When I tell single moms that I have been working from home for over 8 years, the question, I always get is...how, and how can I do it? There is this myth that full time remote jobs are far and few between, and if you are lucky enough to snag one then most likely it is not a real job that can feed the kids. The other common misconception is that only 2 parent households can have one stay at home parent. I am living proof that is not true! You can absolutely be a single stay at home working mom and I'm going to tell you how!
My journey started when my daughter was born in 2006. I was living in DC with my daughter's father at the time and with the high cost of living I had no option but to go back to work a mere 4 months after my daughter was born. I had no experience with daycare! My parents both worked, but my daycare was spending days with my grandparents. Although I was blessed with a wonderful daycare it was a struggle to drop off my baby all day with strangers, although they became like family. Fast forward, to becoming a single mom. Suddenly, it was just me, and the hustle and bustle of getting to daycare before 6 pm and coming home to a few hours of quality time and then repeating the same routine grew old. I ached to spend more time with my daughter, pick her up at 3pm, and have a more flexible lifestyle.
During this time I began envisioning what I wanted our family life to look like. I was listening to podcasts about homemaking and staying at home, which were inspiring, but they were all geared towards married women and the single mom was left out. This didn't sit well with me! I started praying and journaling about this desire God placed on my heart to stay at home. Of course I had to work to provide, but I believed there had to be a better way. Whenever I spoke of it I was met with a lot of doubt and naysaying, but I totally believed it could happen. So I searched and searched, and after a few duds, a little creativity and thinking outside the box, I was able to find remote positions (many) and have been working at home for over 8 years since my daughter was in 2nd grade!
Working from home has provided me with flexibility and a lifestyle that was a total game changer! I have been able to spend more time with my daughter and be present, saved money on aftercare in the younger years, was able to volunteer at her school, work from anywhere during the summer, maximized my time at home, and have better overall mental and emotional health. For a single mom working remotely made my life much easier!
Now is the time!
If you are interested in working from home, you could not be in a better climate to look for a remote position! The pandemic has changed the way organizations are viewing telecommuting. Companies are realizing that employees can work at home, be productive, trusted, and they can actually save money! My advice is to strike while the iron is hot! With technology and the proof that working from home can work there is no reason you can't work from home! When I started my stay at home journey, companies were very hesitant to offer a full telecommuting option, and now it is the new normal!
First, here is some personal advice when you decide to be a single stay at home mom:
Know your priorities and make searching for a telecommuting position a priority. My priority was having a lifestyle that allowed me to be at home for my daughter, and having flexibility. My heart and mind was on working from home. When you know your priorities you are intentional and won't give up!
Be willing to sacrifice. I am not saying you will have to sacrifice because there is a shift in the working culture, but I have had to sacrifice in the beginning. I did take a lower salary at times, but although money was important it was not my bottom line, so if the benefit of working from home outweighed the higher salary and I found ways to compensate.
Be realistic about your working style. Working from home is not for everyone! If you are a social butterfly, then working from home depending on the culture of the company can be isolating. Personally, it works for me, but keep this in mind.
Be creative and think outside the box! There was a time that I worked 3 contracting positions because I couldn't find one full time remote position. Or I worked a full time job and a contract. Be flexible and a little untraditional!
Don't give up or listen to the naysayers! This is so important! Stay in prayer and don't allow people's traditional views of stay at home moms curtail your goal.
Where to Start?
Luckily, for you friend, there are so many resources and opportunities! Here are 3 sites that are my good old faithfuls that I have actually got positions from!
ASAE Career Site: I actually worked for these folks and they provide a wealth of resources and have a stellar career site! You can filter for remote jobs, they are located all over the country and are premiere associations.
Idealist: This is a great site with a ton of fulltime, part-time, contract positions, from all over the world. All you have to do is filter for remote. One thing to pay attention to is if the position is temporarily remote.
Indeed: You will find remote positions and you can create an account to send and post your resume for potential employers.
When I started out I had to be think outside the box because of the slim pickings! Here is what I did:
I worked 2 part time jobs from home. If you can find 2 part time positions, it can make up the one salary you need. It can be a nice change of pace!
I worked contract positions. If you can find a contract position are super flexible and the rate is sometimes higher than a regular full time position! Not to mention you can usually set your own hours. I worked 3 contracts at one time and it was less stressful than 1 fulltime job!
I worked a fulltime job and a contract to make up for a lower salary. I only suggest doing this if the other job is very flexible and not too taxing. However, I will say this extra income stream is a great way to sock away some money. Just don't wear yourself out! Know your limits, and you also do not want the 2nd position to defeat your original reason for working from home.
I networked! I got one contract position because my supervisor had connections with another association looking for someone with my skills. So tell your friends, previous coworkers or supervisors, that you are looking for an at home position! Build bridges!
If you love where you work, then approach your company about a remote option. Don't be afraid to ask for what you want. Go to them with a well though out plan. If you are a valuable employee to them they may not want to lose you and make the adjustment. You may not need to take a new job!
Other Work at Home Ideas
Tap into your skills! How can you contract yourself out and make money doing it? Take stock in your talent and put it to work! Think about all the skill you have acquired and make them useful! (Some examples, producing events, admin skills, editing, etc.)
If customer service is your thing check out companies that have customer service jobs from home. For example, retail, insurance companies, etc. These make for great part time jobs too!
Virtual assistants are in high demand.
Be an entrepreneur! Do you have a dream to work for yourself, start making steps towards that now!
Check out websites that you can post your services on such as Fiverr, Guru, etc. and Linkedin.
I hope you are inspired and encouraged to be a single stay at home mom if it has been on your heart to do so. I can't tell you how much it has been a blessing to me, especially now with my daughter in high school, I have no regrets! Again, it isn't for everyone and that is okay! But, if it is for you...Go for it, make it a priority, be flexible and know that God will make a way!
Check out my podcast on this subject!