Today is my 4 year anniversary as a work at home mom.
Well, to be honest, I didn’t start being a WAHM immediately… but four years ago today I officially came home to raise my children … and I am so gob smacked at how fast time flies.
It’s funny really, because I never, ever thought that I would be anything other than married to my offline business (for the rest of my life…if truth be told!)
When I think about it, it seems it all came about, seemingly as part of a natural transition. I believe that it was meant to happen in a funny sort of way… perhaps as a result of something that had ‘niggled’ me in the back of my mind.
I’m not saying I ‘willed’ it to be… subconsciously… but it had drifted in and out of my mind since the arrival of my children.
You see, both of my children were a surprise. Rosie came to join us in January of 2003 and Joe entered the world in September 2004.
Prior to the surprise of both my children (and yes, they were surprises…You’d think at 40 you’d know what ‘caused it! ) I had spent a good decade and a half running a busy brick and mortar business with my then husband.
I can remember when I ‘got the news’ that Rosie was to join us, I wondered how the heck I was going to pull off being both a mom and working 12 hour days away from home.
Luckily my mom stepped up to the plate and became our full time nanny.
Things worked quite well, although I am sure my mom was knackered at the end of the day with two babies in diapers…. All I can say is that I sure appreciated her (and still do of course).
What I do remember, although it seems so long ago is that even though I was completely comfortable leaving my kids with my mom (naturally… I was blessed) … I always had deep pangs of guilt. Most of the guilt came from ‘missing out’ on my children’s growth.
At the time, I just accepted the fact that this was the way it was… and never in a million years dreamed that I would ever have the opportunity to spend proper quality time with the children.
I feared, in the back of my mind that I would look back (particularly when they reached their teens) and sorely regret not having taken the time to cease the moments with my kidlets and knew I would miss out on irreplaceable life experiences.
Then, in 2005 ‘things’ started to go sideways in our marriage. I am not sure if part of my issue might have been post-partum, but I was SO frazzled and exhausted all the time.
My husband at the time spent very little time at home. He did work hard, but the challenge was he rarely got home at a decent time for dinner so at the end of every 12+ hour day, I came home alone to deal with the children, (Plus I had two horses at the time to clean, feed and groom… as well as ‘try’ to squeak an hour in with the kids before I put them to bed).
After the children were in bed, I would go into my office and attack my ‘trusty’ basket of paperwork (from work) that I had to get caught up on. This usually took until at least 1-2 AM. Then I was up at 5am to do it all again.
The weekends were pretty much the same…after working a more than full time week at work (and believe me I was busy) I would find myself at home, alone with two babies in diapers and a pile of paper work (again from my ‘basket’ )… while my husband was either at work again (?) or doing his thing.
I was knackered and frankly had very little help at the time, hence felt very overwhelmed and very alone.
Naturally, there were many contributing factors but in 2005 things went from bad to worse, as a result of mistakes we both made in my opinion.
I managed to hang in there at the business and work with my husband in a very painful & negative environment until January 2007 when it became abundantly clear that ‘things’ just were not improving relationship wise, and the decision had to be made as to whether I would buy my ex out, he would buy me out, or whether we would liquidate.
I had the opportunity of forming a partnership with a friend who was experienced in our industry and it appeared for a while that I might buy my ex out and continue working. I was OK with the prospect of continuing with a partner, and it seemed this might just work out great.
Then as luck would have it my ex DH decided he would buy me out and offered something I could “live with”… although definitely less than I deserved… but in any event I then went on to help orchestrate a partnership between my husband and the fellow I was to be partners with instead.
This way, I felt I would have created a “win-win-win-win” situation. I would be home with the kids, my ex could continue to build our good, solid business, our friend would be part of an exciting and thriving business… and just as importantly my (our) loyal staff would still have secure employment..
Everything seems a little fuzzy now, but what I do remember is in 2007 I had booked the month of August off. Mostly for a sabbatical to be honest. I fully intended to return to work for a few months to make sure things ran smoothly after I left and to help with the transition of my exodus.
As it happened, my ex had different plans and while on my holidays I was advised that the ‘financing’ was complete for my buy out and the only thing left for me to do was sign off and pick up my cheque.
