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Survival Tips for WAHMs (Work-at-Home Moms)

stl moms

Even though St. Louis got slammed with snow and ice the other day, I was determined to make my TV appearance on the STLMoms show on KTVI Fox2 News. The show must go on, right? Every time I go to a TV studio, I’m amazed at the fast-paced routine that goes on behind-the-scenes, including the robotic cameras that roll across the floor, the producers who scramble at the last minute to set up props, the anchors who review their notes seconds before they go on air. As for me, I never know which camera to look into, and my mouth is so dry I can barely swallow, but it’s always a fun experience.

This time the lovely Margie Ellisor interviewed me to promote my seminar at the Working Women’s Survival Show, and the topic was “Survival Tips for WAHMs.” (Not sure why this clip has video of the newsroom and men working on their computers, but oh well, that’s show biz).

 Watch my segment HERE!

Basically, I was trying to squeeze in this much info in a 3-minute segment.

As you know, moms are still trying to have it all. We want to be home with the kids and not miss out on their childhood moments, and we want our careers or we need to be a dual income family.

The reality is we can’t have it all—all the time. For many moms, the best way to balance work and family is to work from home. We are called “WAHMs” (not to be confused with the George Michael music group in the 80s). WAHM stands for Work-At-Home-Moms, and for us, it’s “business un-usual.”

In fact, according to the Center for Women’s Business Research, there are 10.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States, and a growing number of them are run by SAHMs (stay-at-home moms).

Unlike many baby boomer moms who worked outside the home, millennial moms want more time at home with their children. It’s not like we’re trading our laptop for an ironing board, but we’re finding creative ways to balance work and family.


There are many exciting opportunities out there, take a quick look on the Internet.

  • Virtual Assistants—complete administrative tasks from their home office, including data entry, typing reports, and scheduling appointments.


  • Medical and general transcribers—listen to audio files recorded by medical professionals, law enforcement officials and professors. They use transcription equipment and software to produce a written report of the recordings.


  • Virtual customer service agent– assist customers with technical issues, order processing, billing questions and scheduling service appointments.


  • Freelance writer—write and create articles that are featured on blogs and websites and by online publishers. Experienced editors also needed to review articles and proofread.


  • Telemarketers–call prospective customers and sell services or products. They are provided a script and a list of customers to contact.


  • eBay buyer/seller—good for entrepreneurs at heart.


  • Online Tutor—meet with students in an online classroom and work with them one-on-one to answer their questions in your subject area. No lesson plans, records to keep or tests to grade.


As a freelance writer, author and mom of 2 teenagers, I feel like I have the best of both worlds. If you work from home, keep in mind:

  • be self motivated (don’t let facebook, Twitter, pinterest and social media distract you, unless, of course, its work related).
  • be a multi-tasker (and by that I mean know how to change a diaper and conduct a conference call at the same time, or trim fat off raw chicken while you negotiate a contract)
  • be willing to work odd hours (my creative juices stir at 3 a.m.)
  • and have a sense of humor because your workday is unpredictable or what I like to say, “business un-usual”. (For instance, when my son was a toddler I remember locking myself in the bathroom to conduct a really important interview for a national magazine, and I improved the toilet seat lid as my desk. In hindsight, I should have locked him in the bathroom, right).

Here’s a few more survival tips:

  • Have a schedule. Depending on your job, it helps to have a routine, whether that means answer emails before kids get up for school, stop workday at 3:30 p.m. to pick up kids or start dinner. Best part is flexibility, which comes in handy if kids are sick or have an appointment.
  • Get dressed. Some moms like to wear clothes like they are going into the office, it helps put them in a professional mindset. For me, everyday is casual day, unless I have a meeting outside the home. I would much rather wear pajamas and fuzzy slippers than panty hose and pumps.
  • Designate a comfortable and convenient workspace in your house, whether it’s the spare bedroom, walk-in closet, or corner of the basement. Seriously, does anyone ever use the living room except to set up a Little Tykes playset when the kids are toddlers? This empty area makes a great office!
  • Keep all your essential office supplies handy in your desk drawer, including sticky note
pads, paper clips, chewing gum, and an emery board so you can file your nails if you have writer’s block or want to procrastinate.
  • Don’t let your kids mess with your computer. Their games and videos can give you a virus that’s worse than influenza.
  • Try to exercise during your workday. Burn calories by sprinting to the mailbox to see if you got any paychecks yet, and repeatedly run up and down the staircase for another scoop of chocolate peanut butter gelato.
  • Get fresh air to break up your day. If the weather is nice, walk your dog, who has been a warm, fuzzy ottoman at your feet. If you don’t
have a dog, offer to walk your neighbor’s dog and you’ll never feel guilty about borrowing a box of MINUTE Rice again.
  • Don’t sit too long in a desk chair, unless you’re doing regular kegel exercises and leg lifts with weights
strapped to your ankles.
  • Keep up with the housework. Every time you pass something that looks dusty, wipe the furniture with
the sleeve of your sweatshirt.
  • When the phone rings, don’t answer it, unless it’s a business call, your mother, or the school nurse. If you’re in deep
thought or on a roll, the last thing you need are interruptions from solicitors or your husband wanting to know what’s for dinner tonight.
  • Take advantage of your children’s computer skills. Bribe them to set up your powerpoints.
  • Finally, eat chocolate. It boosts your energy, immune system, and it tastes good.