Did SAHM, SAHD, WAHM, WAHD and the rest of these crazy acronyms confuse you before you became a parent too?
Maybe you still don’t know what they mean. Let me break them down for you:
- SAHM = Stay-at-home mom
- SAHD = Stay-at-home dad
- WAHM = Work-at-home mom
- WAHD = Work-at-home dad
What Am I?
If I had to categorize our family, I would be a WAHM and my husband is a SAHD. Just two years ago though, I was eight months pregnant with baby number two, we had a one-year-old little boy and my husband and I both worked full-time in Corporate America.
After a second failed attempt at a nanny, we decided to get crazy and run the numbers to see if one of us could stay at home, rather than sending two kids (one a brand new baby) to daycare. Much to our surprise, if we cut out almost all of our discretionary expenses and savings, we could just barely make it work.
Once we realized it was possible, my husband put in his notice and started staying home with both kiddos after my way too short six-week maternity leave was up. Not even a year later, I got this crazy idea to start freelancing on the side of my full-time job.
A toddler, a new baby, a full-time job and a new freelance writing side hustle was a lot to juggle to say the least. Here are my three best tips to “doing it all” as a working parent (that wants to also start a side hustle to eventually take full-time).
1. Determine Your Side Hustle Schedule
For me this meant getting up at the butt-crack of dawn, better known as 4:30 in the morning. I didn’t want to take time away from my kids (since I already was gone all day), so I hustled instead before they woke up for the day.
Our kids are early risers (most mornings between 6-7 in the morning), so most days, I had two hours max to make the magic (writing) happen. My brain does not function creatively after dinner, so early morning writing time made the most sense for me.
At my day job, I only worked a four-day workweek, so I also used most of the day on Fridays to work on my side hustle as well. Occasionally (especially after I had more paid work than I could handle), I would hire a babysitter on the weekend too. This was so my husband wasn’t always stuck with the kids. He also had some side projects going on at the time.
2. Be Present During Family Time
Honestly, this one still trips me up at times. It’s hard when you like what you do (and when it’s all dependent on you) to not think about work during family time. I try to put the laptop away when I come in from working for the day, but I’m not perfect.
Recently, we started going for walks, which means I need to be done working for the day at 4pm. I obviously wouldn’t be trying to work while walking, so this is a good way to get my exercise on, while spending quality time with the family. Us women, always multi-tasking…
My husband and I also get to catch up on the day’s events, which is kind of nice too. Life with two toddlers gets a little hectic sometimes, so an uninterrupted conversation between the two of us is like gold!
3. Unplug from Time to Time
This is SO important! None of us can keep running at a fast pace (meaning working really hard) forever. So it’s important to give yourself (and your family) a chance every once in awhile to unplug.
My parents have a cabin in northern Minnesota and there is no internet. Well, there is in town (a good eight miles away) and even then you have to operate on the public library’s limited schedule or go work from the local bar, which is the only other place with free WiFi.
The nice part, is that it forces me to very intentional about unplugging when I’m up there. I can’t hop online to “check something really quick.” I will go into town to work if we’re there for an extended time (thanks to that flexible schedule), but I try to just work during the week and not so much on the weekend.
It’s totally doable to work full-time, be a parent and start a side hustle. But it’s not easy! A lot of SAHM’s I know also work from home (so are they a SAHM or a WAHM?) and they’ve got my total respect (Elna’s one of them).
Being intentional about setting a schedule, being present during family time and unplugging every once in awhile are ways to “keep doing it all.” Honestly, I think “doing it all” is a fallacy, but we women keep striving for it anyhow. As long as we encourage one another and give ourselves grace, there’s nothing wrong with it.
Just don’t let your business take priority over that lovely family you have (I’m also talking to myself here). Remember what’s really important in life!
How do you step away from your business to unplug?