10 JOBS FOR STAY AT HOME MOMS

I got several responses on my previous post about stay at hone mom vs working mom and most of the direct questions I had was finding things to do from home and still be able to get paid while doing it, looking after your little ones and finding that personal self-fulfillment through career and financial independence. You don’t want to be going to your husband every time you need a dime. Even if you have a joint account, you don’t want to be explaining yourself every time you buy something nice for yourself. So I have decided to share some few ideas of jobs you can do from the comfort of your own home while looking after your family full time. You don’t have to have an experience, a degree or accreditation. You don’t have to worry about childcare for your young kids.

1. Blog – This is one of the first choice for a lot of moms and my favorite, in fact there is the ‘influx’ of mom bloggers currently. I love this one so much because it not only provided me with little income, it has also become therapeutic for me as a full time stay at home mom. Sharing my thoughts and struggles has become so helpful and it made me a happier person and I made some connections that blossomed into friendship and I’m able to help other women. You don’t have to have any experience, you just have to enjoy writing and or taking pictures. However, you are not going to start raking in the money immediately. It takes time and patient so you have to love it. When I first started, I did not make a dime, I love blogging and making contents on social media. It is my creative outlets. I still can’t afford to do it full time even though that’s the dream (I live in Manhattan and that’s a pretty expensive dream) but at least I’m getting income now as supposed to when I first started. I can pay some of the bills with it.

2. Become an Instagrammer – Most people these days are already using social media, but there is a different way to use social media, become an influencer, content creator or creative director, whichever title suits you. One thing a lot of people don’t know is that you do not have to be a famous instagrammer or have hundreds of thousands of followers. So far you have good contents, at least a thousand followers and take good enough pictures. And your personality too. Brands look at how you connect to your audience. You are good to go. Be consistent. Your followers want consistency. You don’t have to post four pictures a day or even post everyday. As a busy mom even if you can manage 3-4 times a week.

There are macro, micro, medium and large influencers. Rome was not built in a day and remember even though we have big companies paying influencers with large followers, we also have small to medium companies using smaller influencers too. This days, even big companies are now appreciating the values of micro influencers. why pay thousands of money to just one influencer when you can have ten different smaller influencer promote your brand to a wide variety of audience. So don’t get discouraged because you have a few following. I remember my first gig with Google, I was like OMG! So big companies like that are noticing small contents creator like me? When I first started, I was very concerned about how I would be perceived. Show off, narcissist and being vain or needing validation were some of the things that came to mind. This is especially true for people from my culture and religious background. Even though I still struggle with some of that (I may come across as showing off and jokingly say it but that is so far from the truth), I know why I’m doing it. I love to share with the hope to inspire and encourage. If I wear this outfit confidently regardless of how I look, you too can. It’s nice to see clothes on regular people who are not models or perfect.

So be ready for that internal battle. But keep going anyway. Now that I get paid to create content, that feelings are not important to me anymore. I just remind myself, this is how I financially take care of my family. I’m doing it for my family. That’s who you are doing it for too right? So don’t worry.

And again, just like blogging, becoming a content creator takes time and patients. just keep on taking those pictures and creating contents in your area of interest. One day, you will have your breakthrough.

3. Become an Online seller – e-commerce is the way these days, I mean you buy things online right? people are selling through eBay, amazon and many more other channels of selling products. You don’t have to worry about owning a real shop, find out more about drop shipping, you don’t even have to have the physical products if space or start up fee is a concern for you. You can own a virtual shop and make money through it from the comfort of your own home.

4. Become an actor/model – gone are the days you had to look like a model to model. Thanks to inclusion and body positivity movements, anyone can virtually become a model, you just have to have the attitude and love for it. You can take acting classes (online if you don’t have childcare) And you can even take your baby along with you. I did a private modelling gig recently and I was lucky to be able to take all three kids with me and they were involved in the campaign too. More income and no worries for childcare. We had fun as a family and it actually made the final product better. Imagine using real families to play make believe families. Especially families like us that really have fun together and get along well.

5. Become a freelancer – Be it writer, photographer, proof reader or virtual assistant, you can sell your talents or knowledge on a part time basis for money and Still be in control of your time.

6. Become a product/services reviewer – get paid to take surveys. This is not sometime I particularly like although I have done it in the past, I find it quite time consuming and I do not naturally like filling out forms in real life and I get impatient answering questions over and over again. But if you are ok filling out surveys and answering questions then give it a go. You can also get store vouchers like Target for taking part.

7. Become a childminder – if you are home looking after your kids, why not add one or more kids and get paid doing what you are already doing anyway. Depending on your area and the rules and regulation of the state, you may be suprised that you can become a childminder from anywhere, meaning you do not have to live in the suburb with big gardens. When I was researching into doing this in New York City, I was pleasantly surprised that I could do it from my apartment and public parks counts as outdoor space too. No wonder I see kids all lined up walking to local parks. You can get paid as soon as you start with this one. Your kids get to have additional playmates. Start up cost is low because you already have toys for your kids and you have already childproof your house. There are grants too to help you with start up cost.

8. Partake in Paid research and studies – when I first heard of this I was thinking, “I am not becoming some scientist guinea pig” but that is so far from the reality. Some of the studies involve what you are already doing, someone will just come and be observing you interact with your family or a medication you are already using. I get worried when you are asked to take something new. Anytime you are asked to put something into your body, that should be a no. You don’t know if it has been approved or not and I am very protective of moms or primary care givers because God forbid something should happen to you, who will look after your kids. But if you are already using the medication or cream for example, then that’s great.

If you want to know how to find good ones, I was approached while waiting at the kids clinic by a teaching hospital in New York City. They also place adverts including Craigslist . Although I haven’t done any yet just because of time and other commitments but I was promised $250 by the university and for just 45 minutes of our time. I think that’s pretty good deal. Imagine doing just two a week for a month.

9. Become a teacher – you do not have to go to a teacher training college to become a teacher. Are you very good at making things, open a youtube Chanel and teach people how to do it. Teach people how to do makeup, style their outfits, bake, cook African dishes for the family (some non Africans are married to Africans and may want to learn). Start an online master classes and let them pay you to come and do what you know how to do all while looking after your kids. Create your own online course and people will pay you for it.

10. Become a photographer – You can start small, buy a decent camera (doesn’t have to be a new fancy one). Start practicing on your kids or pet or nature. Anyone can pretty much learn anything these days thanks to YouTube. Then start with friends and family portraits or events. Do you know that you can sell your pictures too? Stock photography. Or become a brand photographers. Small brands/companies are looking for small photographers to take pictures of their products for marketing. And they will pay for it. Have a portfolio of what you have done. Don’t let that scare you. Just have a folder of all the beautiful pictures you have taken, when you hear portfolio you immediately think they meant paid previouse job, who says it has to be paid. Tell your family and friends you are willing to do free shooting for them because you are building your portfolio. Go print them out and buy a photography folder and voila you are ready.

Lastly I want to encourage you to be patient and know this, you are exactly where you are supposed to be. It may not seem like it or make any sense but trust me when I say this and I say it with a 100% conviction, you are where you are supposed to be in life. I used to have anxiety over what to do while taking care of the kids. Something that doesn’t affect my values like becoming an escort, (you going to need childcare for that), or sell my kidney or my right arm. But joke aside, what can you do while still taking care of my babies. You start comparing yourself with your mates who started together or went to school together. That lady is building a beautiful house, she travels all the time. She wears expensive nice things.

My husband did not understand why I worried so much, money wasn’t the problem for us. But I felt like I was missing something. Even though I knew I made the right choice (I will never have it the other way) my anxiety was for the future (I don’t know why we worry so much about the future when all we are guaranteed of is just today). I always thought, what will I do when the kids are older and start school full time? After staying at home for some years, you lose your confidence. Will employers take me back? How about that “previous” employer issue and references. Do I need to re-train or go back to school just to catch up.

Whatever you are doing right now (or not doing, as it may seem), it will prepare you for your next move. You just keep going. It will all make sense eventually. You can also combine these 10 ideas. You can blog, become a photographer, a model and have a YouTube channel for example. For security and personal reasons I will not (yet) disclose my new business venture, it is not on the list but one thing I learned and that gave me the confidence to assure you that you are where you are supposed to be was that, everything I unknowingly learned while ‘waiting’ is what has been helping me. My instagram knowledge about taking clean, pictures. Sending emails and negotiating contracts with brands that want to use my platform to promote their products. My relationship with my followers (I genuinely think they are all my friends and I love and respect them as such), is my customer relationship skills. Typing, writing and talking with other bloggers (team working). Everything has been useful to me.

When you are a full time stay at home mom, you are learning valuable management skills and that is priceless. You may not even know it. You are a master of conflict resolutions (if you have more than one kid you would have learned this skills). Negotiations skills (how do you leave both parties happy at the end of the day). Multi tasking (I finished working on my day business, kids are sleeping and I’m here blogging while enjoying a nice glass of wine and some Nina Simon playing) talk about multi-tasking.

The best skill for me is learning to work under pressure. As moms we just get on with it. No time to be moaning and complaining. We handle things even when we are freaking out or when we have no idea what we are doing. When it comes to our kids, we are lionesses. I have taken that into my entrepreneurial business and I must say I surprise myself sometimes. I deal with an issue and remembers when I had to deal with similar issue as a mom, wife or as a content creator and I smile to myself. I bring that knowledge into my business.

If I could go back and advise my younger mom self I would say “just relax Irene, everything will be alright. It will all turn out fine and you are on the right path”. I remember questioning my move to America and I smile because if I didn’t, I won’t be where I am today. I won’t have this joy and fulfillment I feel today. So I’m telling you the same. You are exactly where you are supposed to be. You made the right decision. You may not see it. But you did. Trust the process.

STAY AT HOME MOM VS WORKING MOM

As an adult mom with responsibilities and purpose, there is this big question we ask ourselves as soon as we are even thinking about starting a family. Do I stay at home and look after my kids or do I go back to work, get someone else to look after the kids, earn a living to look after myself and the kids and achieve my own personal fulfilment?

There is no one answer to this question and no right answer too. Regardless of what you choose to do, that decision is perhaps the best decision for you. Here is my personal experience and how I came about choosing the best option for me and my kids. Our personal situations and experiences does impact what we decide to do about going back to work or not.

I am a stay at home (I work from home, I have my own small business I do from home) mom. When the two older kids were very young, after my maternity leave (England is better than America for that) I was working full time, schooling full time and parenting full. I had a live in nanny, their dad worked in the London branch of his company so we always leave home together in the morning and come back together in the evening. The kids were between 0-2 and the live in nanny also helped with cleaning. I never allowed anyone else to cook for my husband and kids and I took the kids for swimming and their activities. This was going on ok until my husband changed job. We all want financial stability. If you are an immigrant you would understand the honesty. We always joke, that we did not leave our countries for the English weather. So when an offer that almost triples his wages came up, it was unwise not to take it. However, such lucrative job comes with lots of sacrifices and challenges. One of it being that he traveled a lot, so he is often not around. When the kids were younger, we always traveled with him sometimes but the older they got, the more we wanted to create stability. We can’t have the kids growing up with both parents not around.

I was raised by a single teen mom so basically her immediate family raised me. My mom went back to school and started her own successful business. We were comfortable but we never sat around the table to eat together – she would come home late at night when I was already sleeping, hell we even missed so many christmases together. Probable why I love Christmas with my kids so much. I could go on about the emotional and physical abuse I endured as a child from closest family members who were more than happy to bully me because they knew my mom wasn’t around to hold them accountable and my dad was never around anyway. Although I am healed from it, but I never forget about it. This really affected my choice in raising my kids.

Call me traditional, but my philosophy is that at least one parent has to be at home to look after the kids. I cannot stress how important this is. Money is not everything. You will not allow anyone to look after your most expensive assets. why allow strangers or even family members to look after your priceless kids? I say even families because, I worked in social service for over six years and from professional experience, 90% of the abuse to children, comes from people closest to them. We warn them about stranger danger, the most dangerous people to kids are their primary carers.

My husband being a typical African man, even though he is British, took the job hoping I would automatically love to stay at home. Anyone close to me, knows how much I love kids. I literally love them so much and mine are not exception. I love being with them. I don’t love the work part though, the cleaning etc. When you are a working mom, you are still a full time mom but someone else do the hard physical part. But when you are a stay at home mom, you do EVERYTHING and that is exhausting and tiring, the aches and chills. I can’t remember the last time I don’t take 200mg of pain medicine at night. Unlike how I may come across, I am also very career oriented too. To be honest, not necessarily career, but I am financially minded. I have been hustling, selling things since I was a kid.So yes I am maternal but I am also a firm believer in personal financial freedom regardless of how blissful your marriage or relationship is. Have your own personal bank account and keep putting small amount into it. Me allowing my husband to go work in this new company without opposition wasn’t because I was a submissive or gullible wife, it was a calculated decision. One I did with the happiness and comfort of my kids in mind.

Remember that at least one of the parents always has to be with the kids. How I chose who that would be was a simple calculation. Who earned the most? Unfortunately a lot of men still earn more than their wives. This means a lot of women HAS to be the ones to make the decisions to stay at home. I would love to be the one working but his wages was more than enough to cover all our expenses. If on just mine, yes we might have gotten by but it won’t be enough for holidays or anything else. That was how I allowed him without complaint.

