Struggles of a Stay-at-Home-Work-from-Home Mama

Allow me another introduction: I’m Emily, a stay-at-home-work-from-home mama. I’m the hybrid mother. The gal whose office is in the back of the garage. The gal who schedules and attends play dates while checking email for the latest info from a client. The gal who crams some editing here and some writing there during nap time–and well after lights out. The gal who closes her office door for 15 hours or so a week of quiet work. The gal who kisses hurts, plays Barbies, sings with Sophia, and makes Sweet Shop cakes to impress the average toddler.

In any given week, I work 15 to 25 hours in my office or offsite while a babysitter watches my wee one. Other times, if work should pour in, I work during all sorts of hours in addition to my “set” work hours. I set my own schedule for the most part so I can make the zoo days and the school drop off/pick up and the parties and park trips. I can see my daughter whenever I want during my work hours. The babysitter conforms to our rules and parameters in the comfort of my child’s own home.

With all the bonuses also come a work desk that’s never far away. Constant work email and projects that take longer than expected so I’ll just stay up after midnight this once. And then there’s guilt over working too much. And then guilt for not meeting this or that deadline. And stress. And wishing for more hours in a day.

Sound glamorous? Sound ideal?

When explaining to other mothers that I work from home thanks to a freelance editorial career, I often receive comments like: Oh, that sounds perfect. Or that’s what I’d like to do. Or what a great schedule.

Promise I didn't stage my office. Just walked in and snapped this shot, Motrin, dark chocolate, and all!But here’s a confession. You know, just between you and me. When I read a post about a day in the life of a stay-at-home-mom, I felt a little . . . jealous.

Yet, when I chatted with another mom friend about her life as a full-time working mom, it happened again. I felt envious.

Sigh. To have the freedom to only focus on my family. Or to have the freedom to only work set hours . . . . I’m missing out on something, right? There is such a thing as a perfect life/work/family/friend/activity/entertainment balance, right?

This train of thought quickly led me to highlight all the negatives of my stay-at-home-work-from-home status with boo hoos and grumbling soon following.

And that’s nowhere I want to be. So I’ve adjusted my big girl panties.

Let’s try this again: I’m a stay-at-home-work-from-home mama who is thankful for the opportunity to love on and nurture my cutie most days of the week, who is thankful for a few hours 2.5 days per week to use my brain in editorial lala land, who accepts the late night realities of juggling both, and who acknowledges there’s no such thing as perfect.

It's a juggling act being a stay at home, work from home mama.I’m a stay-at-home-work-from-home mama that refuses to feel envy anymore and certainly not judgment, who recognizes every lady that’s worn the mother badge has struggled, who celebrates the different work/life situations in each home because thank God we’ve found something at least to keep our heads above water.

I’m a stay-at-home-work-from-home mama that finally knows she is not alone.

Do you stay-at-home-work-from-home? Do you find yourself envious of others’ situations/schedules? 


  1. Yes! Me too! I work full-time at a nonprofit I love, and spend 3 days in the office and 2 working from home while my 8 month old stays with me (no babysitter on those days). It’s such a blessing to spend more time with her, but also exhausting. Someone told me, “on those days you’re basically working two jobs–as a working mom and a stay at home mom, all at once.” So no wonder I’m tired! But you’re right–I had the demanding career before the baby, working too many nights and weekends, and this is better. But mom guilt still creeps its way in… We’ve got to stamp it out! Great article.

    • I happily left a career to keep my baby girl and help my husband with his small (growing) business. Going from a respected position in a corporate environment to a first time mom who just put all of her eggs in her husband’s small business basket has been a hard transition. I went to work part time at four weeks postpartum, baby by my side, and eight months later, I’m still a novice in my new industry. Learning how to be a mom, a wife, an employee, and a manager is an arduous task. Three days a week, I’m in the office with a 22 lb baby strapped to my back in an Ergo for naps while i stand and type as fast as I can before she wakes up. I dont want to be away from my daughter. The balance seems so far away! Im tired but I need my daughter AND I need to support my husband in our business. Good luck moms!