Though we had been going through months of litigation between lawyers…and I knew the day would come that I would walk out of the doors never to return, it was still shell-shocking to a degree!
In any event, I had to look at the bright side and that was that I now had the opportunity to be a stay at home mom – come “work at home mom” shortly thereafter.
It was definitely an adjustment for both me… and the company but funnily, if there is one thing I have learned in life it’s not to take yourself too seriously (LOL) and that nobody is indispensible. I guess that’s why I love the Sunscreen essay so much as it has a way of ‘tweaking your ego… anyway… sorry I digress…
Garshk… (I could think of another word or two) but these were horrendously difficult times for me… even now it hurts in a bittersweet sort of way.
I had lost so much weight from worry, heartache and stress that I am surprised I didn’t just drop dead on some days nearing the end of my tenure at my business.
In the fall of 2007 I decided to look into doing something online and ideas to become a “work at home mom”. Even though I had received a decent pay out, I was in no way on a retirement plan so I knew that I had better start looking into ways to earn for the future.
There were lots of little twists and turns and funny / coincidental chains of events, and I explain it better on my old site (one I haven’t looked at for at least a year or so). I explain the steps I took and how in the end I feel my business ‘found me” and how in a strange sort of way, I truly believe things all work out for a reason. You can read that story here if you like.
Eventually I was lead to a business opportunity in the personal development industry.
I chose this as my business for a couple of reasons: First of all, I needed some positive energy and something to help me lift my spirits… and this opportunity is a ‘program’ to ‘fix’ people first and foremost. I needed “change” and needed TO change in a big way, in the way of mindset, attitude, morale and health… so it definitely came at the right time for me!
Second, the business is legitimate, solid and includes an automatic business option attached to it and an excellent commission structure so I knew that if I worked at it, I could earn an income as many others do.
Third and quite importantly at the time is it has an 8 week money back guarantee.
Because I had no experience marketing a business online, I figured that a test run for 8 weeks would also give me time to get my feet wet to determine how to actually ‘market’ and was a fair ‘risk’ so to speak… so I dove in with both feet.
What I found is that it’s amazing what you can do if you put your mind to it.
Within about 7 weeks, I had studied like a mad woman and managed to earn back my initial investment in a very short period of time.
I continued to learn and apply… and the rest is history. (Actually I’m still learning and applying… ha ha… but that’s just what life is about!!)
Has it all been a bed of roses? NO… not necessarily!
Has it been easy? Well… no, not really… but yes sort of! (lol) I find we can often make things much more difficult by ‘overthinking” and dawdling instead of just going for it!!
What I find is that putting thoughts into ‘action is harder than ‘doing’ the work.
Have I had to learn new things? Hell… YES… BUT … I have done far more difficult things in my life than learn how to market online!
There have been times when I have felt like tossing my laptop into the road… then driving over it just to make sure it’s dead…LOL … but in the end it’s all how you look at it. (and I’m glad I didn’t kill my laptop… I need it!!)
I have chosen to ‘enjoy” and have fun with this experience, and I find if you ‘relax’ and focus, nothing is as difficult as we can convince ourselves they are sometimes.
Today I find myself still marketing the same business and being a sponsor to help others; moms, dads and a variety of individuals ‘tweak’ their mindset & get their businesses up and running… this is of course on top of my blogging, coaching, more recently affiliate marketing… and so many awesome opportunities that have come out of this experience.
There are two reasons I am writing this post today. The first is to reflect and get a few sentimental thoughts out off my chest. Looking back at all these trials and tribulations is a little painful… but at the same time I do believe that many things do happen for a reason.
Also, as humans, we often find ourselves crashing and burning like I did … but if you really want to pull yourself out of it, you simply have to ‘go with it’ and surrender yourself to the natural chain of events, look for the positives that come out of it… and let the chips fall where they may.
I am also sharing this to prove that it’s never too late to start a business… in fact the right time to start a business is now… particularly if you’re surfing the internet daily and wasting your time procrastinating. We all know that nothing ‘good’ or effective comes out of that!
Sure, if I had known what I now today, I would have likely gotten started in this industry 10 years ago. The thing is I didn’t and things happened when they were supposed to.
I also wanted to emphasize that it is possible to take a bad situation and turn it into good if you really want to and you are willing to crack in, think positive and work towards improving on all levels of life.
