Wanna be a work-at-home mom? (and finding our way as moms and women)

I think it's official that I'm now a work at home mom.

Saying this feels strange to me. Because I've always worked at home. But now my work earns our family money and there are dedicated times in our schedule when I do this work (in which I have to be focused and productive). My work, beyond caring for home and kids, is now a part of our family routine.

And because I'm doing this at a time when Damien is home full time also (I was not willing or able to go down this road till he was) this shift has not been a difficult one for our family in terms of time management or family dynamics. There are no balls being dropped because we're not juggling. That's just not our style. It has been tight financially some months as we balance income earning with homeschooling and kid raising but that's to be expected in the beginning of any venture.

Because we are both at home all the time we tag team (fairly seamlessly - no commutes, drop offs, pick ups) our parenting/work/home management/personal hours. And since our kids are older there are longer stretches of total freedom for both of us from the demands of raising children. It's a new season of life. And I LOVE it!

It feels like the best of both worlds. I laid the foundation I wanted to in our children's lives when they were younger and don't regret a minute of the years I've invested into our home and family life. Now, I'm growing in new and exciting ways at a time that feels right for our family and right for me.

What kind of work do I do? Writing and coaching, mostly. This winter I'm developing new teaching products and services. All online.

It's a slow build, and really, I've been building this for years already with my blogging. I just wasn't sure what form my work would take once I actually had the freedom to do something with the blogging platform I've built.

And I still don't know where this work will lead me. It's month by month and idea by idea. But when I get a glimpse of where this could lead I get super excited. And then I come back to earth about the realities of my time and resource constraints. Because I am still very much a full time mom and homeschool parent. But that's ok, everything in its season. Which has been my motto all along.

I'm not a business blogger. I don't write about the "business" of blogging, I don't talk about how to make money blogging, etc. Mostly because I'm still figuring it out and there are so many other people out there who write about that. (I offer coaching along these lines and feel that is a better avenue for sharing my experience.)

I don't write about how to become a work at home mom. But there are work at home moms who do write about that and if you're interested in a similar path you might want to check out this week's BundleoftheWeek ebook bundle - packed full of work at home resources, including both work at home opportunities and tips for juggling work and home life.

Five books, available this week only for $7.40 (I think that's the regular price for one of these ebooks.)

With your purchase, you'll get the following:

Click here to read more and buy.

Once again, I am very happy to share this ebook bundle with you, like I did last week's mothering bundle because I think these are great books - really practical - for moms who are trying to figure out how to work from home.

But can I perfectly honest about something? There is a season for everything and we don't do it all, all the time.

If you are a mom who is happy being just as you are, mom to littles, mom to bigs, mom with her plate full already and you don't need (or have made the choice) to not work while you are investing in your family life - I totally get that.

For twelve years I didn't earn any money. We decided before we were married to have one income during the early child raising years and we made choices all along the way to make that possible. Every choice we made, from the car we drove (just one) to the house we lived in was in support of that goal.

We always said someday I would work again. I couldn't imagine what that would look like. I didn't plan for it but I trusted it would work out, that my years "out of the workforce" would not disadvantage me too much.

I had no idea how much the world would change during my non-working years and now opportunities exist that were not even conceivable when my children were babies. The same will be true in another twelve years. There is no such thing as missing the boat. There's always new journeys to take. (Just in case you think if you don't do something now, like start a blog, you'll miss out. That's just not true.)

That's my story. And if your story involves working at home and figuring out how to juggle that in your life these ebooks could be really helpful.

Another resource I want to mention is Lisa Bryne's course Teach Your Life to Be Extraordinary.

I have had the privilege of getting to know Lisa a bit over the last year. I've taken one of her courses and I have always devoured her free resources - which are some of the best free teaching on the internet. Lisa has this amazing ability to take information - life changing information - and make it doable in your life.

Her teaching is very inspirational and loaded with resources. But she helps you digest that by breaking things down for you so you can start wherever you are and apply what she teaches. It's teaching that brings change. I am in awe of her abilities and look to her as a bit of a mentor in my own teaching.

And what she teaches is good stuff. I've blogged about her before and I'm sure I'll do so again. I love her work.

I think we all go through times where we are really trying to figure out our path as mothers, women, partners, etc. We are tempted to fit ourselves into molds. We lose touch with who we are. We know there is more "out there" for us but we don't always know how to tap into that.

Lisa's course Teach Your Life to Be Extraordinary is about "how to live a life you love and feel deeply connected to yourself without sacrificing your marriage or your family in the process."

Maybe you're a stay at home mom investing in your family but you feel like you're losing a part of yourself in that. Or maybe you are ready to branch out and consider working after a time of taking care of kids or perhaps you want a career/job change but really need to get connected with who you are first before making such a move. Consider taking Lisa's course.

Like she says,

One of my secret wishes is that we, as inspired mothers, start a riot around the world redefining life and mothering on our own terms. I want us to be agents of major prosperity, laughter, kindness and creativity - not only for ourselves, but paving a new path for our sons and daughters to follow in as well.

