The Pros and Cons of Being A Work at Home Mom -

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The Pros and Cons of Being A Work at Home Mom

The hardest part after giving birth for career-oriented mothers will be the time when the Maternity Leave allocated for childbirth based on  Article 133 of the Labor Code and Section 14-A of “Social Security Act of 1997″ (Republic Act No. 8282) is up and it is about time to resume your work. Maternity leave usually takes 30 days for Normal Delivery and 45 days for Cesarean Section which is subject to the company policy.

Separation anxiety usually is the greatest challenge for mothers, leaving their babies at home under the care, usually of a close relative or a nanny. The nagging feeling of thinking over your baby’s welfare such as if he is crying looking for you, if he is okay and sound asleep, or if he is being fed on time, not to mention the hardest part which is when he is sick but you still need to report to work. This definitely affects your concentration and focus while working.

That actually is the reason why I have to give up the career and the reputation that I have taken care of with the company I love the most when I gave birth after me and my husband had a talk. We decided that I will start a career instead being a work-at-home mommy so that I can take good care of my son and still earn at the same time. I am employed for more than a year now as a Virtual Assistant(VA) specializing in administrative services, research and data entry and an a part time article writer/ article contributor.

It sounds like an easy, no-fuss plan but not until I was already caught with the setup. So if you are thinking of following the same route especially for expectant mothers, I will give you the pros and cons of being a WAHM (work-at-home mom) based on my honest experience so that you can weigh if it will work for you or not.

Pros and Cons of Being A Work at Home Mom

Image credit: CNN

Pros of being a Work at Home Mom

You Handle Your Working Hours         

Take note though that this is not applicable to all. Some of the clients will require specific working hours for Virtual Assistants to match their time and demands  (Americans, Europeans and Australian clients) while others need to be online based on their client’s availability, especially those who are engaged into tutoring services for Koreans, Chinese and Japanese.

In my case, I asked our manager if I can handle clients who are okay with flexible working schedule and thankfully it was granted. My client is also a mother and she very understanding with the setup. I work usually around 11pm-3am while my son is asleep and then between 8am-12pm Philippine time for a full-time position for me to catch sleep and to feed my son for breakfast when he is up and then resume back to work. Or if it’s part time, usually 12 am-5am or 1am-4am depending on the task. With a flexible schedule, it enables me to adjust my work hours depending on the sleeping time of my baby. This gives me the opportunity to bond with him and attend to his needs every day after work.

And since you handle your working hours, if you are good with delegating tasks and know how to multi-task without compromising the quality of your work and in meeting deadlines, you can take two or three more clients at the same time depending on your company policy if they are okay with you working with other virtual assistant outsourcing companies aside from them because some prefers that you work exclusively for them but in return, you can handle more than one client in your bucket. 

You Directly Supervise Your Child’s Care

You have more time to nurture your baby especially at the crucial stage of his development. Being a work-at-home mom gives you the chance to be in touch with your kid’s emotional and physical milestones, watching him grow and being with him through all his “firsts” which is rewarding as a mother.

By being at home, it gives you plenty of time to spend with your baby. That also cuts the expenses for childcare which is expensive nowadays. Aside from the fact that it costs you less, this setup gives you a sense of security because you don’t have to entrust him to a nanny or a baby sitter. We have heard of news and seen several video clips caught through the aid of the CCTV cameras wherewith nannies shockingly hurt the kids they’re supposedly be taking care of thinking that the parents wouldn’t find out. Working at home is a way of safeguarding your child as well from this horrific circumstance.

Being a mother challenges your multi-tasking skill where you play the most important “career” of taking care of your kids, maintaining the household and keeping your family relationship towards a happier life.

You Don’t Need to Brave Out the Storm and Be Caught in the Rush Hour

Just the mere fact of going out to work is already a taxing thing to do, summing up all the effort just to prep up. What more if you go out to work during a weather disturbance? It is thrice as hard!

If you are working in Metro Manila, aside from the inclement weather, the difficulty of getting a ride especially for commuters, the inconvenience of getting soaked in the rain and even the flood are the common constraints that every employee has to overcome.

