8 Challenges to Working From Home (With Small Children)

Posted by Elna on

8 Challenges to Working From Home With Small Children

I love working from home.

I have the freedom to structure my day the way I want.

I can wear sweats all day, stay inside all day and if I want to take a day off, I can.

I also get to decide how much I get paid. Some writing projects I earn $100 per 500 words. Other projects, I earn as much as $200 per 500 words. And I have the potential to earn even more.

So, you see, if you are debating whether to ditch that 9-5 horrible job you have and live the life of a freelancer, I say go for it.

But, there will be challenges. Especially if you’re a mom with small children.

I have twin toddlers. They just turned three and are absorbing everything they see.

I’m fortunate to be able to stay home with them, raise them, cook homemade meals and play with them while still contributing to the household finances.

It’s really a win-win for me. But it’s not all that rosy. I’ve been a freelance writer for a little over a year now, and I can easily say this is a tough gig.

Here are eight challenges I’ve come across working from home with small children to take care of.

1. It’s Super Duper Stressful


There I said it. Being a freelance writer and mom is totally stressful.

Deadlines, marketing, invoices, scheduling and all that comes with being a freelancer can be overwhelming.

On top of this, I am also an entrepreneur – I have a course for new freelance writers and I also coach new writers. So while I have a full list of client work, I also need to make myself available for all my course participants and coaching clients.

Oh yea, almost forgot – I also have my pet projects like my lifeststyle blog, my freelancer blog and this blog!

Trying to manage all this and not miss a deadline or not miss sending an invoice is tough when you’re a solopreneur. You make mistakes (I’ve made my share of mistakes in my freelance writing business).

Then there’s my family. I have daily chores to do, meals to cook, children to enrich. Yeah, it’s a full plate.

So, why do I put myself through this? Why do I need to manage several blogs, have a course and more than enough client work to make me stressed out?

Because it beats having a job. Before I had my children I taught in the school system. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t make nearly as much as I would’ve liked, and it wasn’t that fulfilling.

Having your own business means there’s no limit to how much you can make. And being an entrepreneur is contagious. My husband has had his own internet business for around 10 years and his outlook and excitement sure rubbed off on me during that time.

2. You Always Feel Guilty


I don’t know about you, but when I see how excited my children get when they ask if I can play with them and I say YES, I feel all guilty.

I divide my time during the day with doing chores and client work. There’s very little time for me to really sit down and play. The kids help me with my chores, my MIL comes in the afternoon and plays with them and I can get stuff done.

For the first year of freelance writing, I worked every day. And even though I still “work” every day, the weekends, at least, means more family time.

It’s a balance of course. Some weeks I work more on client work and on self projects and other weeks I spend time organizing the home, baking cookies and taking my children out to play groups. And when I do this, I still feel guilty.

3. Meal Planning Goes Out the Window


Maybe I just suck at meal planning, but ever since I started working from home, I find it incredibly hard coming up with a decent meal plan.

It could just be because my twins have a limited amount of food they like to eat. They are known to just eat bread, yogurt and fruit for every meal.

In either case, I fail at meal planning!

You might be thinking what I do end up cooking. Well my go-to meals are:

  • Spaghetti
  • Tacos
  • Butter chicken and rice (super simple to make)
  • Pork fried rice

Very international! Ha, never looked at it that way. But, that’s about it. My twins don’t like much of anything else like a simple stir fry or grilled cheese sandwich, so I rarely go out of my comfort zone when I cook.

4. Chores Never Get Done

Well, the chores do get done, just not on the same day. I may wash the laundry on Tuesday and it won’t get folded and put away until Thursday or Friday.

Dishes get done multiple times a day, but vacuuming, dusting, and cleaning up toys don’t happen every day.

I have to realize that it’s okay if the house is a bit messy. It’s not the end of the world!

But, doesn’t it suck when on the day you have a huge mess in the house – a sink full of dirty dishes, crumbs on the floor and toys everywhere – that company pops by? Happens to me ALL THE TIME.

5. Everything Stops When Someone Gets Sick


I’ve been sick lately. Now my daughter is sick.

But, she doesn’t have a head cold like me. She’s actually sick – throwing up and unable to keep food down. This is a first for me and I’m a little stressed out by it all.

I’m still battling this silly cold (nose blowing, pressure build-up, watery eyes), and of course the sky dumped about 12 inches of snow so if we do have to go to emergency, we have the added pressure of not crashing the car.

In our life, when it rains, it POURS.

And I’m pretty sure tomorrow, my son and everyone else in the family will be getting this throwing up thing. What fun…

6. Notes Get Lost All the Time


I’m a note taker. I have notebooks, journals and sticky notes all over the house.

I use them to write ideas, headlines, outlines, projects, tasks to do, things to remember or sites to visit again.

But, you know what ends up happening?

My son or daughter gets a hold of these notes and I end up losing them. Sure, there’s digital note trackers like Trello (which I do have an account and do use for my projects), but for day-to-day things I find writing them down easier and better for me.

Being organized is something I’m learning on the job. When you have small children, it’s tough for them not to touch your things. I’ve gone through several laptops and keyboards because my son likes to tap tap tap HARD, which ends up breaking them.

He’s learning though (I now give him my old cell phone and he can spend a good 20 minutes fiddling with that while I type!).

7. You’re Always Hustling


If you’re new to freelance writing then the bulk of your time will be spent hustling for work.

Well, I no longer have to do that. Work finds me often and since I have a full list of clients, I can pick and choose my next projects.

But, I’m still hustling.

As an entrepreneur with a product, I have to work hard at networking, guest posting, marketing and perfecting my sales page or sales funnels on a continual basis.

My goal is to grow my email lists. I have several lists – on my ElnaCain site, FreelancerFAQs site and my Writeto1k site.

I’m planning on starting a list for this blog too. I currently have over 1,000 subscribers total. I want to grow my list since the more people you have on your list, the higher conversions you can have with products your selling.

And I’m doing more than just a course for freelance writers, so I want a good number of subscribers – leads – when I unveil my new projects.

Needless to say, I’m hustling hard!

8. There’s Never Enough Time


Some days, I can’t believe it’s 6pm and I’ve barely wrote a post or outline and dinner is not on the table.

Every day I’m playing catch up. Monday is the busiest day of the week, both in my business and at home, and by the end of the week, I’m amazing I got anything done.

It’s a challenge fitting in all my writing pieces or getting the house cleaned and organized and having proper meals on the table.

I mean, my glasses are STILL broken – from Christmas! Luckily I managed to find time to cut my hair and see the doctor.

There’s just not enough time in the day to get everything done.

It’s a Challenge But So Worth It

If you ask 10 people who work from home if they love what they’re doing, all of them will say yes – including me.

I wouldn’t change this for anything.

Over to you – if you recently started working from home, what do you find to be the most challenging thing about it?