Q: Please tell us a little about you and your family.
A: I’m a 30-something mom who grew up on a small horse ranch in South Dakota. In May 2014 I married a great man, and we were surprised with our first child in February 2015. In my free time I love scrapbooking, camping, and going to concerts.
Q: Did you have a different career/profession prior to working from home?
A: I spent seven years as an elementary teacher and one year as a K-6 elementary principal and K-12 special education director before deciding to stay home. During those eight years I did some online tutoring, ran various classroom blogs, and always had a summer job to keep me busy as well.
Q: When and why did you decide to work from home?
A: After the 2014-2015 school year, I decided to stay home to raise our son and work at home full-time. It’s been a great (albeit busy!) almost year. Since I’d been blogging in some form or another since 2010, it made sense to make the plunge and give full-time a try.
Q: Was the family budget a consideration, and if so, how did you manage the transition?
A: Definitely! My husband is a public school teacher in South Dakota, the lowest paying state in the nation. We knew we were going to have to watch what we spend very closely. We can live off of his income, but just barely. (Sidebar: If he took the family health insurance offered by the school he works at, his take home pay would be just $800 per month!) During the last year that we were both working, we were living off just his income, while putting mine away in savings. This year we’ve basically been able to continue doing this, except we have a few more expenses with our baby. : )
Q: What ways have you found to earn extra money?
A: My husband Andrew drives a bus and finds a summer job each year to help pay the bills and extras that may come up. I do virtual assistant work, work as a college professor, run two blogs, help people live healthier lives through essential oils, and sell on a website called Teachers Pay Teachers. All of this helps make ends meet each month. : )
Q: What does your typical day look like? Do you keep a set schedule?
A: I have a list of items I have to get done for the week and those that need to get done each day. I try to wake up at 7am to check e-mail, see what new blog posts are out from my favorite bloggers, and do a little VA work before my little man wakes up. Throughout the rest of my day my schedule varies a LOT! Each week I write six new blog posts between the two blogs, do my regular VA work, and create one new teaching product to upload to my store. All of this is done around taking care of my little guy.
Q: How does being a parent affect your work and vice versa?
A: He comes first. Sometimes that can be hard to remember, but I wouldn’t be staying home if it wasn’t for him. 🙂
Q: What’s your best advice for other work at home parents?
A: You have to be flexible, yet you must have focused work time. If you aren’t disciplined about getting your work done, you’ll soon find that it’s 5pm and you haven’t gotten anything done for work. Finding balance is hard, but it IS possible!
Q: What is your current biggest challenge with your situation?
A: Finding enough hours in the day! I thought when I started working from home that I would have more time to get things done. Instead, I’m finding that I have more ideas and thoughts of things I want to take on! I need to prioritize what’s important to me and let the rest take a backseat until I have more time on my hands (if that ever happens!).
Q: What is your opinion about childcare for children of work at home parents?
A: Right now it’s all me, but I can definitely see how having your kids go to daycare – even very part-time – could be beneficial. Right now I work before he gets up, during naps (when I’m not doing laundry – ha!), and sometimes after he goes to bed. Thankfully my son is already pretty good at playing alone, so sometimes I even get some work in while he’s awake. I think it’s easier with just one child. It’ll be interesting to see what happens if/when we have another baby.
Q: What are your goals for the future in your career/as a work at home parent? Do you plan to ever return to a “regular” job?
A: I’m hoping I can generate a steady enough income to not “have” to return to work. If I choose to go back into teaching or administration one day, that’s one thing – but I hope to not HAVE to. We’ll see! Right now I am just enjoying every minute with my little man. 🙂
Q: What has been your favorite part about being a work at home parent?
A: The flexibility! Being able to set my own schedule and be my own boss is a great blessing! If my son is sick, I can focus more time on him. If my husband has a few days off, I can enjoy him being home. If I’m feeling wired one evening, I can stay up and work until 3am and not get up until I hear our little guy later in the morning. I’m not sure my former boss would be ok with me showing up to work late. 😉
Thank you, Heather, for sharing with us a window into your life as a WAHM.
Heather is a WAHM to one little boy. She blogs at HoJo’s Life Adventures and HoJo’s Teaching Adventures. When she’s not blogging, doing Virtual Assistant work, or selling teaching resources online – you can find her running after her one year old, hanging out with her husband, or scrapbooking. You can follow Heather on social media at Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter