Editor's note: We know a lot of our readers would like to make the somewhat-scary leap to from employee to solopreneur. Here, one of our writers shares her journey about that transition.
I looked around the room one last time before turning out the lights. Moving in slow motion, I still wasn't sure if this was the right thing to do.
The idea had been floating around in my head for a few months, but that’s all it was, an idea. Like many people, I had wondered if I could achieve that elusive work/life balance by working from home.
After years of leaving my kids with a babysitter in the mornings, missing school events, and always feeling guilty, I was convinced there had to be a better way. Especially since my work environment was becoming toxic and impacting my health and relationships with my family.
As the idea of working from home grew more appealing by the day, there was also a part of me that was scared to walk away from the many work friendships I had made, the sense of purpose that came from working with teenagers as a high school guidance counselor, and the financial stability of a steady paycheck.
But I knew that something had to change.
Fear of the unknown
At first, starting over seemed foolish, and quite possibly, a little irresponsible. Especially when you consider I’ve spent my entire life in the safe zone — always analyzing, processing, and listing out the “what ifs” for every possible scenario.
Sadly, the end result was often choosing to not do something because I was fearful of what may or may not happen.
That fear of the unknown kept me wandering through life always on the safe path. I never allowed myself the opportunity to explore the idea that there could possibly be another way of living.
Making the leap
I'll be honest with you — this transition came with a lot of uncertainty.
Going freelance, starting my own business, and doing it all from home (while still being a mom and wife) required me to take a huge leap of faith.
In fact, there were several questions that swirled in my head those first few months: Did I make a mistake? Do I have the personality to stick this out? What happens if I can't make enough money? What about my retirement?
And the one doubt that seemed to always invade my thoughts: Was this the right time to make a major life decision?
But here's the thing: there is no perfect time to change careers. I realized that if I kept waiting for the "golden moment" to make my move, that I would be plugging away at my job until I retired.
What it's like to be a work-from-home mom
In my new life, there is no backup plan or safety net — no guarantee that next month I will have work. I often find myself buttering toast, packing lunches, and answering emails about potential writing jobs, all while getting my kids ready for school.
At times, this juggling act scares the hell out of me. But it’s also exciting, invigorating, and empowering.
I’ve been up and down, sideways and stagnant. I've felt confident and defeated, fearless and unsure. But regardless of what life sends my way, I start my day with one important question: “What is my ‘why’ today?”
For me, the answer always starts with two names: Hanna and Cooper, my children. As it turns out, my “why” is about finding a path that includes working and being a mom.
That was something I thought I was doing well until my health and family life took a back-seat to my career.
Surprise, surprise! Like most moms, I struggled with finding work/life balance. You know ... that mythical idea that the world of work and the world of motherhood should just magically come together and women should be able to do it all.
Juggling it all
The reality is, work and home life are going to collide for most of us. But that doesn’t mean you have to give one up in order to save the other.
Yes, making the transition from full-time office worker to work-from-home mom has been an adventure and one that has come with a steep learning curve.
But on those mornings when I’m simultaneously buttering toast and sending out work emails (my favorite way to start the day, btw), I'm reminded of three guiding questions:
1. What makes me happy?
2. What fulfills me?
3. What gives me purpose?
Three questions that gave me the strength to close that office door and find the "balance" I've been looking for.
Are you thinking about making the transition from office worker to work-from-home mom? Take our quiz to find out if you have what it takes to work from home.
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