When I decided to start homeschooling, I was a corporate attorney, with a six-figure income. When I told people I was planning on quitting my job to homeschool my kids, the initial reaction was, “Are you crazy?” The next question was, “How are you going to replace your income?”
Obviously, those questions loomed heavily on my mind because our lifestyle required the incomes of both myself and my husband. In the end, we decided that taking the children’s education in our own hands was more important than the income we were losing. Having owned my own businesses in the past, I was confident that I would be able to start another business right away and begin replacing my lost income.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that being at home with a three and five-year-old, while trying to educate, entertain, cook, clean and become family event coordinator was itself a job and a half. Admittedly, as a mom who worked outside the home, and who outsourced much of the above list, I was completely and utterly overwhelmed during my first year of homeschooling. I did not have time to even think about starting or running a business.
As the years have gone by and my children have gotten older and become more independent in their school work, I have been able to get a couple of businesses off the ground. However, it was not easy. My prior businesses had been successful, but I had started and run them while I was single with no children. It never occurred to me that doing the same things I accomplished before would be more difficult while caring for two children and a husband.
Over the years, as I’ve traveled around the country speaking about homeschooling, I have met so many moms who desperately want to bring in a second income so that they can continue homeschooling their children. These moms feel like they have no skills or that they have been out of the job market for too long to command more than a $10-$15 per hour wage.
It always amazes me when I talk to moms about their earning potential because most moms worked full-time jobs before they had children. Many have college degrees. I’ve even spoken to several who held managerial positions before they became homeschooling moms.
Regardless of the professional and educational background of the moms that I help, a common refrain is that the act of being a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom has somehow undermined that mom’s ability to claim any of her prior experience or education.
So I want to reach out to you moms who are trying to find creative ways to bring in an income while still making your children’s education your first priority.
To begin figuring out where to start, I want you to do a little exercise. Get a pen and something to write on!
Know your worth to your family.
You are a homeschooling mom because you have chosen to pursue educating your children as your primary job. You may have decided to do this for a season or long term. Whichever course you chose, own it, Girl! Even though being a homeschooling mom doesn’t come with a paycheck every two weeks, the value that you bring to your family is truly priceless.
Think about it. What would your kids do if you were suddenly not there? Who would educate them? How would your spouse work, homeschool the kids, manage the house, and handle all the hundreds of little things that you do over the course of a month? You know, all those things that fly under the radar because you are there to take care of it.
Assess and understand the skills that you have gained through education and experience.
When we get away from our work experience, and we’re swimming in the day-to-day of raising children and doing laundry, we so often forget how fabulous we are! We forget how well we managed our world during our pre-kid days.
We forget all the compliments we got on how smart we are and how innovative we are. We forget that we used to run things! Before the days of dirty diapers, whining littles and angsty teenagers, we were somebody. And guess what? We still are.
I promise you, that person is still in there. She’s just hanging out, waiting for you to call her back.
Now I want you to sit down and make a list of the things you did best, the things for which you received the most praise, your education, your workshops attended, volunteer work – all the things that made you the working woman you were before the children.
Take some time to yourself and sit down and make this list. Truly remember who you are and take it into your heart. Allow yourself to accept that you know some things!
Time and energy spent pursuing your passion and interests also have value.
One of the beautiful things about being a homeschooling mom is that you have to stretch your mind to its creative limits. The act of going against the mainstream and homeschooling your kids was a step towards opening a box of creativity that you likely didn’t know you had.
Now, you might be sitting there thinking “I don’t have a creative bone in my body.” Well, I said the same thing. After all, I spent 20 years as a button-down, conservative corporate lawyer. I always said that I didn’t have a creative bone in my body. As it turns out, my husband tells me all the time that he can’t believe how creative I am. Coming from an architect, who is also an amazing artist, I find that unbelievable. But, he is right. I know that if I have been able to tap into a font of creativity that I never knew existed, everybody must have a latent pool of creativity hiding just under the surface.
Creativity comes in so many forms – those new ways of doing things, the education innovation that you had to discover because your kids all learn differently, the art you started to pursue, the photography you love, your newfound relationship with all things outdoors, I could go on and on.
As a homeschooling mom, you have acquired and discovered new skills and interests during your homeschooling journey. So add all the creativity and innovation you’ve found within yourself to your list of education and experience.
Understand the value that you bring to an employer or your own business.
Now that you have your list of skills and experience, sit back and give yourself a pat on the back. That’s right! You do have some skills, Girl! Your next step is to choose which skills and what experience bring you the most joy. Pick your top 3 and brainstorm about a business you could start using one or all of the top 3. Understand that you have these skills and a passion for these skills right now! You can show the value that you bring to any client or employer with these skills.
So think outside the “stay at home mom jobs” box. There are many ways that your awesome self can bring in an income. The possibilities are endless!
About the Author:
Judy Sarden, speaker, homeschool coach and business advisor, is the author of Sarden’s Practical Guide: How to Start Homeschooling. She is passionate about helping homeschooling moms navigate the world of homeschooling. Judy is a wife and homeschooling mom to two very active children. You can follow her here.