I also think that most importantly its worth sharing that even though I would make ‘some’ changes, particularly to my relationship… (I would have tried harder to fix it) I have had to accept and forgive both myself and my ex, and simply count my blessings & be grateful for this opportunity to be a work at home mom… and it’s this experience that has made it worth while.
I started in this industry well into my 40’s… and while I may not be the most tech-savvy person on the planet, I have learned you don’t need to be.
You just need to be aware of your BIG why… and if being a work at home mom (or dad)is important enough, which I am sure it is if you’ve thought about it before… anything is possible. (Even if your nerves are ready to crack like an egg like mine were).
So many moms that I know are running around like farts in a wind tunnels shuffling kids from daycare to babysitters and can see no way out. I feel so fortunate to be able to absorb and enjoy as I do instead of simply seeing my kids go from ‘diapers to teenagers’ and not experiencing the ‘in between’ bits!.
Oh sure there are days when you are tired, you have things to do, both around the house and online for your business, but the bottom line is… kids come first and it’s very possible to adjust your schedule if you are serious about doing so.
I get up early on some days and do my blogging marketing and other activities, or stay up later on some nights after they are in bed.
This leaves the days open to play with them and absorb the wonderful memories we create together.
This summer has been awesome so far and frankly I find it amazing we are half way through the summer holidays already.
So far we have been up to our resort lot twice and we are heading up there again next week.
We bike ride, spend time at the water park, scooter (yes I have my own scooter) and can keep up with the best of ‘em…. Even though admittedly there are some days when I almost feel like putting the paddles to my dear heart to jump start it once again.
We bake, make jello, paint stuff … I had the kids paint an outdoor patio set. I am not sure what had more paint on it at the end of the day… ‘it’ or ‘them’!
We also have tons and tons of play dates. My house is almost like ‘Club Med’ for kids. So much that I ended up installing synthetic turf in the back yard to cut down on the ‘muck’ caused by dozens of kids, dog, trampoline, swings, slide, and HUGE paddling pool.
Yes we have fun… and I wouldn’t change things for the world! I just know that even though selling my beloved business was truly a difficult decision, it was not nearly as heartbreaking as it would have been if I had not decided to be a work at home mom and if I had forfeited this time with my kiddies!
As parents (moms or dads) life is busy. Depending on the age of your kids, there might be school, field trips, activities (ours are cheerleading and karate at the moment)… plus maintaining a household.
Add work into the mix and quite frankly I am not sure what I would do if I had to keep up the pace I used to…. Well… I guess I would just ‘miss out’… because as we all know, the years come and go faster and faster!
The bottom line is, in life you do have to make sacrifices and take action to get what you want. Whether it’s making the ‘time’, making a monetary investment, adapting to life changes… or creating them… but always remember thatnothing is impossible if you are truly serious about taking control of your life!
Time is precious and we really all need to live in the moment and count our blessing for the gifts of our children.
I guess it’s because of my own gratitude that I have focused on helping moms stay at home and build businesses…. Not that I haven’t welcomed or appreciate the opportunity of working with others too… but I suppose because I am a WHAM that I tend to hook up with moms in similar boats.
In life … stuff happens. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes not so good… but at the end of the day things it’s up to us to manage to make all situations the best they can be and turn lemons to lemonade and realize that every cloud has a silver lining.
The problem islife goes by pretty quickly and as I have said on umpteen occasions, at the end of it we are not going to look back and wish we had spent more time at the office and missed out even more on the growth of our children.
If I, in the middle of such a stressful situation (and believe me…. It was) can turn things around by being determined … anybody can.
Hmmm. Four years of being a stay at home mom. Who knew?
Well… I guess this rambling served as a release and shed some light on a little more of my history, but I sure hope it gave you some food for thought…
I also hope that if you are a mom or dad who has been diddling around “thinking” of being a stay at home parent that this might offer some encouragement for you to take action.
We are so lucky to have this great tool called the internet to reach all corners of the world from the comfort of our own homes. It’s a shame to stare a give horse in the mouth when you could be making good use of it.
If you need a hand getting started as a work at home mom or dad, contact me and let’s see if we can’t change your situation so in a year you too can celebrate an anniversary as I am today.