At the beginning of the new year I sent out a questionnaire for you all to fill out. I was surprised how many of you wanted me to write some posts on working at home as a homeschooling mom. The year is halfway over and I’m just now getting my first post written on it!
I wanted to talk about the basic concept of a mom and wife working at home, while also being a homeschool mom!
When people find out that I’m a work at home mom I either receive encouraging words or dead silence and blank stares. The concept of a mom trying to be a blogger, business owner, and a consultant for a fantastic company sounds overwhelming. Many people don’t feel like a mom should be working like that.
Honestly…I always tell people that I don’t go around thinking everyone should be a work at home mom. It’s really not what every mom is called to do, or even should do. Your worth as a mom is not measured by if you bring in an income. Your first calling is to be a wife and mother. Everything else comes second.
However just because you are a wife and mom does not mean you are not allowed to bring in an income. Having been raised in the conservative homeschool lifestyle since I was little, I know there are teachings that consider it wrong for a woman to work at all. It’s the man’s job to bring in the income and a woman is to fulfill Titus 2, where she is told to love her husband and children and be a keeper at home.
I’d like to share with you why our family has chosen this path and how we make it work.
Why Be Self Employed?
We have pretty much always been self employed. We have had our lean days of eating beans and rice in the winter months, and even lived with family shortly while we were getting a cabinet shop off the ground. I don’t look back and miss any of those days. They were really rough! However we had our vision for being self employed tested many times, and we always seem to stick with it.
Sean’s parents were a little more creative about jobs than mine. I was raised in a family who was not entrepreneurially minded. I’m still not totally sure how I got this entrepreneur spirit in me, but I definitely have it!
We both like working with a business we believe in. We don’t have to compromise our standards. We try to let our faith shine through our business, and we like the freedom that being self employed brings. If we need to take a Monday off and work on a Saturday instead, that’s what we do.
Make It A Family Joint Effort
There is no way I can do this on my own. If my husband had a normal job in corporate America, I would need to pick one thing and do it. I really doubt I could keep up three different business ventures and keep up my home and family. However Sean has always been self employed, and even when he went back to college he was still home during the day in-between classes.
I get up early and work a few hours while the house is quiet. Many mornings Sean will be up and getting the children going on their chores while I’m still working. He then leaves to go work on his own business (currently he is not working from our house as it just didn’t work well with such a small house). He is only a few minutes away, so he comes home from lunch and we can chat about business concerns if needed. Or more often than not, homeschooling or child training concerns.
KISS =Keep It Super Simple
Here is the secret. You can’t be a work at home mom and do it all! I’ve written before that I keep meals simple. We use a lot of paper plates. Outside of church the only commitments we have are music lessons one afternoon a week. I don’t have time to devote to lots of extra activities. Thankfully I was raised in a home where we kept it simple and were not involved in lots of extra activities. That helps me survive the mommy guilt that comes at times. Even if I didn’t have the business I just don’t have the personality that wants to be on the go all week long.
Plan Your Homeschool Around Your Business
This might sound bad, but if you were going to be a work at home mom you can’t spend two hours everyday reading out loud, plus doing one on one schooling with several children. Right now my goal is to read together for 30 minutes a day, plus have devotions in the morning. As my children get older I transition them to more independent work that still fits my homeschooling vision. Since I experienced a Charlotte Mason education all through high school I just haven’t been able to bring myself to use Abeka, but we use Apologia, Notgrass history, Teaching Textbooks, etc. It’s a good blend of interesting materials that are still fairly independent for my older elementary children. Of course you have to spend a lot of time helping your younger children, and working on the subjects the older children are weaker in.
Just Do It
Sometimes you don’t have options. You just have to bring in an income whether you like it or not. When we decided that Sean should go back to college I knew that I would primarily be responsible for keeping our business going. Sean didn’t force me into this. Honestly, if anything it was the other way around! : ) Right now we are in a transition period where Sean is trying to build a business, so I’m still the primary breadwinner (with his help of course!). I don’t have the option to stop, but we both have agreed on this. I will say we are not trying to promote this idea as being ideal. I love working online. I love coming up with new business ideas, but I don’t like the stress of being the main income provider. Sean is working hard on changing that so I can be more relaxed and be the assistant when it comes to income.
Keeping It Biblical
As far as the concerns that a wife should not be bringing in income, one scripture we have looked to is Proverbs 31. The remarkable woman spoken of in those verses is a very busy lady indeed. She considers a field and buys it. She makes fine linens and sells them, and delivers girdles unto the merchants. Of course all of that is mixed in with taking care of her household. Somehow this amazing woman is able to manage it all for the good of her household and they rise up and call her blessed for it.
When I’m tempted to take on massively huge business projects, I have something that helps keeps me in check. If I get so busy that I decide not to homeschool, it’s not worth it. I will drop every business venture so fast your head will spin. Homeschooling my children is far from easy, but it’s a big priority for me and I don’t want to allow business to come before that.
As far as the wife bringing in the main income and the husband being in college or being the helper behind the business, it can get tricky at times. I believe in submission, but I don’t believe in being a doormat. If you have a marriage that you feel like you can’t purchase one single thing without asking your husband, then you probably shouldn’t try to juggle owning a business.
However if you feel your marriage is a partnership, you can probably make it work. I run big purchases of new inventory through Sean. I ask his advice before a big marketing decision and we’re constantly discussing the status of our business. However, I don’t talk to him before ordering more inventory that we currently sell. He’s very comfortable with me making many of the day to day decisions regarding the business and we have a pretty good understanding of what my role is and when I need to come to him. In short, we’re in this together and we have a healthy respect for one another’s talents and strengths.
That’s just a brief look on how we make this work at home, homeschooling mom thing work. It’s not always pretty, some days there are tears involved, other days there is laughter. But that sums up motherhood, right?
One of the businesses I really enjoy is being a Lilla Rose consultant! It’s a fun, easy job because I love the hair clips and I don’t have to stock inventory to sell online.