I want to make a post about the issues of being a stay at home mom and how I think society and stay at home mothers can address these issues. I was a geologist and I had just started my first job when I found out I was pregnant. We were not exactly planning, but I know how it happened. I was my fault lol. I did not even get to work a full year. We live in the Netherlands and maternity leave here is horrible (12 weeks). You can get it extended by 6 months but the thought of leaving a 8 month old to go to work freaked me out so I told my boss I would be quitting the day after we found out I was pregnant.
I did not even think about it really, it was like instinct, the idea of leaving my baby just freaked me out too much. Okay so I started out as a stay at home mother, and I now love cooking and cleaning and all that. But in the beginning it was like something was missing. It was like all my time was devoted to the baby and it was exhausting to focus on one thing THAT much. I think the issues with the stay at home model are that;
1) It is isolating- humans need conversation, adult conversation, friends, colleagues etc. Staying in a house with toddlers or a baby is isolating and it is just not for the average person
2) It can be boring- humans also need projects, yes children are a project but they are never ending projects, we need short term projects and we need to focus on other things besides our kids to give our brain a break
3) It does not pay- humans like rewards for work, we like to be valued, we like to have a measure of how well we did something, some evidence that our work was valued
4) Some people fear their husbands having too much control- I do not fear this at all, but some women do not want to give up their pay check because they do not trust their husbands
5) Feeling undervalued- I think this is the biggest problem with staying at home; this coupled with isolation can lead to depression. The work a stay at home mother does is extremely undervalued by society. I see why it is, but that does not really help the situation. What people do not get is that (mentally) it is hard work, and we get that we are doing it for ourselves but that doesn’t make it any easier. So sometimes we would just like society to acknowledge that we are not sitting on the couch all day. Instead though society says you all are living a luxury life so do not complain, yet kids, housework and no money for take out etc. does not feel like a luxury.
So as a stay at home mom I found myself needing all those things. For friends I was lucky, my sister was also a housewife so I skyped with her all day and my first major project was looking for a house to buy and that was fun. To this day I still think the reason we bought a house was because I was bored. The house we ended up buying was on a shopping street though and it has a shop below. Also it needed quite a lot of renovation. So my next project was renovating and then starting a gift shop (so I could finally make money! Hehe), and I could finally answer the question ”what do you do for a living?” without guilt!
So I actually have no regrets because when I found that there were issues with the stay at home model I was able to fix the issues. So I think that stay at home moms who find themselves facing similar issues need to be encouraged to work (a little). And the thing is you CAN work while keeping your kids close, you will just work a lot slower. I still consider myself a stay at home mother by the way. I work from home, my kids are never not with me, we run the shop together and people come here more to see them than me lol. But to work only because society wants you to and not because you want to can also end badly. But I think finding a way to make money out of your passions for most people should end beautifully. The things is though sometimes you do not really have a passion. And maybe then you should work on finding some of your passions??
The thing is working is great, when it is flexible and when you can keep your kids close by. If I feel like going to a play group to see other mom, I close. When I want to go to the park with the kids or to the supermarket I can close. Luckily the street I am on is a street like this, it is a very old shopping street so many of the shop owners are old people and artist who open and close whenever they want to. I think there are a lot of jobs that mothers can do that are flexible in nature though. Many of them would require mothers to start their own business though. And I think families need to look into changing the working world to make working from home more common. It can be done. You can be a secretary from home, you can draft tenders and translate document or start a photography, graphic design or writing business from home.
The major problem I have with home businesses is that if you live in a suburb or so you will have to do a lot of advertising to make sure that people even know you exist. If you live in an area with other stay at home mothers though it could be an idea for you all to encourage each other and to start a local paper and to hold local events through which you all can advertise and get the word out about your businesses.
So I am going to make a list of things I think mothers can do from home to get the sweet parts of the working world, while holding on to the sweet parts of being near your kids. My advice though is to think of something you really enjoy doing that would make you feel fulfilled and start planning your career around that. If you like baking, try starting a baking business and a baking club. But my advice is also to always remember that you are a mom/dad first, and your career is second to your kids so that if things do not work out because your kids do not give you the time or space that is OKAY. The point of is working is to enjoy it and yes money can give us enjoyment but not at the expense of our kids. So here are some other ideas from other websites, I will keep adding to this list with time.
