3 Clever Ways to Explain to People What You Do as a Work-at-Home Mom
I envy my work-outside-of-the-home counterparts at times. They get more respect than I do in some circles because they don't clock in under the same roof that they bathe kids and watch their Netflix. (Unless you're counting those star employees who sneak episodes of "House of Cards" while pretending to "research".)
I know what I do is a real job. The IRS thinks what I do is a real job (just ask them how much they taxed my little business in 2013.) My kids definitely think I have a real job. So what's up with friends, family, and community members who still don't believe that my full-time, supporting the family, and fulfilling my desire to do something amazing in the world career is real?
Many of you can likely relate to this. You get asked to do things during the week that people would never dream to ask a cubicle employee. Like watch kids or bake cupcakes or run errands. Here are 5 ways I've used to send the message that I'm not made of infinite time particles, and that I'm actually working during the week (and most weekends):
1. Business cards. I know that anyone under the sun can create a business card. (Especially when they can be done for free plus the cost of shipping.) But somehow having a tiny piece of cardstock with my professional logo and my web address is like kryptonite to time moochers and naysayers. Cause the "lady who sits and watches Dr. Oz in-between loads of wrinkly laundry" likely never thought to put her job title on one. The next time someone asks what you do all day, hand them a card, and let them know that you have an opening for consultation -- should they need it -- starting next month when you're not so busy.
2. Enlist family members. I love when someone asks my husband what we're doing next week. He almost always says something along the lines of "I'll need to check in with my wife to see if we have any meetings lined up." We keep a family/business calendar, but he knows that things come up all the time. And this sets the stage nicely for people to never assume that we have an always open week to cut into. Older kids can be taught to respond in the same way.
3. Use social media. Some people share potty training victories on Facebook. Others Instagram the heck out of their dog. I like to mix up cute family photos with brief commentary on how busy the holidays are for my business and how it's been nice having the husband and kids involved in all the to-do's we must get done before Christmas. Never complain about work on social media; be OK with giving a nod to your career like anyone else, however. It's makes it real for those who don't understand.
Explaining to my 87-year-old Grandma that I don't make a living writing articles for "Myspace" has been a challenge, one that I don't think I'll really try to tackle head on. But even Grandma knows that I work -- a lot -- and that I'm careful with my time. You don't have to understand all the ins and outs of a work-at-home moms business to get that she deserves the same respect as any other qualified professional.
How have you set boundaries with others and communicated that your time and talents are to be respected?