  2. I’m right there with you. And I still haven’t found the balance. I think no matter how the cookie crumbles, it’s hard. Before I had Fit4Mom, I felt like I was floundering. Now I often feel TOOO busy. I agree with Bethe…working from home is harder, but I’m so very grateful at the same time! I’m with you, too. We have someone come to the house and help me. It’s easier for our family.

  3. Balance. It doesn’t exist, right? I keep telling myself “one day. . .” Ha! And thanks for the encouragement too, ladies. Bethe, I think you are right; it IS like working two jobs. Whew! But when has motherhood, for any gal, been a walk in the park. Never. Because we all know even walks in the park are busy. πŸ™‚ Hip, hip, hooray for the stay-at-home-work-from-home mamas.

  4. I totally understand where you are coming from!!! I work part-time as school counselor in FWISD. I work 2 and a half days a week, but because I work at a school, my days change from week to week based on my school’s needs. Also, because I am always needed, I check my email on my off days and sometimes work from home after hours. There are many days I wish I could be a full-time SAHM and not have the constant nagging of something I need to do for school. My principal once told me he thinks I have the hardest job on campus because I have to learn how to turn it off when I go home because everyone on my campus expects that I should be available all the time. Glad to know there are other mamas out there like me. In education, there aren’t many with my schedule, so I often feel very alone. Thanks for this post!!! πŸ™‚

  5. Wow you really nailed it! My “baby” is now 10 years old, but my stay-at-home-work-from-home job began when he began in my life, so I’ve experienced it with a little one. It is hard…but it is awesome too. I confess I am not that great at time management, which means I am working many nights very late and on weekends, but sometimes that just means staying on top of emails. Thanks for putting into words what I’m feeling…and I know a lot of others are feeling too. Many times, I feel like I’m a SAHM/WAHM that is failing on all levels – as a mom, as a wife, and as a business owner. Other days, I’m so thankful for the opportunity afforded me. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I know this is an old post but I’m glad I stumbled on to it. I’m also a stay at home work at home mom and certainly have my moments where I feel jealous when I hear my SAHM friends talk. The “oh what a perfect arrangement/you are so lucky” comments get under my skin after a while too. So glad to know I’m not alone in this!

  7. I feel like you looked at my life when you wrote this. I’m a freelance writer and photographer, and I work from home. I have a 2 year old and a 4 month old, and I’m exhausted. I feel so blessed to be able to have this job where I’m around my kids so much. but I don’t have any downtime right now.. I work when my babies sleep. My MIL watches them two days a week at our house (I’m still nursing baby so she mostly watches the toddler) and my husband works from home, so we share the load. I work till midnight at least 6 nights a week, and my little girl gets up multiple times a night.

    i don’t feel envious of other moms, but sometimes I wish I could take my kids to the zoo and play dates and the park more than I do. And sometimes I miss the days being on staff at a magazine, when I got face time with colleagues and left my work at the office. Mostly, I feel guilty that work takes up space in my head all the time. when I’m on deadline, I have to take calls at odd times and I am tempted to check my email with my kids. I hate it!

    But I’m leaning how to be SUPER efficient ehen I work, so that when I’m with my kids or my husband I am present and engaged. My workload is really heavy right now, so I’m hoping to adjust it, but for now I’m just trying to be all in, with work and with my kids. I’ll watch tv and sleep more later. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing. It’s encouraging to hear from other WAHM!

  8. Even TWO years later, I can still reiterate these same sentiments. My job title has changed a bit, but I’m still balancing the stay-at-home-work-from-home life now with two little ones. It is a challenge and a blessing and wonderful and draining all at the same time. Thank you for these fresh comments that refreshed me! To know that someone else “knows what I mean” is worth its weight in gold!


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