For anyone that is unfamiliar, WAHM is short for “work-at-home mom”.
The goal of this post is to give you insight into the life of your WAHM friends. It’s hard to explain what your life is like when you’re working from home, so below are a few things to consider.
There seem to be many more WAHM’s then there ever have been before! Ladies are selling on Ebay and Amazon, running a photography business, blogging, writing ebooks, creating handmade items to sell on Etsy, and scads of other innovative and ambitious things. This is great. For some mamas, it makes it possible for them to stay at home with their babies, and this is why they do it. For others, it might be their outlet for creativity, or they might just love the challenge of business, or have a big financial goal.
There’s another type of WAHM as well. Her husband owns a business. She works, most of the time without pay, to help her husband grow that business. She ends up proofreading documents, creating procedures, filing, strategizing growth, reading business books, calculating numbers, and sifting through emails, to name a few ways she might be coming alongside her husband to ease his workload. She might not have a title–in fact, no one (except her husband) might even realize how many hours she’s putting in each week to pursue the vision for their small business.
Working from home is admirable, but it has many challenges.
One challenge, (perhaps the biggest) is the fact that the WAHM has a hard time explaining to other moms what her life is like. Saying, “I’m so busy,” doesn’t work, because in today’s world, who’s not “busy”? Besides, SAHM (stay-at-home moms) are busy too, so it just doesn’t really help at all.
Do you have a friend who works from home?
I think a work-at-home mom would want you to know the following:
1 Her business is an “actual business.”
It does take second place to her family, but it is not a side hobby. Running a business, no matter how small, entails a lot of work. Hours of planning, scheduling, writing, paperwork, taxes, number crunching, etc, etc. It’s an actual business, and it takes a lot of time, energy, and thought.
2. She probably won’t make it to every social event.
And that’s okay. She’s pursuing something that’s important to her. She might sacrifice some of her social life to do this. As they say, you do you… and let her do her. Don’t stop inviting her to things, she wants to be included. But just realize that besides doing all the things that all mamas do, she’s working at least a few hours a day on a business as well! Running a business is exciting, AND exhausting. A night out every now and then is nice and refreshing for a WAHM, but don’t expect her social life to match yours, because, well…she’s not you. You do you, let her be her. Love her for who she is, and don’t put pressure on in this area.
3. Let her talk about it.
Most ladies who are in business are very passionate about it. They love what they do, and it’s always on their mind. If you ask them how it’s going, you might get a deluge of excited words about the “latest and greatest” happenings and breakthroughs. Business or sales might not be your thing, but if this is your friend, and you care about her, try to engage in the conversation and really listen. Don’t just acknowledge and move on, actually listen to hear what she’s saying, and be excited with her. This is what friendship is about. Let’s be honest, you sometimes ramble on to your husband about something the kids did, and he’s not always super interested, but great husbands listen and engage anyways. Do that for your friend.
4. Chatting on the phone may not be the best form of communication
Here’s why. When her kids are awake, there is constant activity and interruptions. When her kids are napping, she needs that time to work on her business. Naptime is the golden hour of the day, when she has uninterrupted time to think and work, and if someone drops in, or calls on the phone, it can erase her most valuable time of the day and put her behind on what she needs to get done.
5. SAHMs (stay-at-home moms) are different than WAHMs (work-at-home moms)
Yes, there are many similarities, and yes, a SAHM can relate to a WAHM in some ways. But there are also differences, and it helps if we recognize those and don’t have expectations of each other.
6. The WAHM does not value her business over her friends.
Business is demanding. VERY demanding sometimes. A business owner tends to wake up ambitious and end the day exhausted. When a business is growing, it takes a lot of time and energy…and so do kids. So imagine a young mom doing both. It’s easy to see a lack of communication or availability to “hang out” as “she doesn’t want to hang out with me”, or “she cares about her business more than friendship.” Don’t buy into this way of thinking. The WAHM often wishes for more time to spend with her friends, or attending baby showers, etc, but there are seasons when she simply can’t get away. One of the beauties of growing a strong business, is that one day the business will become easier to run, and the same lady who had to sacrifice a lot of fun in the early years, will be able to have much freedom with time and finances in later years.
I hope this gives you some ideas of ways to be a great friend to the WAHM ladies in your life, and helps you to understand them a bit more.
To the WAHMs reading this:
Please remember to bring your friends into your life. If they ask you about your work, share with them, and open yourself to them. I understand that trying to explain what it’s like owning a business to someone who hasn’t owned a business, can feel similar to trying to explain to someone who hasn’t had kids, what it is like to be mother…but do your best. Many of your friends are genuinely interested in your life, there’s just a gap of communication, and you can help to cover the gap by reaching out as well.
Also, remember not to compare your life to other ladies’ lives. Comparison is the thief of joy. Jump into your responsibilities whole-heartedly, and don’t dwell on thoughts like, “I wish my husband could come home at the same time every night,” or, “If I had as much time as she has, I could go out for coffee every other day too.” This is called “stinking thinking” in a book I once read. Your attitude reflects your thoughts, and your thoughts become your reality. If you think of yourself as misunderstood and overworked, you will be misunderstood and overworked in your own mind, and you will find yourself taking on more stress. Take a deep breath. You have a lot going on. So do the SAHMs. It’s just different stuff going on.
We all benefit from having friends who are not just like us. As you learn to share your heart and life with others, extend grace to those who are doing life differently than you, and look to fill their need for fellowship, companionship, and understanding. In doing so, you will find deeper friendships, and feel less like an outsider looking in on those with so-called “normal” lives.
What is normal? We all have our own normal. We are all unique in our talents, responsibilities, and families. God made us this way. Let’s embrace it, and own who we are and what we do.
As always, feel free to leave thoughts in the comment section on this post. It was with some hesitation, and many revisions, that I wrote this post. It was also shared with a close friend of mine who is a SAHM, who added some additional helpful thoughts to the original post. I hope it was a help to you!