Life as a WAHM Series – Guest Janine Huldie Offers Some Advice

First things first:

Now with that out of the way… 😀

Once again, Janine is back! WOOHOO!!! I love her posts. I find them so inspiring! Today, Janine is kind enough to share with us some advice on getting started as a WAHM as well as on some of the things we may forget about in the beginning, like taxes!

So grab a green beer, and enjoy Janine’s post!

Janine’s Advice

Janine's HP Profile

Janine’s Hubpages Profile

“Rome wasn’t built in day!”  I heard this some many times over the years, but will be honest no truer statement can be spoken when one decides to become a WAHM.  There isn’t one easy formula to actually becoming a WAHM.  But when you do make this decision, you will learn quickly that you will have many options and probably be a bit overwhelmed, too.  So, I will try to give you some pointers from what I have gone through from the beginning of my WAHM trek.

Where better to start than at the beginning.  So when I first started this journey, I thought I would write for one site (Hubpages) and see where it took me.  And at first this worked just fine for me, but then I yearned for more than that.  I also tried my hand at content mills and this too left me feeling like I needed so much more.  It wasn’t until, I began blogging that I found my true passion.  This led me to writing an actual book.  Granted even though the book is written I still need to edit and I am no where near done with that yet!

And even with blogging, I have tweaked my content, as well as advertising and even doing sponsored posts/giveaways.  Trust me, I am still evaluating what works here and what doesn’t as I write this.  The point is being a WAHM gives you a wealth of opportunities, but it also leaves one like I just stated constantly evaluating the job you are performing as in what you can do better and what might not be working at all.

Also, even though I write online there are so many opportunities and not just to write.  I know many who have businesses where they sell a product or service, whether it be their own personal website, through Etsy or even on Ebay.  The decision is yours, but make sure you are utilizing your best talents.  If you are crafty, then you may very well want to do something that uses and plays on those talents.

The next thing you will definitely take into play is time management.  If you are a parent like I am you will also probably have to work around your children’s schedules.  Working online is not like working outside the home, whether you work in an office retail or any other place of business.

When you work at home, yes you can set your own schedule, but you may find that you are working many more hours than if you were just working a typical 9 to 5 job.  Trust me, I have been there and I have had to learn how to balance my work and my life, too.  And this too is still a something I quite frankly struggle with, because I am truly dedicated and love writing.  However, I do constantly now remind myself to step away from time-to-time, because I have a life, too and I don’t want it to go on without me.

Another consideration being a WAHM is that you need to have some sort of book keeping to keep track of your income and expenses, too.  I found great resources online for this here and modified it for myself.  You don’t want to be caught come tax season with your pants metaphorically down!!  I was able to purchase the book Your Blogging Business to help break it all down for me.  And the best part it is deductible on your income taxes, because it is an expense.  You may not be making much in the beginning, but still you need to start somewhere and this is a good place to begin.

There is probably more that goes into working from home, but these are the tips that come to mind for me that seem to be the essentials for anyone just starting this journey.

My final words are good luck and hope this has helped break being a WAHM down just slightly.

Thank you Janine! These are some excellent tips!

Thanks for reading, and once again I’d like to wish everyone:

Happy Saint Paddy’s Day!!

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Getting Organized: Owner’s Manuals and Warranty Binder

My last post talked about the homeschooling notebook I created for Sam.

Today’s post will talk about the owner’s manual and warranty binder that I created for all of our expensive purchases. This one is still a work in progress, so there really isn’t much to say about it. But I can say, it has come in quite handy!

Because warranties and owner’s manuals are so bulky, page protectors don’t really work well. Stuff can easily fall out of them, and they’re just a royal pain in the ass.

I found a video on YouTube that explained how to make one of these binders using expanding polypropylene envelopes with a velcro closure. I LOVE them!!

Despite my being on a “pink kick” lately, I actually got these in blue. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, they do go well with the blue binder.