You have to be pragmatic about these things. Yes we live in a more sophisticated world were women rule, girl power, feminism and all that, but this is your family we are talking about and you have to make the best decision ( not political decision) for your family.

Despite choosing to stay at home to look after your own kids yourself, you can still make some income. The truth is that it may not be self fulfilling or financially rewarding as if you were 100% committed to working outside the house. But it is something. My only consolation is when I see the kids striving. I am not talking necessarily about education alone but in terms of the values you wanted them to have. The bible says “raise up your children in the way they SHOULD go”… Your children, the mandate was to you the parent(s), no one can truly want the best for your kids as much as you do. There is also a way you might want them to grow. What value do you want them to have. No amount of detailed written down routine for the carer can instill that into them. Sooner or later the kids will say, you are not my parents why are you asking me to do this or do that. Which is true. We tend to listen to our parents more than our carers.

One thing I also remind myself when I feel like I made the wrong choice is that these years, are investments. They will not be kids forever and by Gods grace, once you get it right with them, you will never have to pay for therapy for them to undo years of abuse they may have suffered. Don’t get me wrong, kids who were raised by at least one of their parents are also messed up ( we are all messed up one way or another), there is just a good messed up and a not so good messed up.

I cannot over emphasis how important it is for you to look after your kids. I know some of us may not have the choice to make, especially if you are already a single parent or you honestly just don’t have it in you. I respect people who know themselves and are true to themselves. You have to do what you have to do. If this is your case, by all means do not feel bad about having to make the decision to go outside and work and have someone else look after the kids. Have that conversation with them, kids are not stupid, they will probably not like it but they hear you. I cannot attend this and that because it is only mommy that has to work so we can have food to eat, house to live and clothes to wear. Even be able to buy you that toy you wanted.

I tell my kids this when I have deadlines and yet they want me to do something (despite working from home, we also get guilt tripped so don’t worry). I also want you to know that by reading this, asking yourself the question of what is better for my kids, you are already an amazing parent. You won’t bother if you didn’t care. You want what’s best for them and sometimes that is good enough.

If you are 50/50 about it, you should know that there is also the option of taking temporary or lesser roles. You may not have as much money as you would have, but at least you will be able to spend more time with the kids. I have seen moms changing careers to become teachers or nurses so they can have that flexibility.

Lastly, that “life – career balance” is a myth. You can not joggle those two things successfully. One has to give. I hate seeing women on newspapers and social media, “mom of three running a Fortune 500 company, or when they say “she combines motherhood and running a successful business etc” Yes the fact is that she birthed three kids but the silent message that she’s a hands on full time mom and still able to run her business is all BS. The truth they don’t tell you is the amount of help, nanny(ies) they have, their mom and sister who regularly take the kids for piano lessons and swimming. Forget the one they had to pose for the camera for, their husbands who is fully involved. Their possible cook and cleaner.

They come back from work tired but the nanny is there to give the kids their bath. But the few days they do it they capture it for the camera on social media so that they can prove they do it all and are involved. If you truly do it all by yourself then you will know that the reality is that you don’t even have the time to get a camera to take a photo when you are busy giving them a bath, helping the older ones with homework, making dinner, reminding them to brush and floss oh let’s not forget you. You have to take off your makeup and drink your water and moisturize. It never ends. These are all staged photos. I am a blogger and and instagramer and that is the truth. When you are in the moment of motherhood, you don’t have time for photos.

When the world found out that Beyonce had three nannies for just the twins, there was a lot of gossiping. I loved her honesty. How do you think Kate Middleton in the royal palace does it? They don’t tell you the amount of servants they have and when people who are honest do, they crucify them. I think it is important that people know the truth. That because you do not have time to go to the gym and loose that baby weight doesn’t mean you are lazy, that because you didn’t get that promotion doest mean you didn’t put in the hours (what hours when you got kids). No one can have it all. Do not set yourself up to fail. Know your own situation and work with what you got. Putting the children first, choose what’s best for your family.

On The 11th Day of Christmas

On the 11th day of Christmas we went to Macy’s Santaland in Manhattan.

You have to book it and you could get a spot as early as 15mins. But we booked a week ahead. Seeing that it is a very popular experience during the holiday season for tourists and locals, we chose a Tuesday after school slot thinking that the queue (line) won’t be too long.

It was long. The total experience despite being on a Tuesday was about 2.5 hours.

There is a restaurant just in front of Santaland to sit down, get a coffee or snack and wait for your time slot.

