How I Became a Self-Employed Step Mom

Blended family, Money and Career

Post written by Blended Family columnist Melissa Gorzelanczyk of Peace & Projects.

Have you ever dreamed of quitting your day job to be at home?
Me too. The best part of the dream? It can really happen. Last year, I traded my 10-year corporate job for a simpler life as a self-employed writer. I became a stay at home step mom at the same time.
Today, work is a sanctuary – a little desk beside my bed, a laptop, coffee. It’s also a place where I can be interrupted on a whim or distracted by sibling fights. That is, I’ve learned, part of life as a self-employed step mom.
If quitting your day job to be at home will be a balance between your career and homemaking (like it is for me), here are some suggestions to help you along the way.

First, get your finances in order.

Quitting my day job didn’t happen overnight. It took more than two years – and a ton of expense cuts – to become a single income family. You can read about how we paid off over $42,000 in debt here. If you think living on one income is possible, the next step is to cut expenses, save more than you spend and embrace your inner frugalista. 🙂
Further reading:

What’s next? Break up with your day job.

I enjoyed my time working out of the home. What I didn’t enjoy was the limited time for family life and feeling overwhelmed. Break up with your day job over time with these tips:

  • Communicate. Show your significant why quitting your day job is a good idea.
  • Start building a foundation to make money down the road. Work on side projects and research opportunities.
  • Find time to make these changes. You could stop watching TV, wake up earlier or work on your lunch break (to name a few options).
  • Pick a date. Bookmark it and use it for daily motivation.
  • Surround yourself with inspiration. You’ll need it to stay motivated.
  • Read more about my break up story here.

Once at home: Ignore pressure to be someone you’re not.

I think all of us have a picture of what a stay at home mom looks like – smiling with an apron on and a fresh plate of cookies on the counter. That’s not the kind of stay at home mom I am.
Being home with my step kids has been positive in many ways, but a challenge in others. Sometimes, I’d rather be writing than nagging the kids about homework or breaking up arguments. Now I know: That is okay. I try to ignore pressure to be someone I’m not. I feel what I feel, and there’s no point in pretending.

Enjoy the “Mom” stuff.

Being home with my step kids means I get to plan activities I probably wouldn’t have with a full-time job. That’s definitely a perk. It has deepened our bond together. If you’re planning to be at home, take advantage of it. Surprise the kids with a day at the beach or take a last-minute trip to the zoo. Exercise the flexibility of being self-employed.

Use your resources.

If you need a break or a project is taking up more time than expected, use one of the best perks of being in a blended family – all the extra family members you have to rely on. The kids can enjoy spending time with their family and you can get some much-needed time off.

Set boundaries.

Last year, Little Boy always had big plans for our days together. While I admired his excitement for life, at times the plans were exhausting. Finally, I said something like, “I’m feeling pressured. Sometimes, we’re just going to be at home. Today, find something to do around the house.”
Another solution is to have your kids write down the things they want to do. Then, choose an activity as time allows.

Tempted to try?

Quitting your day job is a big decision. When kids are involved, the decision becomes even more intricate. Be realistic with your expectations. Rely on a strong support network when you need a break. In my opinion, self care is a stepparent’s number one job. When I am feeling rested and strong, the whole family reaps the rewards.
Read more of Melissa’s story in The Hybrid Homemaker: A Guide to Personal and Financial Freedom.

(photo source)