Door: Knock! Knock!
Mom: Hey! Kids! there’s a visitor at the door. Hurry! pack up. Gather your toys and all that litter. Fast!
Have you ever found yourself in the above scenario?
Do you know who the above mom is? Yeah!, You guessed wrong. Not me!
That’s not me.
Stepping into my living room right now as I write, you will be welcomed by a pile of toys littered all over the floor. That’s the plight of most moms. I am speaking specifically to the stay at home mom freelance writers here.
As a guest coming into my home, all I can tell you is, ‘be careful not to poke your feet’.
Guess why I would say that? Because ‘unbothered‘ is the new name. I cannot be bothered to rally around to clear the floor just because a visitor walked in. That floor would go back to its messy state in about 5 minutes. No thanks to my kids.
And that’s how you will find yourself going in circles, cleaning and re-cleaning. You might eventually spend your whole day doing that, to the detriment of your other chores and activities.
And if you have writing assignments to do, kiss them goodbye.
There’s a lot you don’t get to realise before venturing into the freelance world especially as a young mom, looking to work from her home.
Owning a business you run from home, whether beginner level or established comes with its own negatives on top of its positives. But more often than not the negatives are left out of the discussion.
And that’s why we are here today right?
That’s why you are still devouring this post. 😊
Like every other business, freelance writing is not all diamonds and roses especially for the millennial stay at home mom. Toddlers tantrums, preoccupation from nappy and feeding time, playtime even though you do not want to, these are some of the distractions surmounted daily by the stay at home mom freelancer.
This list is not exhaustive. Every point here is especially true if you have no support system and are doing a large chunk of the child care yourself. This is especially true for me as I do not get time away from my kids. Let me tell you straight up, balancing motherhood, parenthood and a work from home job is hard.
Having gotten that out of the way, let’s dive deep and dissect 5 challenges faced daily by a stay at home mom freelance writer.
1. The stay at home mom freelance writer is constantly battling with a cluttered living space
I don’t want to think I am alone in this big pile of an untidy mass of toys, even those that are not so much of a toy anymore, broken toy cars or bike, building blocks lying about, you name them.
My toddler and preschooler do not hesitate on littering the room with their toys. Once you think they are done playing and you pack up or make them pack up, the next minute you’ll hear is, “Mummy, I want lots of toys”, that’s what my first child calls the pile of all his toys assembled in a huge storage basin.
Sometimes, they dismantle the baby cabinet and empty the clean clothes on the floor. Then, they proceed to mix them up with dirty clothes from the laundry basket. Now tell me, how does a stay at home mom freelance writer who is applying for projects, performing research, writing pieces, reviewing work, making changes after getting client feedback, promoting their services, amongst other tasks, begin to sort clothes into washed and unwashed.
How many clothes would you sniff before your nose begins to itch? Or how many collars do you scan for dirt stains? Don’t even get me going with the temper tantrums they throw once you stop them from making a mess of something. Being a stay at home mom freelance writer sure does look like fun and games until you get the first-hand experience.
2. The stay at home mom freelance writer fights depression
I wanted to leave this as the least but why not discuss it now.
Depression to a stay at home mom is like that family-friend that everyone dislikes and never wants to see. He knows he is not wanted but somehow he still finds his way to the party.
Now, there are levels of depression. There’s the depression that arises because you are idle and have nowhere to go or any means of earning for yourself. Then, there’s the depression that comes with having so much on your plate but lacking time or an adequate level of concentration whatsoever to tackle them. The lack of time and concentration could result from attending to the needs of your children and your home.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing bad with doing house chores and caring for your child(ren). However, you still need that balance with work and life to stay sane and financially buoyant. This balance or lack thereof is what I have had to constantly deal with in my career especially lately with the virus thingy keeping us all at home.
It’s common knowledge that the situation with the virus halted almost all social and economic activities around the world. Children have been home. And if you are a parent you know what that means. No rest. No me-time. More yelling and lack of concentration on your own daily activities.