I saw this beautiful lady and Mama was really her name! I asked if I could take her picture for my website and she smiled and said yes 😄

The food was very tasty and good value for money considering how everything else is expensive in New York City. After grabbing something to eat we proceeded to the Santa express. It was very long and tiring for the parents but the kids didn’t really complain so they must have loved it more.

The elves were cheeky, funny and brilliant!

There were lots of fun things to see and do along the way. So waiting wasn’t so boring.

Finally it was time to meet the big man himself.

You can request to see a brown Santa from the gate but I don’t really mind. We told the kids the original Santa was brown but we just love whoever puts on the suit.

The elf taking photos was very kind and if you ask him to take your pictures he will. Despite capturing this on my phone I still got the professional prints. It was our first time and I wanted it done properly. Maybe next year, something like these would be enough. Can I also point out that the final prints were very lovely. Even for rich ebony skin, it was beautiful. I never used to order prints from non brown photographers because of how they capture our skin tones especially those done on the spot but this one was perfect. So don’t worry, you can try one and I’m pretty sure you would love it. The whole photo package was very affordable.

Overall it was a very busy, tiring but extremely exciting day and we got to create some new memories.

**I wanted to take a quick nap before writing up the days experience after the baby slept, knowing she usually wakes up every few hours at night for feed and comfort. But tonight was different. She slept for 6 hours straight and I slept off too. Just woke up to feed her and maybe for the next blogmas I would share what I noticed made the difference tonight. It wasn’t because we were all tired, I always try to wear her out but it never worked. But this trick which was totally unplanned, did it. So come back for the 12th day of Christmas and hope you are getting into the Christmas feeling!

On The 10th Day of Christmas

Me and my daughters all ready to go see and smell some fresh Christmas trees while my son takes the photo

On the 10th day of Christmas we went shopping for Christmas tree. If you follow us on social media and watch our stories you would know that we already have a tree and seeing that we live in a small New York City apartment, we don’t have the luxury of having several Christmas trees.

Our Christmas tree

So why go shopping for trees when you don’t need one you may wonder. It is simple really. It is all for the experience. Although I love the idea of taking the kids to the farm to cut a tree (sorry my eco warriors) but I don’t like the actual real trees. It’s weird and confusing I know. I like the idea but not the reality of actually owning one. For one I don’t like the short lifespan. They are high maintenance. I can only grow and nurture children right now and that’s about it. We really want a puppy but I can’t handle extra responsibilities right now and watering a tree every morning in addition to solo parenting isn’t really appealing to me right now.

Also, they shed on the floor and attract bugs. You get this beautiful tree, decorate it. Hang your baby’s first Christmas ornaments. Take baby’s first picture with a tree. That tree has now become part of your family. It is part of your stories and memories. I don’t want to chuck it away after we are done. I want to keep it. I know I may or may not have attachment issues but I love sentimental things especially when it comes to the family. I got our last tree in London when I was single living in Manchester. It followed me all over the UK. I had my first Christmas as a married woman with my husband with the tree. My first born saw it and so was the second child. I know I don’t have a psychological attachment with the tree because when we had to relocate, I left it behind and moved on. Now we got another artificial one and we are creating new memories with it. Come to think of it, I think we should give her a name. Anyway moving on, so I wanted to give the kids the experience of a real tree. Just to see it and smell it. Feel it and we can go back to enjoy our faux tree.

Being that we live in the city with no farm and I don’t like to cause myself undue stress by traveling out of the city just to cut a tree, we made do of the ones that are sold on the curbside street markets. They promise to be freshly cut and I take their words for it. In fact we should thank them for doing all the hard work for us already.

After the experience we went for a walk saw and waved to a police officer riding on a horse. My kids love horses and police officers so it really made their day.

We then came back home to continue our tradition of watching a Christmas movie after homework and dinner. To add to that tradition, I have set up the google home mini to wake us up to Christmas songs every morning. And this morning was the first time and I must say it was beautiful. If you haven’t done this, try it. It sets the tone for the day and you find yourself walking around humming to jolly songs, smiling and looking happy. I particularly love the Beyoncé Christmas songs it played today. I’d forgotten that she did one. Was always used to the Mariah Carey’s one. I can’t wait for the 11th day of Christmas. I already know what this one will bring because it was a pre booked one but I’m hoping it brings many more adventure with it.

On The 7th Day of Christmas

On the 7th day of Christmas we went to The Palace Hotel to write and send letters to Santa.

I hope Santa gets them and grant all our wishes. I asked for a Chanel handbag on behalf of the baby. You got to aim high right? 😄

I wonder what tomorrow will bring!