Challenges for Working From Home Mom who ‘works’ for her husband

10 Apr

Guilty as charged for not being able to blog for almost 2 months now. Work has been overwhelming to the extend I’m working in my sleep. Have not had that for a long time. It is also a good sign for my hubby’s business and progress. For me, I’ve been benefiting a lot from all the new people I’ve engaged with. It has always been my working objectives to grow exponentially and learning from all great people out there. Blogging is also another form for my mind to grow.

frabz-Stay-At-Home-Mom-What-my-friends-think-I-do-What-my-Husband-thin-8a32bcOf course as I’m always reminded by darling family and friends, you gain some and you lose some. One of the many things that I missed when business gets really busy is spending time with my children. I enjoy those cleaning-the-porch session and baking session with my boy. Not forgetting the grocery shopping trips with both of them. These sessions are some of my Home-Schooling syllabus. I would try my very best to at least bathe my son & have breakfast with him before I have to dash out from the house. I made a point to reach home latest by 9.30pm so that I can play, chit-chat and read them books before putting them to sleep. My bonus from my son every time I return from a long day would be hugs, kisses and laughter. They never fail to vanish my fatigue away. Unfortunately, with the rate that the business is going, I might have to seriously consider enrolling my son into kindergarten real soon. Which kindergarten or montessori would you recommend?

If only we have more than 24 hours a day. More working hours means lesser time to spend with the kids (since I work with my husband, I hardly miss him ;p) and ‘Me-time’. That is where prioritizing and planning come in handy. It is almost the ultimate thing you need to identify and acknowledge first before putting your foot in this career and change of lifestyle. Setting the objectives clear and knowing your motivators are important so that you don’t get frustrated and burned out when things get challenging.

I had my objectives clear when I decided to leave my career 2 years ago to ‘work’ for my husband. Identifying my motivators and priorities needed a lot of thinking and faith too. I was treating this career change in life like my Corporate Strategy. After assessing my risk, I had my back-up plans. My plan was drawn on a blue-print. All it needed next was a set of new positive attitudes. There were family and society perceptions I have to shield my mind & soul from. Most importantly, I have to stay focus.

I would not say that it is a bliss working from home but definitely the most preferred choice for me. I had to manage my then 1.5 year old son and the house when we send off our domestic helper. It took a lot of adjusting and effective communication with my husband especially. Trying to understand his photography and scuba-diving business was not easy. Then there was my son seeking for attention every 10 minutes. My workstation had to be at the hall area where my son watches Disney Junior and play with his toys at the same time. Laptop is a must (PC is just not practical because you need to be able to work anywhere your kids would be) and have the mobile phone close to you as well. Besides daily chores of managing my son (bathe, feed, play, teach, nap & sleep), I had to have meals on the table and ensure that the house is clean. My least preferred option was cooking at home from scratch but I found that the readymade cooking pastes are so much convenient. Then there was always eating out option, which we try to avoid for various reasons. After weighing out my priorities and outsourcing some of the chores at affordable rate, new life got more manageable and less stressful. There were also schedules I had to stick to so that I don’t forget to pay bills, work to deliver, emails to respond, parties and kenduri to attend, food in the fridge and they’d be clean clothes to wear. We were happy and the best part was my son gets to join us most of the time when husband got assignment outstation. The islands would be his favorite and mine too. When we were getting comfortable with the new schedule, the 4th member of the Ariffins was already on the way. It was almost impossible to manage 2 kids, the house and his business without a helper. We finally engaged one a month before I gave birth to my beautiful princess, Ayfaa. Read more about our Home Water Birth experience here. From then onwards, business has been picking up and being a Personal Assistant to Ariffin Aris becomes more demanding.

frabz-Working-From-Home-What-my-friends-think-I-do-What-my-mom-thinks--6cb77dBeing a working from home mom was far from my dream and never wished to work for my husband. I always thought that life would be so boring staying at home and dull facing your husband almost 24/7. We would be having the same ‘colleagues’ and talking about the same thing. It’d be work, work and work. I was so wrong and so far it has been very rewarding to be honest. Of course one could not compare the current rewards to 7-month bonus received every year, social recognition and spending power  during the career infancy. The current rewards are more in intangible forms that sometimes words could not describe. On the other hand, I have to put my dreams aside for awhile before striving for them again. It takes a lot for a person like me to do it and therefore I need a barrel of ‘Happy Chips’ to stay me. My Happy Chips come in many forms. They can be as simple as watching Dharma and Greg on YouTube, drink a cup of aromatic Belgium Chocolate Toffee Coffee, yoga session to having a chit-chat session with my girlfriends and spa session. Never be slave to anyone or anything but yourself. Pat yourself on the shoulder every day for all the little things you have achieved. A good sense of humor goes a long way. I’d call myself Bimbo or Dumb-blonde and turn into goofy mode if I am more clumsy than usual or maybe can’t solve a simple logic problem. My dearests would enjoy laughing at me too.

As much as you want to stick to that schedule and plan you’ve architected, you need some creativity and flexibility when things don’t turn out to be the way you want it. I am always fighting with time. Slightly behind time more often than not because a trip from the dining table (where I do most of my work now) to the master bedroom (where I sometimes leave my mobile phones) is not as straightforward. It would usually involve some detour and pitstops like picking up some toys on the floor along the way, checking the fridge, picking up some folded clothes to be sorted in the rooms, attend to the kids who simply want some attention and hugs and finally arrived at the bedroom not remembering what I wanted to do initially. Packing is another topic on its own. What is my Happy Chip for this? My husband’s level of time management makes me look good. In other words, we complement each other.

Whenever we go out and meet relatives and friends, the common questions I’d get is “What do you do now?”. It is always interesting the see how they’d respond when I give them my creative answers. I’ve shared more in my 5 things you didn’t know about Graduate Moms. Working from home mom who works for her husband does not confined to home where you live in. I sometimes have to bring my ‘team members’ to my sister’s home or my parent-in-law’s when my helper is on leave and I really have to work online. Recently I had to bring all my kids, helper and Dad to Penang while I work there for 3 days since my boss was working overseas. The truth is I’ve never been away from my son for more than 24 hours since he was born and I’m still nursing my baby. These are the little sacrifices I had to make when I chose this career. The priority I’ve set earlier made my conscience clear and it was easier for me to make decisions. I was very lucky too as the hotel staff were obliged to help store all my EBM in the freezer for me to take home. Read about my effort on Exclusive Breastfeeding here.

Bottom line here is regardless what job that you are working on or planning to work on from home, you must be discipline to deliver results. Be as dedicated as you can be and treat it as YOUR CAREER now. I have more and more friends who converted to this career. Do have a schedule and make sure that everyone in the house understands, follows and respect it. The household members are your team now, so try to reach out and work together. One of my mentors started this career about 20 years ago. After exposing the children to the world as their classrooms, she is now pursuing her dreams in Architecture. Reward yourself once a while and let loose. When everything else fails, try putting on your creative thinking hat on (literally) and do that chicken dance. Be happy and merry as life is so short.

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