My Experience Growing Up with a Work-at-Home Mom

by Melissa Batai

My mom was working at a factory in the ‘70s when I was born.  She had her six weeks’ maternity leave, but when it was time to go back to work, she couldn’t do it because she wanted to stay home with me.  She never put me in daycare, and she never worked in the factory again.  Instead, she started babysitting at home, caring for as few as two kids to as many as six kids at a time.

The Benefits of Having a Work-at-Home Mom

Overall, I enjoyed having a work-at-home mom, though at the time, I never thought of it that way.  Babysitting was just what my mom did.  Looking back now, there were plenty of benefits to her work situation for me.

My Mom Was Always Accessible

By far, the most important benefit is that my mom was always accessible for me.  I never needed to go to daycare.  If I had a question or concern, she was there.  I appreciate that greatly and found it was very important to me as I was growing up.  I had many friends whose parents worked outside the home, and they always came home to an empty house after school.  I loved that I didn’t.

I Had Plenty of Kids To Play With

When I was little, before I went to school, I had plenty of built-in playmates with the kids my mom babysat for.  I remember enjoying playing with them; it was sort of like having siblings since I was an only child until I was seven years old.

I Learned How to Take Care of Young Children

When I grew older, I learned how to take care of younger children thanks to the kids my mom babysat.  I often played with them and helped care for them, so I was never intimidated by little kids as some tweens and teens are if they’re not around kids a lot.  I started babysitting on my own when I was about 12, and my experience that I already had thanks to my mom’s work-at-home job made this transition easy.

The Drawbacks of Having a Work-at-Home Mom

While overall I’m glad that my mom was a work-at-home mom, there were some drawbacks to her business.

We Were Tied to the House

The biggest drawback is that we were tied to the house.  When I was young, my parents only had one car, but later, when I was older and my mom and dad each had their own vehicles, we still didn’t leave the house much.  Taking six kids under the age of five, not including me, out for an outing was just too much for one person to handle.

Because of babysitting, my mom also had trouble coming to my extracurricular events like sporting games.  She would usually make it to one, but other than that, she had to babysit.

My Mom Often Sided with the Kids She Babysat

As I got older, I found that my mom often sided with the kids she babysat, probably because she didn’t want to upset their parents.  When I was about 11 or 12, there was another girl my age, Renee, that my mom babysat after school.  My mom had picked us up from school, and Renee, who was very concerned with her hair and looks, complained that she was allergic to air because the car windows were open and the wind was messing her hair.  My mom made us all roll up our windows (and our car didn't have A/C)!  I still tease my mom about that to this day.

Working from home as a day care provider isn’t the right job for everyone, but for people who love children, like my mom, it was a perfect fit, and I loved that my mom was accessible for me throughout my childhood.

Melissa, a mom to three childre (ages 15, 10 and 9) blogs at Mom's Plans where she writes about living a fulfilling life on less, once a month and weekend cooking, and homeschooling.  She works from home as a freelance writer and virtual assistant.

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