Traffic is another thing. You know how stressful it is to be stuck in the sea of cars almost bumper to bumper unmoved for hours with passengers of different smell and kind. And no matter how you made an effort to be so early, you will end up late which affect your attendance which in turn directly affects your performance.

And that is the advantage of working at home. You don’t really have to go out and experience all of those dreaded hassles in order to arrive stress-free to your office. Your home is your own office. No more lates, no traffics, no wading of the flood-water, and no more extra effort to go out and risk your life during the tropical storms.

No Dress Code Policy

You don’t have to always worry about what you will wear every day since you can work while even wearing your pajama unless there are business meetings and client calls through Skype which you of course need to be professionally dressed up for. 

Unlike the corporate world which requires you to wear business casual that entails you to invest for clothing in order to comply with the company’s dress code, being a work-at-home mom spares you from spending the dough and to use it rather for more purposeful expenses.

You Save Yourself From Unnecessary Expenses

Let’s face it, when you work in the office, stress is often the culprit why you have the sudden urge to grab a bite, chill to the nearest Starbucks or coffee shops in the metro, and even splurging yourself through shopping before going home. And you always console yourself that “you deserve it, it was a long day!”

Working at home limits you from unnecessary expenses because in the first place, you don’t have to go out. So that means you don’t see those cute ensembles freshly displayed in the store front and you rushing to buy it, or smell the freshly brewed coffee which entices you to order a grande. It even saves you from that daily team breakfast, taxi or cab fare expenses, fast-food takeouts and unplanned shopping trips.

This in the end is a great way to save those cut expenses directly to your baby’s bank account, investing for his future.

Pros and Cons of Being A Work at Home Mom

Image credit: SBA.GOV

Cons of being a Work at Home Mom

Difficulty of Separating Your Time for Work and for Your Baby

Up until now I am really having a hard time deciphering what I need to do to make the setup effective. It is frustrating if I just started working and my son will be awakened because I have to log out every time and send him back to sleep and then resume the work again. I keep logging in and logging out. I asked my husband and my mom that as much as needed while I am at work, I don’t want to be interrupted so if ever Vander will be awakened, then they have to help me by taking care of him instead. Problem is, my son is in the stage right now that he is so much accustomed to me and he makes a great fuss with all the yelling and wailing if I am not the one to send him back to sleep; thus, distracting my focus and attention towards the task that I am doing.

I’ll quote what I wrote on my last article entitled “5 Hard Facts that New Moms Weren’t Informed About”

“So many times I cried because I think that by investing my time and focusing on my work makes me less of a mother and being more of a mother robs my reputation of being an effective employee. There is a constant battle and it is hard.

Most of the time, a lot of mothers will quit their jobs and work at home just like me but what they don’t know is that, it’s twice harder because everything has to be divided—attention, energy, focus, and time. I am serving two bosses at a time when one is difficult enough already.”

I believe this the greatest difficulty that every WAHM can relate to.  Some may advice that a part-time baby sitter is what I need; but again, my baby is on the stage that he doesn’t want to be handled by someone other than me so it might not be a good option although we’ll give it a shot.

Health Benefits and Other Philippine Government Mandated Contributions

Regarding health insurance and benefits, a lot of the home-based Virtual Assistants I know are not working on a registered Philippine company, most of them are still affiliated overseas; thus, these companies seldom offer or even shoulder the health insurance benefits of the VAs and will not process those monthly-mandated government contributions (for obvious reasons); hence, it will be a personal choice of a VA to avail of a private health insurance that will cover his and his dependents in case of any sickness and hospitalizations for which again he needs to pay on his own.

Same goes with taxes and other Philippine Government mandated Contributions such as Social Security System (local SSS) PAG-IBIG HDMF (provides housing loans) and PhilHealth (for local payout and coverage for any hospitalization and sick benefits). Expect that you will be doing voluntary monthly contributions for the tax, SSS, and PAGIBIG and quarterly for PhilHealth which of course will chunk a portion of your earnings, not to mention the hassle of going through a long queue of paying those and the difficulty of going to their designated offices one by one. Thankfully there are bayad-centers all around Metro Manila which are accepting mandatory contributions.