This is radical stuff. Life changing. And I do believe there is a movement a foot to redefine what it means to mother, work and live in the modern world, on our terms. Not according to what society (either traditionalist or feminist leanings) expects of us. But what is the right path for us, in our unique personhood and family situation. These conversations get me really excited because it mirrors so much of my own journey for the past few years.

You might also enjoy listening to this Simple Mom podcast with Lisa and Tsh where they talk specifically about working from home via the internet. Something of great interest to many moms (and dads!) these days.

I have really enjoyed the conversation on posts here recently. If you want to discuss working at home, "teaching your life to be extraordinary", or some other related topic, let's talk.

I am proud to be an affilate with both BundleoftheWeek and Wellgrounded Life (Lisa's business). Read here for details.

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  • Sarah M

    Sarah M on Jan. 15, 2013, 2:17 p.m.

    I first heard of Lisa last year when I signed up for her MAPP gathering, and it was the first time I heard of Brene Brown. Talk about being blown away. I loved the interviews and got so much inspiration out of them. I don't recall 'putting anything into practice' as far as doing anything outside of homemaking, but I so appreciated hearing other women tell their stories and their encouragements. I do have a few questions, though. How does one make money from a blog, without all the ads (that you sometimes can't control)? I would love to join affiliate programs (for children/homeschool companies that I love) but does one just approach them with that? I have been a blog writer for years and with a hectic time of life (babies and toddlers) I was posting 5 times a week and it became....routine and uninspired. I took a 6 month break recently and that was so, so good. I'm slowly starting to creep out of that sabbatical shell, and I'd like to take my seriousness about it up a notch. I'm in no way up for the challenge of working remotely part time (I view this as 15+ hours per week), but I'm thinking a few hours of enjoyable blogging per week...I am definitely up for that! I'll check out the Simple Mom podcast you linked to, as well. Sarah M


    • renee

      renee on Jan. 15, 2013, 2:37 p.m.

      Sarah - I recommend you listen to that podcast from Tsh & Lisa about how to make money online/blogging (and there's a bunch of stuff on ProBlogger) but I'll give you my brief answer. I make money blogging a few ways:

      writing and producing my own stuff (e-books, coaching, teaching) and using a blog audience and readership to promote that work. Also, the residual income that comes from having already written an ebook (or other things) and they continue to sell even when I'm not promoting it. 

      affiliate marketing for products I think would benefit people and are in line with my values

      having developed a name for myself blogging and being paid for freelance work

      I do sell ad space but that works out to almost nothing in the scheme of it all. It's there as more of a service to small businesses, etc. that I want to support.

      ​All of this feels good to me in terms of my values and what I want FIMBY to be. My husband earns money blogging by writing product reviews and companies paying to advertise on our site Toe Salad.  There is no one way. And I will say none of this is easy or "free money". I don't get paid magically just to write posts.  As for affiliates, if you don't see an obvious place on the product website to join an affiliate program then just send them an e-mail and ask if they have a program. 


  • Anonymous

    Anonymous on Jan. 15, 2013, 3:31 p.m.

    This is an interesting take on things that I haven't heard before.

    Thank you for saying this as part of your post: "If you are a mom who is happy being just as you are, mom to littles, mom to bigs, mom with her plate full already and you don't need (or have made the choice) to not work while you are investing in your family life - I totally get that."

    That's me! Mom to littles and investing in my family, with no goals of ever doing anything but investing in my home life.


    • renee

      renee on Jan. 15, 2013, 3:55 p.m.

      That's awesome and that was my intention and life for many years. When my kids were younger I had no aspirations to work-in-the-world and didn't plan for it in anyway. It's just kind of evolved that way. And I've loved all parts of this journey (except for the self doubt and insecurities that accompanied stepping outside my comfort zone of homemaking and family care).


  • Jess

    Jess on Jan. 15, 2013, 4:32 p.m.

    My husband and I would both love to work from home. He is an artist and has been exploring the idea a bit more recently. I on the other hand love to write and have considered blogging to be a possible way to earn money to support the way our family would like to live. I hesitate though, because I feel that the blogging world is so saturated.


    • renee

      renee on Jan. 15, 2013, 4:47 p.m.

      If the blogging world is saturated (and it does seem that way at times) there's probably something new coming but we just don't have any idea what that is. There's space for you at the table Jess. It takes some creativity, trial and error and being willing to risk a bit. Always that, which scares me quite a bit. But the more I do it the more comfortable it becomes. And of course start with doing something you love - whatever that thing is, and doing it well. (smile).


  • JenP

    JenP on Jan. 15, 2013, 4:40 p.m.

    I almost didn't read this post because I don't have any intentions of working from home right now. Our boys are still quite young (7, 4, 1) and we are homeschooling. But we also have talked vaguely about me going back to work. Sometime in the future. But i honestly have no idea what kind of work that will be. I was so surprised and relieved to read that you once felt the same way. There are a lot of things I could do, I used to work in a office before kids, but at this point I feel like I would need to truly enjoy it and get more than just a paycheck out of it, in order to justify being away from home. It's a little scary, but I will follow your lead and just have faith and patience that something will come along when the time is right. Thank you, Renee.


