When Writing Doesn’t Go as Planned..

What is a new with me? Well, so much.

Firstly, I am very sad because I have not been able to complete NANOWRIMO. Unfortunately, last week I grabbed my laptop from the counter, while holding baby on the other arm, and it just slipped from my arms like silk and hit the floor.

Then there was the noise that made me cringe and I thought for sure, I broke it. It worked fine that evening, but the next day it would not turn on. I got this MacBook Air for Christmas last year, so it’s been less than a year. I’m hoping the next place I take it to will fix the problem (first place could not). Apple store wants to charge me pretty much what we paid for to fix it, so we are looking at alternatives.

Anyway, so when that happened I resorted to our home PC, whose screen also gave up on me. Perfect timing. So I had no computer. After days of not being able to write, I realized we had another laptop (a slow Lenovo laptop), it is what I am currently writing on and it hurts my fingers like no other.

So this is what has been going on with me. I have been focused on getting a lot of things done for work and home, as I begin a new journey this upcoming Monday. I will be going back to work full-time after forever, so I am quite nervous about it but am excited about the opportunity to write full-time for a great company.

I am also a bit sad about not being home with the kids anymore, worrying in the back of my mind about how they will cope with mommy being gone all day. I am at peace knowing that they will be home, in great hands, but still feel a bit sad. I will miss our walks and our adventures together. It is bittersweet, but I also know that working will make me a better mom. Pray for me!

This was an update on my “writing life”– although I have not been able to complete NANO, I’m shifting my attention on writing more non fiction and bringing awareness on Spiritual Abuse. I hope that one day, I will share my story in a published book, but for now I am focused on bringing awareness to this important matter.

Writing may not always go as planned, but don’t let it get you down or slow you down. Writing comes with obstacles and struggles, so keep typing.

Perhaps I was not meant to finish that story.

Anyway, I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving!

Q&A On Being a Full-time Work-at-Home-Mom 

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

Work-at-Home-Moms: When It’s Time To Put The Kids In Daycare

 For the past year, since his birth, I’ve been working from home full-time  with an infant–and it was the hardest thing ever. But… it was worth it! Watching him grow and never missing a moment of his first year was priceless. Now, my oldest has been going to preschool part-time for a while,  so it is also good to be able to spend some days with him at home as well. I am grateful to be a Work-at-Home-Mom.
Working during nap time was never consistent, and working after the kids went to bed was becoming too overwhelming. Sleeping after midnight every night was my life. What was supposed to be “the best of both worlds” became a nightmare. I always complained because of how exhausting the situation was, playing the supermom role and all. I knew it was temporary. We’d agreed we’d  keep him at home the first year, but when he was six months, it was already starting to feel almost impossible. but still,  I tried to hold on a little longer.
See, people have this misconception  that working from home is all peaches and roses. That’s a thing, right? Peaches and roses? I can’t think straight right now (currently tucked in bed writing this). Anyway,  as I was saying,  by working from home, I don’t  mean selling oils or it works! (no offense), but I am referring to work-at-home-moms with a full-time  salary position.
I often hear: “You’re so lucky. I wish I could have your job so I could bring in some income and be with my kids.”
Uh…yeah….
I always tell them to be prepared to do double the work. Because that is the reality. WORK-AT-HOME-MOMS  wear both hats. We’re home with the kids and trying to work at the same time, while keeping up with cooking and household chores while trying not to feel guilty about not devoting enough time to play peek-a-boo.. Let me add how messy the house gets! So it is not as “golden” as people think.
It is; however, a good option if you have a very flexible job where you can set your own hours and work whenever, wherever. Even better if you’re able to have some help during the day for your own sanity.
Every now and then, time away  from the kids can make you a better mother and a much better employee.
All in all, working from home has been a blessing for my family. I do admit that I have a love it and hate it relationship with my job. But at the end of the day, it’s what’s best for my family and our current stage of life.
So in order to continue  to make it work, something had to change after my latest breakdown. And I feel so great about this decision.  Sort of like I can breathe again– major weight lifted off my shoulders.
So now, this mama right here  gets a break three days a week to work during normal business hours of the day and sleep when everyone sleeps because I will no longer have to be a night owl who works past midnight .
Amen to that. 

You’re So Lucky! You Have It All Figured Out.

 Although I am currently working from home full-time /WAHM, (I’m an online writing instructor for a local university) I don’t exactly love it  and at times, it can feel very frustrating, exhausting, and stressful– and on those days, I’m just about over working from home . So, I even went to great lengths and had job interviews with a possible career change.

But then this morning  I had to make an early drive into the city and as I sat there in major traffic near downtown, I thought, “there’s no way I’m getting back out there for any 8-5 type of job. What was I thinking by wanting to “get back out there ?”