I plan on adding tabs to the envelopes, but until then, I used a sharpie marker to label the outside of the envelopes with the name of the product that corresponds to the owner’s manual and warranty information inside the envelope. The laptop and camera are actually pretty thick, surprisingly.

This actually worked out really well recently. About a week and a half ago, I had to exchange my new Nikon D5100 because for some crazy reason the autofocus lens stopped working. I had started making this binder at the same time I was deciding what to do with the camera. I hadn’t been all that happy with it, the pictures were a bit blurry and of course there was the thing with the autofocus. So I was deciding on whether or not to return the camera and buy the Canon Rebel T3i, or simply exchange the Nikon.

Exchanging the Nikon was an attractive option because Amazon will send out the exchange item right away, and you have 30 days to return the defective one. After laboring over this decision for days (you can ask Janine, she was kind enough to ask her hubs some questions for me about the Canon), I decided to exchange the Nikon.

Much to my surprise, Amazon upgraded my shipping to overnight. Awesomesauce!

I packed up the Nikon and thankfully had put all the pertinent paperwork in the warranty binder so all I had to do was grab everything in the camera envelope and stick it in the box.

I was proud as a peacock, because I knew I had packed everything up.

Until I realized that I forgot to pack one of the eyepieces that attach to the viewfinder. And of course, I realized that AFTER UPS came and picked up the package!

WHOOPS!!!

But I didn’t forget any of the paperwork!!!

When I received the new camera, I (of course) went outback and tried it out. To me, the pictures still seemed blurry for a 16 mp camera. But maybe I just had my standards set too high. So I got on the laptop and did some research.

I found sample images for both the Canon Rebel T3i, and the Nikon D5100. The Rebel is an 18 mp camera, so I thought comparing the two was going to be an exercise in futility. However, the images showed that the Nikon took a much clearer image – for me. Let me explain.

I like taking photos of nature, especially close up shots as in macrophotography. This Nikon takes AMAZING macrophotos. Originally, I thought the Nikon took blurry images of landscapes (leaves and trees were especially blurry – or so it seemed). But when I compared the Nikon and Canon sample images that involved trees, the Nikon was by far the clearer camera.

I’m finally at peace with my decision.

After playing with this new Nikon for about a week now, I can saw I’m extremely happy with it. It can actually keep up with me, and the autofocus still works!

Just for shits and giggles, I compared two images of the same tree in my backyard, one from the old Nikon and one from the new one. I found  that the new Nikon images were indeed clearer. So it seems I got a defective camera initially.

I’ll leave you with a few shots from the new Nikon that I’m extremely proud of, but don’t forget that tomorrow, Janine is back with her third installment of the “Life as a WAHM” series!!!

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Getting Organized: Sam’s Homeschooling Binder

Yesterday, we worked on our financial binder.

Today’s post is geared toward the homeschooling mom. I created a homeschooling binder to keep track of all of Sam’s schoolwork so that if the superintendent ever decided she wanted to bang on my door and demand to know what I’m teaching my daughter, I can whip this bad boy out and say “all of this!”

I created a cute title page for the front of the notebook and even made a matching label for the binding. It actually looks pretty cool if I do say so myself.

I used a HUGE binder for her notebook. I’m not sure how big the rings are, but they’re way over three inches (I think).

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Getting Organized: Our Financial Binder

Yesterday, I showed you how to make your own blogging planner.

Today, I’m going to show you how to make a Financial binder to keep all of your bills, bank statements, and taxes organized. I got this idea from a blog post awhile back. I feel bad because I don’t remember who I got the idea from, but I admit the idea was not my own!

I used to have a small finances section in my home management binder, but unfortunately, I never used it. I’m just not a budget person. I know, weird right? As much as I love organization, you’d think I’d keep a meticulous budget. But sadly, no.

What I actually keep is all the billing statements I get and as I pay them, I write down the day, time, amount of payment and how it was paid (including confirmation numbers if there are any) on the statement itself. I used to file all of these statements in my file drawer, but I kinda ran outta room!