List of possible Jobs.
Buying and selling- You would be amazed at how cheap you can get things on sale. Often things bought on very good sales are cheaper than what regular stores pay for them wholesale. But good sales are rare. Nonetheless buy things when you see them so cheap that you are certain that you can sell at a profit and resell them.
Antiques/collectibles dealing- Turn shopping into a career, buy antiques from thrift stores, or used furniture at a very low price and repaint or refurbish the furniture to sell. A shop on my street does this and I am constantly buying there. The items are cheap and they look amazing, you need some artistic skills to do this really well though. They also sell antiques which I hardly buy but I am sure they make a profit on them.
Babysitting- Depending on the age of your kids offer babysitting services to other families.
Bed and breakfast- Got a spare room? Living in an interesting place..
Biscuit/sweet/dessert making or Cake making/decorating
Afterschool Childcare/Teaching services.
Afterschool pick-up services.- I know you usually do it for free, but consider asking for a small fee, your time is just as valuable as your working friends time is.
Data entry Perhaps not the most thrilling of part-time pursuits, but data entry can nevertheless offer an extremely steady (not to mention flexible) source of extra income. You generally get paid for the number of entries you make rather than by the hour, which means you can go back and forth to it when you get a spare few minutes
Be a doula
Flower arranging or Gift basket making- I do this for a living and I buy most of my items on the resposten section of ebay germany. Hence I am always online waiting for something I want to bid on. It is fun, except when I lose and you can get some interesting things to put in gift baskets. I also now shop at regular wholesale shops but in the beginning when I had no money it was a lot of ebay shopping and buying things on sale when they were very, very cheap. It is lots of fun.
Gardening services “I’ve had requests from others for people willing to do this, so the demand is out there,” says Hamm. “To put it simply, some people are willing to pay others to get a vegetable or flower garden started so that they can have access to ultra-fresh produce without doing all the legwork.”
Making greetings cards
Host and teach foreign students
Knitting/alteration/sewing services lteration/sewing services A big growth area, as more people come to appreciate the value in repairing and patching up clothes.
Personal shopping- for older people this is needed.
Pet grooming “Many people loathe bathing their pets and trimming their hair – I know I do,” says Hamm. “Pet groomers can do this for a small fee – a perfect job for a person who loves dogs and cats.”
Slivers of Time OK, this isn’t strictly a business idea, butsliversoftime.com matches people with a few spare hours here and there with part-time work. Register with the site, then put your spare time on the calendar. Your hours are sent to local agencies and businesses who regularly use part-time workers.
Event planner- For kids birthday parties or so on
Designer- I have done major renovations with my kids on two houses. The designing parts, calling contractors, hiring the best person and shopping can be done with kids around.
Virtual assistant “Many ultra-busy professionals appreciate having someone who can check and answer their email, organise task lists for them, update their calendars and so on, with minimal interaction,” says Hamm. “You can provide this service from home with a good internet connection.”
Travel agent or Vacation Planning Counselor
Company Chef- Professionals in the culinary world experience their fair share of restaurant work. The odd hours and grueling pace make lots of chefs want to head for the hills but there are options. Small companies are starting to seek out chefs who can prepare lunch and dinner for their staff members during the week. These company chefs are able to cook the entire meals in their homes where they are surrounded by their favorite kitchen gadgets and a familiar layout. These jobs usually also include delivery of the meals, so it’s important for chefs to live near the company, but be willing and able to work at home.
K-12 Teachers- You’re not seeing things: K-12 teaching positions have gone virtual! A number of charter schools, academies, and educational organizations have begun recruiting top-notch teachers for all sorts of teaching positions like math, science, geography, foreign languages, music, art, technology, and even physical education. Licensed and certified teachers are responsible for running online instructions and tutorials, monitoring and evaluating student progress, and collaborating with other teachers and learning coaches to ensure student success. Many of the employers are nationwide organizations that contract with local schools, so there is opportunity everywhere!
Will be adding more, but really you do not need a list you just need to know yourself. What are you good at and how can you turn it into a small business!