These days, moms are practically expected to have a side hustle. Many of us want to stay home with our kids and cultivate a nurturing home environment, but we feel the financial pinch of not earning a paycheck. The pull to the workforce is especially strong for moms who have completed some sort of formal education. If we spent all the time and money to earn that degree, we should dust it off and use it, right?
Wrong. Working a full-time job from home while taking care of small kids is hard. It’s much more difficult than those ads that show up in your social media feed make it look. The promise of earning a six-figure income while you smile at your laptop with curled hair, freshly pressed slacks, and kids happily playing at your feet is not realistic.
When our first baby was born, I wrote full-time for a regional magazine while taking care of her. I did the same thing when our second baby was born. I didn’t quit my paid job until we moved out of state with a 4-year-old and a 1-year-old. Today, I am the primary caretaker of our three kids, and I recently hired a trusted friend to watch our kids twice a week while I write part-time.
Here’s why being a full-time WAHM is bad for you and your family:
1) Your kid will watch too much TV
Most WAHMs will fib to save face and tell you their kids play with blocks and color while they work. But, having been a WAHM and having seen the inside of other WAHMs’ households, let me tell it to you straight: When Mom’s trying to make a deadline or take an important call, the kids are plugged into the TV. My toddler daughter used to watch TV for 6 hours a day more often than I care to admit, which is one of the reasons I left my full-time remote job.
2) Work/life balance is nonexistent
When you live at your place of work, the boundary between personal time and professional time is blurry at best. At times, you’ll find yourself pecking out emails with one hand while spooning applesauce into the baby’s mouth with the other. You’ll have to either hope that the professional on the other end of your business call is understanding of screaming children or ignore your upset child while you finish the call. Nap time is no longer a relaxing period during which Mom can read, sit quietly, catch up on housework, or catch a few minutes of shut-eye herself. It becomes a time for Mom to cram an eight-hour workday into an hour and a half.
3) You will resent your spouse
When you’re trying to cram billable hours into every empty five-minute block of the day, you quickly realize your schedule allows for no downtime. If you do have time to relax, you fill it with work-related tasks. But your husband, who (presumably) left the house and labored at his place of work all day, will come home and watch TV, eat a snack, and ask “How was your day?”
He is probably looking forward to a relaxing chat with his wife, but his wife doesn’t have time to relax because she’s simultaneously working two jobs. She will be cranky, and he will be confused.
The stress of being a WAHM is bad for women, and it’s bad for their families. I think it’s time we stopped exalting the virtues of being a WAHM and start expecting moms to do what every other working professional does: Work one job at a time.