Your Social Life Becomes Virtual, Too

Having the conventional office setting gives you the chance to work with different types of people of different personalities, skills and work attitude. You see people around moving, dashing, and chatting. You feel their frustrations and you know if the stress is already consuming them. You have a lunch buddy, a group of friends whom you can share your work-related, family and even personal issues through a quick bite once your shift ends.

Once you become a work-at-home mom, expect that your social life will be narrowed with your husband and baby, immediate family members, and your neighbors (if you even are close) who might be sympathetic in a way but wouldn’t really understand what you are going through with your work.

Social media will become your best friend. You reach out and communicate with your friends through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other sites for any updates, chisms, and your talk usually will be through private messaging.

According to a study entitled “Psychological impact of Social Networking Sites: A Psychological Theory”

The invention of social networking sites (SNS) such as Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo Mail and others paved the way for a virtual human interaction, cutting across geographic, time, race, and socio-economic boundaries. Thus, human civilization is now characterized as a civilization living in two worlds: the real world and the virtual world.”

Being confined within the four walls of your home limits you to be in touch with other people in the real world. We are still sociable people and I admit I miss the fuss of being in a crowded place, to sit in a crowded public vehicle, to meet people from the different walks of life. I still love to be in the middle of humanity every day when I was still in the BPO industry. Social networking cannot really give me this satisfaction of warmth and the underlying principle of what it feels like to socialize and mingle face-to-face.

Unstable Flow of Work

When you become a work-at-home mother, you should be aware that even if you have a full-time client, that will not guarantee the stability of your financial status unlike if it is a contract-based employment. Being a Virtual Assistant gives you this nagging feeling of uncertainty. You still don’t know how long your client will avail of your service depending on your effectiveness in deliverance and your work performance. Most of the jobs are pro-rated with just a specific number of hours bought, some will pay by the task only, some will just cover a specific number of months, others will ask you to be replaced if they are not happy with the type of service you provide. There are no long-term guarantee.

Hence, in case a client did not renew his contract, you really have to look for another one so that your generated income will not stop. And with the millions of competitive Virtual Assistants in the market that a client can choose from, there really is a great challenge keeping up.  Make sure you and your husband has a passive means of income so that in case you will lose your client then you still have other financial sources.

Of Being Burnt Out

Motherhood is a demanding responsibility. It requires an enormous amount of attention, time and effort to be able to keep up with your baby, especially on his first few months. And the more it will become challenging the moment he progresses from being a toddler; not to mention running the household if you regained your strength after childbirth. These include doing the laundry, cleaning the house, washing the dishes, cooking, handling the groceries and if you have more than one kid, the energy to help them with their homework, sending them to school, attending their PTA meetings (Parents-Teachers Association) which adds to your shouldered responsibilities.

And then…yes! You will be a work-at-home mother. The demand of the job is the same with the regular office setting. It is a paid work. So expectations are high even if you consider it as an informal setup. They still rate your performance. There still are deadlines. You are still pressured and you still experience the same physical and mental exhaustion.

Although I would suggest for you to have at least a nanny to perform the household chores, or ask a family member to lend a hand with some of the domestic work, the pressure is still on and at the end of the day, the exhaustion is still present.

Either you are single, married, or with kids, I would say that you will encounter the same feeling of burnt out as if you are physically, mentally and emotionally drained. Being burnt out is inevitable when you work. And it will be twice or thrice as hard when you are at home. But at least you are aware of what you are to expect when you dive in to the virtual world of working.

If you are used to multi-tasking and emotional roller coaster, then so be it. Quitting your job and ending up being a work-at home mother again should be both decided by you and your husband. This isn’t for everyone. There are times that I want to quit because time management alone is hard to handle. There are also times when I want to go back to the corporate world so when I am in the office, my attention and focus will just be there but it doesn’t really work that way according to the mother-friends that are still in the corporate world. A lot of them told me that they rather want to be a work-at-home mother to enable them to spend more time with their kids.

So weigh things out based on the two-sides of the coin that I had laid down on the table and I pray that if ever you will start being a WAHM, the favor will work best to you, your baby and your entire family.

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