  • Kika

    Kika on Jan. 15, 2013, 8:35 p.m.

    I am in the process of dreaming about making money doing something I'm passionate about - and I'm in the process of studying again as part of this dreaming process. I don't want anything, though, to draw my heart and energies too far from home and homeschooling/raising my family. I never knew I'd get to this place again, necessarily, but it just happened. It seems there are season for things and when you get there - ready for change or 'more' - you just know it. Now, this doesn't always mean I have a perfectly clear vision of what that 'more' will look like. But I can read, listen, study, prepare myself in myriad ways for what lies ahead and trust that the details will work themselves out along the way and in the right time.

    My son graduates next year and has a desire to go off to school and I want income to be able to support him so that he can get the training he wants debt-free. (He will qualify for certain scholarships and will need to work in summers, etc., to contribute financially - but we want to help). Then my next daughter will potentially leave the nest in the few years following him. I will still have my youngest at home for another decade or so but when it is just her and I at home I want to be ready to branch out- whether with a business or a ministry using my skills, passions, training... we'll see.

    You touched on the idea that if we don't start NOW we can feel scared that we'll miss the boat. I have definitely felt this way. I know it isn't true but have to remind myself of this regularly. We all have work to do on this earth and it isn't dependant on what others are doing or the current fads.


  • Sarah

    Sarah on Jan. 15, 2013, 11:16 p.m.

    The course on "Teaching your life to be extraordinary" is very interesting to me... not for myself, but for my mom! She has always been a working mom and she has done a wonderful job (if I do say so myself, as one of her progeny) at balancing raising us and working (albeit part time). She has been the main money earner in our family, and the reason I am able to go to private school--it enabled her and my father to make certain choices for our family. One of her passions is enabling other women to work and care for their families--she was an entrepreneur who enabled her employees (4 other women who all had children) to do just that. As you can tell, I am very proud of her. She is a feminist (so am I--I think it is a positive word, not an angry word) but not the stereotype-- she always put her family first. I am here to tell you that it is totally possible... and it's awesome that it is becoming even more conceivable for many people! It is so important for my generation to see the great diversity of possibilities open to us as women, especially the options (like what you do!) that enable us to also live the life we want (and not what is expected of us).

    ...But what I am even more proud of my mom for is quitting. This past year (December 2012) she closed her company (which was a very difficult emotional process, lets just say) and has begun searching for something new. Something like coaching parents on how to balance work and family. I am sure she'd love to see this post--I will definitely share it with her. She doesn't know what she wants to do yet (maybe she'll go back to school with me:) but it took a lot of strength to let go of what she knows (and has done for 20 years) to pursue work she feels serves people in more valuable ways. I can't wait to continue this journey with her!


    • Sarah

      Sarah on Jan. 16, 2013, 2:38 a.m.

      I wanted to clarify what I meant by "it is possible"... I meant it is possible to have a successful career AND put your children/family/relationships first. I DID NOT mean it is possible to "have it all". I don't believe that (because I don't believe perfection exists... and "having it all" sometimes seems to imply that being a working parent is easy--I don't think that being a parent is ever easy). As my mom says, '"having it all" is ending up naked and nursing while on a conference call".


      • Anna

        Anna on Jan. 16, 2013, 5:06 a.m.

        Sarah I love your mom's saying about having it all. So familiar to me, I've spent half my evenings on high powered conference calls for medical organisations, in various stages of undress with a nursing child attached. Makes me smile to hear I'm not alone!


  • Shannon

    Shannon on Jan. 16, 2013, 3:01 a.m.

    As you know I believe more in picking priorities than balancing several at the same level. I'm also the one dropping balls as I am finding there are almost too many opportunities for work and we are learning as we go just how much time/energy we can devote to that work and how much we have to devote to raising/educating our small children and building our homestead.

    I actually was just thinking up a post titled something like "In Praise of the Non-Working Mother (from one who is working)". I often wonder if I will be in the same space as you currently are, thought wise, when my children are older.


    • renee

      renee on Jan. 16, 2013, 11:54 a.m.

      What place is that exactly Shannon? The last part of your comment said you are wondering if you will be in the same space as I am, thought wise, when your children are older. 


      • Shannon

        Shannon on Jan. 16, 2013, 10:57 p.m.

        Renee - Oh, I think perhaps more open and comfortable with being a working mom, as in earning income elsewhere. I had to go to the library to work on some writing projects last week and was late getting home and as I started on our dirt road it hit me that it was bedtime for the children. They were home with Daddy so I knew they'd be fine, but I don't think I've ever missed a goodnight hug and kiss, save a couple of times the grandparents put them down so we could go out to dinner. When I realized that I began to panic and a huge wave of guilt and tears came over me. I guess I wonder if the guilt will subside a bit as they become more independent.


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