I originally wrote this blog post on my other blog (TheWAHMProf.com) but I figured I would also post it here for my other readers!
As a WAHM (Work-At-Home-Mom), I am constantly asked different questions on how I got my job and its details. So I decided to dedicate a blog post to answering the most common questions I get from other moms interested in working from home on a full-time basis.
What exactly do you do?
Most of you know by now that I teach. I am an Online Instructor of Writing. I teach for a large local research university in their online division. I mostly teach First Year Composition.
How did you find your job?
How I found my job is actually a pretty interesting story . I wasn’t actually seeking for a work from home job. I was simply looking for a full-time job. At the time, I had been an adjunct (teaching part-time) for about two years at a local community college, and they were not hiring full-time, at least not me! I was tired of working my butt off for a small paycheck and decided to search for a full-time teaching position although everyone told me that it was unlikely that I would find one because I had only been teaching for barely two years. Some adjuncts remain adjuncts for years. I’m talking 5 to 10 years until they eventually decide to change professions. That alone was discouraging but I did not let it stop me, I suppose. I saw a position at my current institution, but it was part-time still, but a bit more pay. I decided to apply anyway to keep my options open and started applying for full-time non teaching jobs as well.
Needless to say, I received a call from the chair, but it was actually for a different department than the one I had originally applied for. They had a sudden growth and needed more instructors ASAP. And, they liked my resume. Upon checking out their department, I saw that they were also looking to hire a full-time instructor. So during my interview, I mentioned that although I was interviewing for part-time, I was interested in the full-time position. There were really excited to hear that and said they would be in touch on how to proceed if I was selected for the next step. Long story short, I had a second panel interview, this time for the full-time position, and a few weeks later I was given an offer! So, this is how it happened! Call it luck, but I call it favor! Oh and by the way, I still did not realize it was a work from home position. I thought I would still have to go on campus, but when I asked questions during the last interview about working conditions, their answer was : You can work from home, coffee shop, library, or wherever you want!
Interesting thing is that I found out that I was pregnant with our 2nd child shortly after, so ah, it was indeed a blessing!
What is your schedule like as a WAHM?
I don’t have a set schedule. Some work from home jobs require their employees to work a set schedule and clock in etc, but my job is very flexible. I work whenever. For example, when I had our second child, he stayed home with me that first year so I mostly got work done when my husband got home from work and I would mostly work until 1 or 2am at least 3 days a week. Oh boy. Those days were tough. Now that he is in daycare 3 days a week, I finally work during normal business hours of the day. This leads to the most common question I get.
Are your kids in daycare? Why?
This is the most misconception about working from home. If you have a job like mine (full-time/salaried), after a while, it is impossible to get any work done with toddlers around unless you don’t mind cooking/ cleaning and taking care of the kids during the day, working from 6pm to 1 or 2am when you can barely focus because you are exhausted from the day, and waking up at 6am to do it all over again! The type of work I do requires concentration, especially when I am grading, so working late at night after running after my kids all day was becoming unrealistic and simply exhausting. I learned that you can’t do everything on your own. There comes a time when help is needed and really appreciated. It was easier when they were infants. If you wish to work from home full-time, just be realistic and know that your kids may still NEED to go to daycare, at least part-time.
On the days the kids are home with me, we usually go somewhere for morning activities: playdates and story time etc . I like to keep them active in the morning and then it’s lunch, naptime, and getting dinner ready. If needed, I will work in the evenings for a few hours as well!
When they are not home and are in daycare, I usually get most work done in the hours of 9am to 3pm.
Do you like working from home? Is it really as great? Or is it lonely?
Depends. If I’m grading 60 essays, my answer will most likely be no, I hate it. But if there are no essays to grade, I pretty much LOVE It.
For me, it is both great and lonely. I have my days. I have my moments. I love and hate my job at the same time. I always daydream about maybe teaching face to face again or getting a new job, but knowing myself, I may end up regretting it. After two years of working from home, I have gotten used to the freedom, flexibility, and etc. It was really hard at first and still is sometimes, but it has gotten a lot better since putting both kids in daycare 3x a week. I have more time to myself to focus on work, clean the house, and just have some ME time etc. I get to work at my favorite coffee shops and talk to people on some days. Is it my dream job? Um…no. I’m tying to live in the moment and convince myself that it is probably the best job for me and my family in our current stage of life. And with time, I may even want to keep it forever. Who knows. Like I said, it’s a hate/love kinda thing.
What can you advise for someone who wants to work from home full-time?
It’s a tricky question because it really depends on the person’s background. For example, you can NOT be an online instructor without at least a Master’s degree; however, you can be an online tutor with a bachelor’s degree. There are options out there even for moms without a college degree, but the income may not be so great and it may be a bit competitive because so many other moms are applying for the same positions. Perhaps also look into companies that allow employees to work from home after X amount of time. There is online tutoring, data entry, customer service, help desk, etc…Be creative. Some moms start their own business, but that takes dedication and patience. I wrote a post about different options/careers for those wanting to work from home full-time here.
All right, thanks for reading and let me know if there is anything I missed or if you have any questions!