The Costs Of A Work At Home Mom


by Stephanie Berenbaum – January 3, 2011

Happy F*ing New Year Mommy!

The week between Christmas and New Year’s is my time to get both my home life and my work life organized for the coming year.  I set my personal goals, company goals and lock in the budgets for both.  And I must say, last week I was at my inspired best – that is until my youngest son peed directly onto my open laptop and stopped my flow midstream (pun intended).  Yes, you read it right.  In the fifteen seconds I was gone from the room to get my coffee mug in the kitchen, the little dude primitively (yet brilliantly) marked his territory on all of my unsaved work!  Not the most Fab or Fru way to start off the New Year…

The Confusion of the Home Office

As many work from home moms might experience, sometimes your kids get really sick of you working.  If you’re there, why can’t they have all of your attention?

Sometimes I am not exactly sure what Andrew is trying to say, I mean he still confuses “on” with “off” and that sort of thing.  But for the past few months, he’s been sending me a very clear message: “Mommy, STOP WORKING.  You Done, OK?” And with that he’ll usually try to close my laptop and gently redirect me to his Legos or Magnatiles.

Which, in turn, brings us to the other night….

Non-Verbal Communication

I went down the hallway for just a moment, when my mother’s intuition told me perhaps I should glance back and check on the boys. And there was my sweet not-even-three-year-old, standing on top of my desk, peeing directly onto my open laptop computer.  Andrew just looked at me and said, “You done working, OK?” in his precious little voice. –More of a statement than a question at that point, don’t you think?

Money Down The Drain

How does all this relate to Fab & Fru, you might ask?  Well, aside from all the lost work (which I of course hadn’t backed up yet), I saw my $1300 home computer just fading away before my very eyes.  I got there just in time to see the screen go black.  Having just done a family budget for 2011 (albeit on the dead computer, so maybe that rendered it moot anyway) it was not a great feeling knowing I would be starting out the new year over $1,000 poorer right off the bat.

Of course I was upset and dropping the f-bomb right and left.  But I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a twinge of mother’s pride thrown in – I mean, he did communicate his thoughts extremely well!  So, as I sat there looking at my laptop draining,  I realized what I was most upset about wasn’t even the loss of the work or the loss of the money (though let me be clear – I wasn’t happy about it) but it was the fact that I felt once again like I had blown the very thing I was working so hard to attain – that elusive ‘work from home’ balance.

Having it All

I have visions of other work from home moms peacefully co-existing in their office/playrooms, surrounded by color coded toy bins, cheerfully appointed art tables, and happy children immersed in fabulous crafts projects as mommy has yet another productive day.  So, usurping my other resolutions (having to do with Zumba Dance, Pilates and organic skin care products) I added a new, much more difficult one to the list: Trying to make this whole home office thing work – or at least work more cost effectively and with less stress for us all!

New Beginnings

So, with 2011 kicking off with a big bang here at Fab & Fru, we encourage all of you to look on the bright side, live well, spend wisely and remember to put your laptops safely away when children are around!

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2 Responses to “The Costs Of A Work At Home Mom”

  1. Larissa says:

    OUCH! That sounds horrible, yet hilarious at the same time! I wish I had some answers, but I’m definitely in the same boat. I do go into my office most days, but the days I work from home can have similar fiascos. Although somewhat comforting to hear I’m not alone….

  2. Ann says:

    I’ve been a work from home Mom for five years now and have tried every schedule known to man. At first I worked part-time, which worked well because I could get up and get most everything finished before our children woke up. Business was good and I soon moved to full-time, which was a big mistake. Working full-time from home with homeschooled children led to a busier than life schedule, a lack of organization, meals on the run, money wasted on eat-out food, leftovers thrown away that could have otherwised been put to good use, and a lack of quality family time. I urge any Moms out there who feel like their family ‘has’ to have that extra income to really consider the cost of that income. We took a good, hard look at our family, our goals, and what we truly want for your children. With that I quit my job and we’re now learning to live on one income. I may pursue a part-time job in the future, but it will be very part-time. As a true stay at home Mom I can save as much money as I was spending trying to work. It’s a hectic schedule trying to be a full-time Mom, employ, and wife. I truly urge women to consider the purpose God has placed on them and prayfully consider trying to ‘be it all.’ There’s a cost to pay and in our family our children were paying that cost.

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