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Life as a WAHM Guest Post Series – Janine Huldie

Janine Huldie is our guest blogger for the month of March who will be contributing to the Life as a WAHM Series. I’m SOO excited that she was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to be a part of this series, and I know you’re going to thoroughly enjoy her insight to life as a WAHM. I’m hoping she’ll share all her secrets on how she gets everything done! She’s a amazing!

So, without further ado, here’s Janine!

How exactly did I become a Work at Home Mom (WAHM)? A valid question question that one may ask when reading my daily blog.

I think I need to start at the beginning. So for that, I have to talk a bit about me and my pre-mommy days. I was a certified middle school teacher, who lost her teaching position due to our lovely economy or the lack thereof during my second pregnancy with my daughter, Lily.

For those who don’t know me (and for those who do sorry if I am restating the obvious here), I am the mother of two little girls, who are 16 months apart. Yes, I know they are considered Irish Twins, but then again I referred to them as this in one of my early articles and an extended family member actually corrected me on Facebook by telling me they were only indeed Irish Twins if they are born in the same calendar year. So I stood corrected, but my actual response was quite simple in that what kind of lunatic has two kids born the same year if they aren’t in fact real twins or not Tori Spelling!!

Don’t get me wrong, I love being home with my kids, but after the 19th Nervous Breakdown of the day (and believe me folks) that is being generous it gets old. But back to crazy, because I do believe it is the word of the day over and over in our house.

However, back to how I began to work from home. It all happened rather quickly and on a lark. I get job notifications from Monster Jobs and I kept seeing a job posting for something called Hubpages. Finally, one day I clicked on the link. I took one look and thought this sounds intriguing and signed up. When I first started to write on Hubpages, it was more about my fun, but time consuming hobby of collecting charm bracelets, specifically Pandora and Trollbeads.

But then inadvertently, I began to publish articles that were on a bit more personal nature. One of them was actually born from the fact that my not quite 2 year old was already going through the “Terrible Twos” and throwing temper tantrums. I wrote how I dealt with her behavior and gave a few pointers for those possibly experiencing the same thing.

The article was an instant hit and I loved how sharing about what I truly knew best, my kids, made me feel like I was on top of the world. That is when I started to get the notion that maybe I could blog. I saw others doing this and sharing more about their personal, daily lives this way.

My blog was, thus, born with the notion of being a true sounding board for all the insanity in my daily life of being a mom and wife, too. Crazy is as crazy does, but then again I will ask this, have you ever had two little girls 16 months apart, who are obsessed with Cinderella and Disney Princesses to take care of all day long??

If you have then you may know where I am going with this, but if not hang on to your seats, because it is a bumpy ride, but I promise it is rewarding, too. And as the old saying of walking a mile in someone’s shoes goes, this one can totally apply here.

This is where my blog truly comes in, because I enjoy sharing these types of adventures and so much more on there. Not only do I love this, but it is truly satisfying to not only share, but find others who can relate a bit to my life.

So even though, my house is nuttier than a batch of peanut butter cookies,my kids are still mine and I love them with all my heart. And if you read my blog or new to it, you will quickly see that as sarcastic as I am about my kids and even my husband, just how much I do adore them and my life.

Thank you Melissa for letting me take over your blog for the first in this weekly series for the month of March. Join me next week, same place, same time, same bat channel for the next installment that will give you an idea of my daily life and work routine.

Again, thank you Janine for being so kind to share your story with us!

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Life as a WAHM Guest Post Series – Emma Coch Final Post

Time flies when you’re having fun! Unfortunately, Emma’s last post in this series has snuck up on me! Today she shares advice on some of the common pitfalls many new WAHMs fall into while trying to start their at-home business. I know I have fallen into a couple of these myself, so pay attention!!

I’d like to thank Emma for being my first guest blogger in this series. She has shared some VERY valuable insights and pearls of wisdom and I hope you all have enjoyed her posts as much as I have. So without further ado, here’s Emma:

Hello dear readers. Thank you for being polite enough to read my last guest posts on the lovely Melissa’s blog.

