Tagging Yourself as a WAHM is Bad for Business

Tagging Yourself as a WAHM is Bad for Business

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office_child_bunchofpants_flickrI just watched a guest video post by Scott Stratten on www.jessicaknows.com where Scott suggests Work At Home Mom’s should not advertise themselves as such.

First, let me say, that I agree with everything Scott said. I operated my business while staying home with my kids, but rarely did my clients ever hear them. I didn’t advertise that I was a WAHM (work at home mom), I refered to myself as self-employed. Why? There is a stigma attached to being a WAHM, an unwritten belief that if you’ve made nurturing your children a priority, you are somehow less of a business person.

I don’t take issue with Scott, I take issue with a society that holds onto these false perceptions, being a WAHM is NOT a detriment to business. It’s the age old consideration of whether the sippy cup is half full or half empty.

Consider these myths that many still regard as truths:

  1. Children get in the way of doing business.
    Staying home with my children was the most difficult job I ever had. Staying home with my kids while balancing a full time career was even more difficult. Women who balance the needs of their family with the needs of clients ought to be applauded. Already they’ve proven they are exceptional multi-taskers. Scott mentions Virtual Assistants (VA’s), along with the ability to quickly prioritize tasks, multi-tasking is one of the most important skills to possess in that industry.
  2. WAHMs won’t be as focused on the client’s business.
    Being a WAHM requires determination and long hours. Taking care of children, cooking and cleaning is WORK. Mothers, whether they work inside or outside of the home, perform two jobs. They’re dedicated, they’re reliable. Many of them may take time to run to school during business hours but they are also available after 9 pm when there’s that rush job the client forgot. There is flexibility in their hours that you won’t find elsewhere.
  3. Being a WAHM is not about doing business
    We are whole people. Not parts. I am self-employed and I am a mother, both of those jobs are very important to me and how I handle my entire life speaks volumes about my character. Living a balanced life makes me a better business partner, so yes, if being a SAHM enhances who I am, then it will benefit YOUR business.

We, as a society, need to stop considering parenthood as being an interruption on the road to success! Balancing parenthood while working from home enhances skills – we shouldn’t be hiding that, we should be shouting it from the rooftops. The women who are openly saying they are WAHMs should be thanked, because it’s their skills and abilities that will prove to society that employing a WAHM is a benefit rather than a detriment to any business fortunate enough to work with them.

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Comments

  1. Thank you for articulating this.

    AMEN!

  2. I agree with you about moms who work having two jobs: motherhood and work. I was a WAHM before the term existed. It was the hardest job I have ever had. I found that I was not the best at working while my children were awake. So, I was reduced to working only at naptime or when the two were in morning preschool or when my husband got home. I was exhausted looking after kids all day and working late in to the night.

    My authors and editors knew that I was working from home AND had kids. It was my “own” policy to never use my children as an excuse for not meeting a deadline. Over the years I had all manner of illnesses and maladies.

  3. I’ve watched several friends and family members do the WAHP thing, and I’ve never seen it fail. Clients got attention to detail, and as much time as it took to get the best job done. Often, WAHPs don’t charge for time spent on a project that was unproductive…unlike in a brick-and-mortar office where the client is charged for the giggle-fest at the water cooler, as well as the productive time.

    The WAHM can take 10 minutes to settle a sick child, or 30 to rescue the neighborhood kid who got clocked with the garage door…but she doesn’t miss the whole day for it. The WAHP (parent) can do both, and there’s no time wasted commuting or playing “how was your weekend”.

    I think it’s the perfect solution for many parents, and many businesses. I only hope they look more closely, instead of just dismissing it out of hand.

    And you’re right. We need to change the societal viewpoint toward parenting, both for WAHPs AND those of us in the traditional work world.

    I’ve heard childless people in the workplace go on rants about how they “carry” the parents in the workplace. They mention the time spent with sick kids, or having to leave to pickup at daycare. It’s interesting that they feel that way.

    These are the same people who on thursday and friday leave at EXACTLY 5pm because they have plans. They never come in early or work through lunch. They have a LIFE. They tell me that often. Parents feel a loyalty and an obligation to their workplace that the childless often do not. We are supporting a child on that salary…yes, we have an uncapitalized life, but we’ve got a few extra ounces of dedication, too. Plus experience that makes us understanding, flexible, and caring…which is a fair trade for a LIFE.

    I’m extremely lucky to have a boss right now who takes parenting as seriously as I do. He sent me home to care for my daughter when my husband had to leave her home sick and go back to work. As soon as her brother got home, I went back to work…much to his surprise and pleasure.

    I work harder, longer, and happier, knowing that THIS boss, THIS job, cares about my family and will allow me to parent without guilt or recrimination. I get paid to work, but the benefit of being able to parent guilt-free while doing so, means I’m going to make SURE I bring my very best self to work every day. Everyone wins.

    Here’s hoping that someday it works that way everywhere…we’d be a more productive society with much healthier, productive children, too!

  4. Thank you for this post! These were my exact thoughts after watching the video! I remember when I first start discussing this with Scott via twitter. I didn’t market myself as a WAHM, but for some reason was a little bit bothered.

    I think I was bothered, because it seemed like in his comments he was saying that automatically if he knew you were a work at home mom then he would question whether you could do the job. Most work at home mom’s have mother’s helpers or kids go to pre-school. Also, they are usually working in the evenings and weekends making sure all of their projects are done.

    I don’t always tell my clients at work at home, but usually it’s not a big deal. Actually, recently I’ve had a lot of soon to be Moms or other Moms asking me for advice.

    I started my business when I was pregnant with my first son and we had just moved to a small air force base. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to create the business I had always wanted. Now with 2 kids under the age of 3 and two businesses I feel very blessed. The internet provides an amazing opportunity for moms to work at home.

    Thanks again for this great post! You said exactly what I was thinking!

  5. Great article! I can see how you don’t want to advertise yourself as a WAHM in certain industries. Sometimes it is important to be up front.

    All my clients know I am a WAHM. When interviewing prospective clients, I tell them my situation. I have always believed in being up front with them – especially since some meetings we have may have the kids in the background.

    As a VA, I discuss how I handle calls with their clients so it is a handled in the most professional way.

    I am working towards getting into a product market. I do not plan on advertising myself as a WAHM because I don’t want customers to worry that the customer support will not be there.

  6. Great article Pat. I had seen that video as well and I agree with everything you said. I’ve been a WAHM for years but don’t introduce myself that way because of the stigma.

    Love the new blog by the way. Love the layout and especially the articles!

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