WAHM: Are We Being Sold A Lie?

WAHM

A quick scroll through social media and you’ll come across the all too familiar moans from parents everywhere that the summer holidays are hard work – trying to keep children entertained without breaking the bank and allowing for the joys of a British summer or doing the childcare juggle of grandparents and summer clubs to make the train into the office. Yet I like countless other mothers seem to be in both camps… all the time.

When I tell people I’m a WAHM (work at home mama) people instantly think I spend my hours having coffee catch ups and sit at the kitchen table writing a few posts here and there. I don’t know how to break the fantasy but it couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m sure they’ll be people shouting while reading this saying ‘but don’t you pop to Costa a couple of times a week’ my response: ‘Yes, it’s a change of scenery because you know as a human it’s nice to be surrounded by other humans occasionally!’

Being a WAHM is sold as the ‘have it all’, the holy grail of striking the perfect balance of maintaining a career whilst being at home for your children; but at what cost? Are we being sold a lie? A balance so unachievable that leaves you a master of none?

I’m a WAHM out of necessity not by choice – being a single parent and single income (oh and freelance) household in the London suburbs means that the pricey wraparound childcare for the school year and holiday clubs just isn’t an option for me; coupled with Boo’s health hurdles and regular visits to hospitals for appointments and tests (not to mention sick days) commuting into the city isn’t a viable option. Yet as I spend every night working until 1am trying to chase my tail I’m starting to wonder how much longer will being a WAHM be a viable option either.

Being at home throughout the week means people assume you are available, from taking in parcels, meetings at school, friends calling for a chat (I promise I do love to talking to all of you!) It also means that people treat your time as elastic and I’m probably just as much to blame or that as I still seriously undervalue my own time.

I work in a corner of my kitchen where I’m sat now and I have the hum of the washing machine (sorry Kirsty Alsopp, I’m one of those philistines who doesn’t have a utility room!) and the screech of a Disney film coming from the sitting room while Boo plays for a bit so I can get some work done. Now I’m pretty sure that my finest work ins’t going to be born from the above environment. Yet I’m expected to compete professionally with people sat in an office.

On a typical school day I try to cram a full working day into six hours and do all the housework and family life admin (coordinating between Boo’s consultants can sometimes take hours), oh and constantly pitch for new work projects all the while appearing like a professional who has her sh*t together. You don’t need a degree in maths to work out that I have a time deficit, it’s exhausting.

Like most important issues there is no simple or singular answer, the first step is for us as a community to be having honest and open conversations – this isn’t easy and I’m certain I’m not the only one who feels like this. We need to recognise that being a WAHM is often not a choice, and that we as growing working sector of society need access to business and family life support such as truly affordable flexible childcare – I shouldn’t have to send a round robin beg text to the mums at school asking for someone to pick Boo up because I have a meeting in town. Or subsidised flexible working hubs in the suburbs.

There isn’t a magic pot of money for me to take time out and revaluate my working practices; I don’t expect to be swanning round and reducing my workload (please no one ever say the term Mum Boss to me, how about just boss? You know it’s the 21st century right?!)

Being a WAHM is the only option available to me, meaning I’m determined to get it right both for us as a family but also me as woman – because I can’t do my best work, work that I’m proud of. when I’m waiting for the washing to finish and am on borrowed time to play a game of Monopoly with Boo.

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10 Comments

  1. August 8, 2017 / 12:49

    Great post, I feel just the same. It’s so tough and the most frustrating thing is that everyone assumes you’re not doing anything when you’re working at home!
    Nat.x
    Plutonium Sox recently posted..Family Travel Tips #11My Profile

  2. August 8, 2017 / 13:45

    I’m a wahm and a home edder, has it’s pros and cons. No school runs and a routine that spans the whole year without being disrupted by holidays, but also means most work done between 8 and 12pm so permanent momby.

  3. August 8, 2017 / 15:16

    Fab post Rosie, I feel completely the same. People always think we’re just swanning around in cafes and found on lunch dates but there’s so much more too it than that! It’s a necessity for me too and I’m just glad I can make it work for the moment xx

  4. August 9, 2017 / 14:35

    It’s tough! My husband works from home and I work from home too a day a week and it is so difficult. You do need to be very disciplined but even if you are there are always other distractions and necessary things you can’t escape from. I hope you will find more of a balance!

  5. August 10, 2017 / 08:22

    I’ve run my small business for years from home. Unless people see you going out to work they assume you don’t do any. I just nod and agree now, that I just stay at home, it’s easier. You’re right it isn’t having it all it’s compromising in a big way. I wouldn’t change it either though I like the flexibility of an unexpected child home sick I’m not phoning anyone to say I won’t be in or trying to find someone to have them.

  6. August 11, 2017 / 21:11

    I can so relate to this, you’re not alone. In some ways, I wouldn’t have it any other way – working from home means that I can be there whenever my kids need me. It’s hard though, and exhausting x

  7. August 12, 2017 / 07:34

    It is definitely tough and I also think many people I know think I have it easy and money just falls into my bank account with me doing nothing!! Only my husband knows how many hours I put in!

  8. August 17, 2017 / 11:12

    Oh I get it totally! I’m currently attempting to work along with taking care of my 3yo. YouTube and Netflix are my best friends right now. Yes I know the whole electronic babysitter isn’t good. We went out the last two days – I got zero work done but he had lots of time outside lol. oh being a WAHM is so hard some days but I wouldn’t change it. I highly doubt I’d be able to hold down a 9 to 5 job and keep everything together lol.
    Hannah recently posted..Monthly Review: July 2017My Profile

  9. August 20, 2017 / 07:33

    With you sista. Having recently given up paid work to be able to do school and nursery runs, and starting to try and make something of writing, I feel this post. Too many people have asked if I’m enjoying being a lady of leisure. This stings as leisure is the something I don’t have the option of at the moment….
    Great post. ☺️

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