Totally Out of Energy

Being a WAHM is extremely tiring!

I have seriously struggled as to what my last post should be about, I really had to think hard about what it was I really had to impart to you. This after all is my last chance to say anything of worth to you guys, so I want to make it count. So here it is, the largest, most important message I could ever give someone who is starting out in a Work At Home Business.

When you start your new Work At Home Business, whether it is writing, making homemade preserves or something like making jewelry, you will be 100% ecstatic and nose to the grind stone. This is not all bad and you do have to put in much extra effort than any regular day job. You are trying to break through and make your way in a corner of the business world that is getting extremely busy, hard work and standing out are going to be one of few ways you will succeed. What you have to remember though is everything has to have a harmonious balance. The reason us WAHMs are unique is because we cannot simply just run a business and ignore everything else in our lives, we still have to have hold of the helm.

The typical mistake for most WAHMs including myself is trying to procrastinate in other areas of your life, only doing what you have to do, which by the way is still a big order to fill. Yes the children are still taken care of, you will either school them at home or get them to and from school, you will feed and clean them. What you may cut corners on is your share of cooking the meals, cleaning the home and doing the laundry.

If you have an understanding partner who wants to help you, you may be lucky enough to have help in the domestic chores but if that same person is also holding down a full time job, you may be giving them a rod with which to beat you later (metaphorically of course). With that in mind, accept help by all means. After all, you have been looking after children whilst working all day, so you are entitled to have them help with chores. Just make sure they don’t feel they are doing the Lion’s share or it will lead to a lot of resentment for your new career.

If you happen to have a partner that does nothing much in the way of helping you with the domestic chores, you will soon find jobs piling up on you, which will stress you out. The first thing to block your creative flow is stress.

But I am not a marriage counsellor, I am merely stating situations I have experienced and have known others to also experience whilst on this journey. Yet it will affect your work physically and psychologically if you let all other aspects of your life get out of control whilst you set your new business up.

How do I know what I am talking about? You guessed it, I did it! I ignored everything I could get away with doing until it was causing arguments and making my life harder. Stressing over the chores that needed doing meant I was blanking out during my work hours, the guilt surging through me. No matter what I was busying myself with, I felt I should be doing something else. I was being ripped in to mental segments and fulfilling absolutely nothing really. I then suffered from what is known in the industry as “burnout.” I had to step back from work and concentrate on my kids, housework and just rest a bit, which put my business back worse than if I had been more organized and stuck to regimented work hours.

If you want some great tips, just search through the pages of information Melissa has here, as she has already written a great post about how to organize your work life.

I wish you all the best in setting yourself up or with businesses you have already started. Thank you also to Melissa for hosting my guest blogs, you really are a superstar.

Emma

Again, I’d like to thank Emma for being kind enough to be a guest blogger here at Mommy Writings, and for sharing her story with us. Her blog can be found at 3 is Family Advice. If you missed her first three posts, they can be found here, here and here.

Tomorrow, will be Janine’s first post. She’s a fantastic blogger from Janine’s Confessions of a Mommy-a-holic and will be our featured guest poster for the month!

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Characteristics of a Successful WAHM – Flexibility

You know, I had no idea what I was going to put  in this post until I sat down to write it. Today was the craziest day I’ve had in a long time, and unfortunately, it wasn’t work related.

My mother is crazy. In fact, she’s a crazy bitch to put it bluntly. She’s so bad that I wrote an article on Hubpages that has become my most popular hub! If you want some background on her, I suggest you read that article. This post would be way too long and way off topic for me to explain it here.

However, I will say that she was a very controlling helicopter parent. I had no freedom, and apparently I still don’t.

My mother called my landlord this morning and told her some really crazy shit. It was so insane that my landlord came over to our home and pounded on the door in her bathrobe!!

My mom told her that we had lived in Texas and skipped out on our landlord there. She also said we owed this fictitious person $3,000 and ended up in court over it.

REALLY?? Continue reading