3. The stay at home mom freelance writer craves for adult interaction
When you tell your friends that you work from home, you’d see this look on their faces that says ‘wow, that must be nice’, ‘So you can wake whenever you like’, ‘No one to boss you around’.
Nobody remembers how lonely or isolated you could feel. It’s crazy going day after day having little to no interaction with adult humans (of course asides your partner).
If you are introverted, do not even think for a minute that you will escape this.
I am an introvert. However, I would love some gist here and there, throw some jokes around to spice up the day. But as a stay at home mom freelance writer, I do not get that. Well, that’s what I signed up for working from my own space of comfort.
It could be mentally draining sometimes. Some other time you would just love to bounce some ideas off someone, just like how you would in a conventional office setting. Unfortunately, a stay at home mom freelance writer doesn’t readily have that privilege. Unless you are a member or network with other freelance writers community or groups.
4. The stay at home mom freelance writer suffers from gadget destruct
At least I am. And yes! This is a thing.
This wasn’t supposed to be on this list of things no one tells you about being a stay at home mom freelance writer. However, during the course of my crafting this post, I got my fair share of gadget destruction.
So, it happened that I was on my bed, as usual, (I love to work from my bed most of the time) doing some gig I just got from an international client.
My spirited toddler walked up to where I was typing away on my laptop. He stylishly, without me noticing (I was totally engrossed), unplugged my laptop and inserted the charger in his mouth.
My goodness! Very dangerous move. Thank goodness I saw that very fast. I screamed and hurriedly pulled the MagSafe charger out of his mouth.
“This child will not put me in trouble”, I said under my breath. For the life of me, what would have happened had I not seen that early enough.
I had to pack up and suspend my work for some time.
And guess what, the charger stopped working and that gave me like 3 days of no-laptop use and an added expense of purchasing a brand new charger. You know how expensive MagSafe chargers are here, in Nigeria. It was really upsetting, but what else could I have done at this point. What is a writer without her laptop?
I was forced to purchase a new charger which of course was totally out of my budget for the month, heck! for the year. That charger wasn’t even up to a year old. What would I do without a laptop charger?
5. Staying committed to schedule/routine
Do you want to set a schedule for when you want to work, complete a project, take a nap? But you can’t? Tell me about it.
That’s every mother’s dream that doesn’t come to pass. Building a routine around your job when you have kids around can be a hard nut to crack. And please don’t beat yourself up. You are not alone on this table.
You, my dear stay at home mom freelance writer aren’t the only one struggling in this department, we all do. In fact, I am the head of this department.
One thing I can tell you that helps me here is to try to work a little more after the kids have retired for the night. I do this, but not as often as I should.
On some nights my toddler still needs me to get uninterrupted sleep.
Yes! I still breastfeed him at 16 months, just because we are stuck with each other at home.
Whenever I put him to bed, after a while he becomes uncomfortable and then begins to turn around. As soon as he is unable to feel me by his side, he squirms and squirms until he wakes. Therefore, once I notice him start to squirm, I dash to the bed, lie by his side and the breastfeeding game begins. I prefer he is asleep than awake. I need my sanity, please 😊.
Like I mentioned earlier, this is by no means an exhaustive list. These are just some of my personal experiences as a stay at home mom freelance writer. I am sure you have some of yours. Please tell me some that you have experienced in the comments so that those of us coming behind know and can understand what we are getting into.
These are not the worst things that can happen to a mom working from home or a freelancer, so please do not fret. This post serves as an encouragement to let you understand that you are not alone. This is me giving a fellow sister who is looking to become a stay at home mom freelance writer a heads up.
Check out this other post where I discuss how well a stay at home mom freelance writer can manage all the challenges listed above, and even some that didn’t make this list.
My final take would be that everyone would experience things differently based on situations, family settings, your personality, location, how well you manage your affairs and even your children’s personalities. Get a trusted support system whether it’s family, daycare etc. I’d say come with an open mind and walk your way through the hurdles.
If you are looking for ways to distress and be happy as a mompreneur or just an individual working from home, I have some tips that might come in handy. Do check them out here.