I’m sure some us have that familiar sentiment: The guilt that comes with the desire to focus on your career while also being there for your children. The guilt that comes with wanting a career. The guilt that would eventually come with putting the kids in someone else’s care while you work. The guilt of not using your degree or vice versa.  I read an article over the weekend that discussed this very topic and it really had me thinking and realizing that I’m not alone.

Yes, I would love to have my dream job or dream career, but for now, I’m grateful for what I have. I am content with where I am because I know that if the time ever came for me to “get back out there” I will miss being out on my patio in the middle of the day. I do have a job that allows me to spend as much time as I want with my kids and some moms would gladly trade places with me.

So, for now, I’d rather be a night owl who grades while everyone else sleeps. I’d rather go for morning hikes with my baby and take pretty pictures in the mornings while I sip my coffee. Sometimes we never seem satisfied with what we have. Always wanting more and forgetting the now. But today, I’m satisfied. Because many would want to trade places with me. Today, I live in the moment and appreciate the present.

To all the moms who constantly tell me,” You’re so lucky. You have it all figured out so young.”

No, I don’t. I’m just like you, still trying to figure out what it is I really want.

 

How In The World Am I a Stay-At-Home Mom With a Full Time Job?

Calling all my working mamas!

How in the world do you do it? Especially if you have a 9-5 job. I work from home and thought it would be just fine with an infant and toddler. Hah. Forgive me for underestimating how much work it would be. It is really hard. At least I don’t have a job that requires me to clock in and out and sit at a desk for certain hours. Don’t get me wrong, I still have to work 40+ a week, but I get to make my own schedule. If it was not for the flexibility, I would not be able to work from home. Because quite frankly, I basically have an evening shift work-from-home job.

Many people have a misconception about what it is like to work from home with kids.

They think it’s all paradise. OK, yes I get to work in my pjs and yoga pants on most days, but, as I said before on my Instagram, most of the time I get my work done when the kids go to bed at night. It is impossible for me to do anything during the day, but it is still possible to work from home if you do not mind working in the evenings. My days are spent taking care of my little guy (on the days older brother is at school) and doing occasional chores. If I need to meet up with friends or colleagues for coffee, he tags along.

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So… how in the world am I a stay-at-home mom with a full time job?

Recently though, my husband and I have made an arrangement for me to work 5pm to about 9ish. I lock myself in my office to work and he takes care of the kids. Some days I don’t actually start until closer to 8pm and work until midnight or 1am.  I usually take a break to help with the kids’ nighttime routine.  Some days I have more work. Some days I hardly have any when I’m all caught up. What I don’t like about that schedule is that I am missing out on quality time with him and the kids. So I try to make sure that I have absolutely  no work to do on the weekends so I can spend  time with hubby. My toddler goes to preschool three days a week, so at least that gives me some quiet time to respond to emails or do quick chores while the baby naps.

The thing is, I underestimated how much work baby#2 would be. Sounds wrong but it is so true. My first was very quiet. Yes, he cried when hungry or sleepy, but for the most part, he was very easy going and could entertain himself easily. Now baby #2 is very different. He does not like to be left alone and always wants me around. He’ll play for maybe ten minutes on his own, but that’s it. So, he is a full time job itself. Thus the reason why I can not do a single thing until hubby gets home.

I never used to be a night owl. But now I am mostly productive in the evening. I suppose we are testing the waters, but I would be lying to you if I said it was easy.

Sometimes, we, mothers, have the pressure to keep it all together and make sure that everything is perfect. We feel the need to be the perfect wife and the perfect mother. If not, then we are failing. We easily compare ourselves to so and so who seems to have it all together. Little do we know that so and so is also struggling with the same challenges.

Everything will not always be perfect, and that’s okay.

Some nights the dishes will remain in the sink, and the floors won’t be shiny. Some days you’ll have to order take out and take a shower late at night. That is the reality of it. As long as you are doing your best, mama, then do not give in to the pressure of having to be perfect all the time.

Some of you wonder how in the world do I still find time to write and blog? I suppose this is my escape. Blogging keeps me sane.  It gives me a place to escape to for just a little while.

It is not by my own strength that I am able to do this. God is my strength. When I do not read my devotional/Bible or spend some time in His presence, I definitely feel a sense of loss and weakness. But as soon as I put some worship music on or meditate on His promises, I instantly feel renewed. Strengthened. Awaken. So I have to keep reminding myself that if I keep trying to do everything on my own, eventually I will continue to get weaker. One of my favorite verses in Proverbs 3:5 reads,

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all  your ways acknowledge him, and He shall direct your path.

So although I may not understand how I will be able to overcome this challenge, God does. And I will continue to trust in the Lord with all my heart for strength and courage.

This post was also published on Huffington Post.