* Sometimes moms who work full-time at day jobs complain to me that they are too tired and too overwhelmed, and that’s what inspired this article.
Both my husband and I work from home, which enables us to unschool our kids, to exercise regularly, to get plenty of fresh air daily, to go to stores and museums during the off-hours, and to spend lots of quality times with our children. We can schedule our daily routines and make plans without asking for our managers’ approval. We don’t need to wake up to the alarm clock. We don’t have to sit in traffic during the rush hour. We don’t ask permission to leave early or to take vacation. Choosing home gives me the time and flexibility to breastfeed, to get enough sleep even with night feedings, and to take care of my children without depending on babysitters. Choosing home spares my husband from getting up in the wee hours every morning like he used to, or from being sent to exhausting business trips. He now has the time and flexibility to help me with chores, cooking, and raising the kids.
Our friends and family members who have a full-time day job think that we have it easy. We don’t get tired as much as those parents who go to work every morning. We can control and organize our schedules, so it appears that we are not as busy and don’t have much to do. Of course, it’s not true; we simply have more choice and more freedom and can organize our schedules more efficiently. We have the time to exercise, to cook, to go on walks, to have daily family meals, and to enjoy many other simple pleasures that full time workers don’t have time to enjoy. Having the time, freedom, and flexibility is precisely what enables us to enjoy life.
Am I bragging? Maybe, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You can brag to me about your high salary or upper-management career, and I will brag to you about my freedom and flexibility to work from home and spend time with my kids. It’s all about the choices we make. I’m proud of the choice my husband and I made. What some people who envy us don’t realize is that we have been working long and hard to support our lifestyle, and that we are making huge sacrifices for the right to choose home and to stay with our kids.
Before we had children, when we both had corporate jobs, home was always more important to us than career. We could have worked in some fancy downtown firms and we probably would have made much more money. Instead, we chose jobs that were closer to home and that allowed flexible working hours. We could have worked overtime, taken on additional responsibilities, and volunteered to go on business trips, which would have brought us raises and favors from the management. Instead, we gave up on some promotion opportunities and opted for flextime so we could beat traffic, go to the gym, and spend more time with each other. When our kids were born, we had a choice: to advance our corporate careers or to quit our day jobs and to raise the kids while pursuing our entrepreneurial ventures from home. We chose the latter.
Most of our friends and family members hold day jobs, many are moving up the corporate ladder. They have stable paychecks and guaranteed health insurance. Most can afford buying houses and going on nice vacations. We are renting and living frugally. We save a lot of money instead of spending it all. Our vacations are usually one-day getaways or staycations. We don’t get stable paychecks every week, and our incomes are unpredictable (at least for now). This is our choice and our sacrifice with which we earned the privilege to have the freedom, time, and energy that most corporate full-timers don’t have.
This is not to say that we don’t care about income. We do, and that’s why we started our entrepreneurial pursuits with the aim to grow our businesses, to raise our income, and to accumulate wealth. Someday we will hopefully be able to afford a nice house, fancy vacations, and many other things that we currently can’t afford. However, we always make sure to plan our business operations and growth in a way that is not detrimental to our family lifestyle. Home is just as important to us as business.
I cannot bring myself to feel sorry for parents who work at a day job and are too busy, too overwhelmed, and too tired to exercise, to cook a healthy meal, and to spend quality time with their kids. Similarly, I don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for us that we cannot rely on a regular paycheck, that as business owners we carry more responsibility, pay a higher tax rate, and work even on weekends and vacations. We are all capable adults free to make our own lifestyle choices, and there is no reason to be envious or to feel sorry about a choice someone makes. Whether we choose a corporate career or staying/working from home, we deserve the perks that come with that choice, and we also have to deal with the consequences of the choice we make.
I am not advocating that moms don’t work at all. See my post on why I think it’s beneficial when moms work at least a little.