whether you work for someone else or you work for yourself. (grin…) Working long business work hours every week is not something that I set out to do…but unfortunately, it seems to happen anyways. :0

  • Oh yes, the work from home, mom, wife, hourly balance is always the hardest to figure out. It’s taken me years, and some times I do it really well, and other times….oh so poorly. 🙂

  • Crystal, I am really enjoying this series, especially since I am starting a couple of ventures/experiments of my own in an effort to work from home while my husband is in grad school.

    Thank you for getting personal. 🙂


  • Tara says:

    I just started reading your blog about a month ago. I read other parts of your blog as well, and I think you do a great job. I wait patiently to read new parts of this story. One day I will be able to work at home as well. Thanks for your insight on looking up on things! You have brighten my day by your writings.

  • Thanks for the information about the realities of the whole “work at home” deal. There are many dads out there as well who may be looking for this information as well.

  • Thanks for sharing, Crystal! I love reading this series and seeing your story in more detail. So encouraging!

  • Crystal, thank you so much for your statement about working 60-70 hours per week being a BAD idea. I work 3 days a week outside of our home, and I’m busy building three other part-time businesses on my days “off.” I’m starting to feel a little burned out, so I’m trying to cut back in each area, hoping to find more balance. My goal right now is to make sure that I get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. With my willingness to give up a little in each area (not try to do EVERYTHING), allowing my husband to help more around the house (I’m a control freak!), and trying to get more sleep, I’m hoping to be a better mom and wife as I work my way home.

  • Barbara says:

    I just spent the past couple of hours reading this blog series. It is AWESOME!! I can’t wait for next week. I have a question for you: where can I go to learn more about blogging as a business?

  • Girl, I am loving this series. I needed to hear what you said today BIG time! Ever since my daughter was born I have been working. Sometimes I have been working from home full-time and being a full-time mom, with 2 chronic illnesses and other times I’ve been working just part-time while staying home full-time.

    It has been a quest to make sure we are taken care of financially while at the same time making sure I’m taken care of.

    Thankfully in this day and age we are able to do so much from the internet/computer and God will always provide in His time and His way…I still need reminders every once and a while though!
    Thanks Crystal for sharing your journey!

  • Tammy says:

    I can remember you writing about the long nights.Nice to see that you have learned much from that time and as a mom of 3 and someday more no longer work like that.

  • Carrie says:

    Wow. I did not know about this part of your story. I’m tired just reading about it. (Or maybe I’m just tired, what with my own 3 kids, WAHM job, etc.)

  • Autumn Beck says:

    What an amazing testimony! I have so much respect for those who don’t fall into the trap (we did years ago) that you can’t make it through school without loans. I’m so proud of y’all!

  • Tracy says:

    I would love to know to as someone else asked as well, where can I go to find out more about starting a blog? It’s so confusing and overwhelming too. Love your website Crystal!

  • Crystal,

    I am so amazed on how driven that you and your husband both are/have been. I am almost 30 and though I feel like I’ve always been fairly good with money I could have been so much better. My husband was unemployed for quite sometime when I was pregnant with our first child. I wish I had discovered using the internet in trying to build a business then. I’m pretty sure you came from a family that taught you some good money sense, but did your husband too? I really want to make an good supplemental income for our family from home. Do you have a list of good book recommendations somewhere?


  • Diana says:

    Totally off subject: just wanted to thank you for taking the time to write clearly and use correct spelling, Crystal! That is one of the things I enjoy most about your blog. I have seen others with multiple typos and/or grammar mistakes, and I do not return to those blogs on a regular basis. Not sure why this popped into my head while reading this post, but it did! So thanks 🙂

  • Kimberly says:

    Enjoy hearing your story.

  • Jennie says:

    I would love to hear your Marketing book recommendations! I have a marketing degree, but have been “out of the game” for 8 years as a mom. I am working towards more work at home opportunities and would really appreciate your book ideas.

  • AllieZirkle says:

    Love this series! It’s extremely motivating. I really appreciate you getting personal and continuing this series.

  • Kassandra Wood says:

    Crystal… I want to thank you for writing this. I have been trying for years to find a way to be a work at home mom. I am the proud owner of several failed attempts; some were EPIC fails! Ha ha It’s nice to see that someone can try many things before getting it right! Thank you for the inspiration!

  • Joelle says:

    Wow Crystal! I don’t know how you put in all of those hours & still managed to run your household and raise your children. Sometimes I feel like there is no time to blog once the house and children are taken care of. It seems like the minute I turn the computer on my children turn into monkeys and need my immediate attention. I am amazed at your time management skills.

    • Crystal says:

      I only had one child when I was working all those hours, we lived in a teeny-tiny apartment, we only had one vehicle and my husband was in school and working (so often gone for 10-12 hours/day). There’s no way on earth I could ever work those kind of hours now. My children need me most of the waking hours! I blog before they get up or in little cracks of time throughout the day, but I rarely put in more than a few hours spread out over the day. Otherwise, our home would fall apart. 🙂

  • stephanie says:

    HI! Which magazine was it?
    Do you home school and do your blog? WOW!
    brightman73 at yahoo dot com

    • Crystal says:

      Yes, we homeschool. But I only have a first-grader and a preschooler right now so it’s pretty simple. 🙂 And I’m blessed with a team of people who help with behind-the-scene blogging responsibilities so that I can spend more time with my family!

  • Wendy says:

    Thanks Crystal! I love living vicariously through your journey. I have very workaholic tendencies and it’s very easy for me to tend down that route. I know, however, for the sake of my family and my own sanity that I cannot do that. I need to work hard within reason, but let God do the rest. Thanks for the reminder!

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