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Do Freelance Moms Have It All? Not Really!

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One mom tells us how it really is to be a WAHM.

Baby making mischief on mother's desk

Vivian Manning-Schaffel: With layoffs escalating by the nanosecond, more and more moms are opting to freelance at home to spend more time with their children while alleviating childcare costs. But, in many ways, the reality of freelancing with kids can prove as frustrating as it is frugal.

Take me, for example. My home office (a.k.a. the desk in the corner of my living/dining room) is smack in the middle of my daughter's play space, so I lurk about my local Wi-Fi coffeehouses for three- to five-hour stretches of time -- a vagrant in search of a power strip and a sandwich.
The negatives? It's always noisy. I'm forced to vie for one of the two tables with an electrical outlet. I have to fork over at least $30-$50 a week I wouldn't normally be spending on lunch, coffee, and sundries to justify my presence. I can't take conference calls at these places, so for those, I retreat to my bedroom closet to muffle the sound of my two kids pounding on my bedroom door. It's hardly a professional environment in which to conduct business. I don't know what's worse -- the professional displacement or the maternal guilt.
When her job ended a few years back, food editor/Mama Chronicles blogger Jennifer Perillo opted to freelance at home so she could cut childcare costs and spend more time with her daughters. And instead of feeling like she has it all, she says she often feels like a gerbil on a wheel: "It feels like I'm on a never-ending deadline, trying to make sure all my 'universes' do not collide."  
In spite of having your balls in the air -- and to the wall -- most of the time, the ability to carve out more kid time is a mighty big payoff. "At the end of the day, I call the shots," says Perillo. "Not some boss who just doesn't get why I need to leave in the middle of the workday to make cupcakes for the PTA bakesale."

next: Jamie Lynn's Baby Daddy Hospitalized
4 comments so far | Post a comment now
maria April 27, 2009, 11:36 AM

I’m a working Mom, with a Husband who works 10-12 hour days at least 5 times a week (mostly nights), I spend well ove $1K per month on child care, and have done the math - if Uncle Sam allowed us to keep 1/2 of the tax money taken from my Husbands check… I could be a SAHM. Yes, I would miss “my” time at my office complete with peeing in a bathroom all to myself, but less the guilt of trying to jam Mommie time, making dinner, baths and bedtime in a 2 hour window…

All in all - there is something to be said for everyone’s situations. At the end of the day, or - the childhood, we will all wonder if we made the right choices and feel guilty for something…

Today, from where I sit (my desk) I’d like to be at the park with my girlies…

AM  April 28, 2009, 3:17 AM

I wish I could find legit work so I could stay a SAHM or rather a WAHM. Unfortunately, all the work from home jobs that I’ve found online either charge you to sign up for a MLM scam or they are direct marketing ‘jobs’ which we all know means selling jewelry, kitchen gadgets, makeup or vitamins (oh and don’t forget candles you can make yourself) to our friends and family… and you still have to pay to get started.

Dagmar Bleasdale April 29, 2009, 12:45 AM

Look into proofreading. I worked my way up and now have a thriving editing business from home, imPROOF Proofreading & Editing. I don’t work full-time and don’t make $50K a year, but it is enough to stay home and not have to send my son to an expensive daycare all day.

RayLanfear May 4, 2009, 3:18 PM

Stay at home, keep your career. Google me: RayLanfear

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