3 WAHM Lessons to Help You Grow a Home Based Business and a Family

WAHM, work at home mom, and mompreneur lessons I learned in 2010Is it possible to find balance in a life as a WAHM, work at home mom or mompreneur, who is building a home based business while raising three kids?  Not exactly, but that’s what makes it so, a-hem, exhilarating!

If you don’t have kids or you’re a guy, please keep reading.   While this post is written from the perspective of a WAHM, I promise to share golden nuggets and lessons that can apply to everyone working from home.

I’m writing a series of post about the things I’ve learned in 2010 in the areas that I believe will help my readers; mindset, marketing, motherhood, and money.  Today, obviously we’re talking about motherhood and let me tell you, this year has been the mother of all challenges for me in this department.

I’m raising a tweenager, a nine year old, and a three year old, while building a home based business, a blog, working as a VA, and of course, being a wife and home maker.

I could be considered a veteran in the field of being a work at home mom.  Aside from a few months working as an interior designer when my oldest daughter was 2, I’ve been working with my 3 babies bouncing in their infant seats, our bouncing off the walls for the last 12+ years.  But, I had no idea what I was in-for when I decided to add blogging to my WAHM – mompreneur, life this past summer.

I’ve learned a lot about myself, a lot about my kids, and discovered a lot of things that don’t work, for me.  But there is magic in knowing what doesn’t work, because it leads you to what does work…eventually!  Right?

3 WAHM Lessons I learned in 2010

There are three big WAHM lessons that stand out for me this year:

WAHM Lesson #1: There is enough time to do the important things.

The biggest lesson I learned this year is that if I don’t put myself first, I’ll never have time for what I need to do.

I procrastinated getting my business started online because I didn’t feel like I had the time to do it. I was running around like every busy mom, and I had no idea how I would squeeze in time to work on building my home based business online.  But, I’ve learned that that’s “head talk” and I was ignoring the “heart talk” going on inside of me.

A conversation with my grandma helped me to see what was right in front of me. If you recall from my post on mindset, that I made a list to help me shift from being burned out in my business to being on fire and passionate about it.

While making that list, I remembered the conversation I had with my grandma when I was totally overwhelmed after finding out I was pregnant (surprise!) with my son.  I told her that I didn’t know how I was going to do it?  I was, “so out of time,” already that I didn’t know how was I going to squeeze in the needs of another baby?

She simply, and very calmly asked me, how much time the girls took up?  I replied “All of it!” in a sassy voice that no-one should use in front of their Grandma.  She hugged me and then told me then I had nothing to worry about.  If the girls took up all my time, then what difference would a new baby make?  She said that like the love in my heart, my time would expand to include all the important things, and the unimportant things would just fall off the list.

I’ve learned that the same lesson goes for squeezing in the time to build my business online.  When I decided I was going to commit to doing it, and a found a way to establish some mompreneur routines,  I realized that there was plenty of time to take care of the important things, and the unimportant ones, just seemed to disappear.  The key was that I had to make my home based business and online marketing part of the important things!

WAHM Lesson #2: Make your kids your why, not your reason why not to focus on your business.

Our kids, jobs, housework, friends, etc. are naturally good at keeping us from focusing on our businesses.  They’re masters at persuasion and at getting us to procrastinate on the things we know we should be doing.

Now, don’t get angry with me and think that I’m saying that our kids aren’t important; of course they are!  But they can drain our time faster than anything if we let them. We have to remember that we’re the moms!  We know what’s best, and if being a work at home mom is what is best for your family in the long run, then obviously you need time to work.

For the dads and people building a business while working a full time job, please listen up!  It’s common that the very reason (your why) you are building your business, is the thing you have to give up in order to build it.  If you want to create more free time with your home based business, then you’re going to have to give up your free time now in order to have lots of it later.  Make yourself and your business a priority.  Don’t let your job, favorite TV shows, or other commitments keep you from doing what you know is best for you!

WAHM Lesson #3: Learn to embrace a belief that life doesn’t have to be perfect!

The perfect mom, the perfect home, the perfect kids.  We are hit with messages that we should be striving for perfectionism from every angle.  My goodness, even my toothpaste tube reminds me that my teeth aren’t white enough 2 times a day!

Being home all day as a WAHM, tends to make a lot of moms think that we should be living lives like June Cleaver.  And secretly, I sometimes wonder if WAHM means, We’re Always Helper Moms because I get asked to volunteer for everything.

I was always striving to uphold the image of the perfect mompreneur lifestyle, and saying “no” to things I was asked to do was very hard.  I learned this year that even though I’m a work at home mom, I still work, and it’s perfectly okay to gracefully decline from making 7 costumes for a ballet recital!

I also learned to apply this anti-perfectionism to my business and my home.  I could spend all day writing one blog post if I let myself, but I have to set a timer and just get it done.  I could procrastinate doing anything in my home based business because the laundry needs to get done, and there are tumble-weed sized clumps of dog hair under the dresser in the entryway.

Do you put off doing something in your home based business or online marketing because you don’t feel like you can do it “right?”  Stop that!  Something done imperfectly is so much better than the most perfect intention.  Embrace the belief that being imperfect is fun.

There are many other big WAHM lessons that I’ve learned this year, but these three are the big ones that stand out for me, and the issues I see my readers, subscribers, and other mompreneurs dealing with as well.  Tomorrow, I’ll share with you the big lessons I learned this year surrounding money, my home based business, and online marketing.

If you’ve not yet read my previous posts on home based business mindset lessons, and home based business marketing lessons, go check them out!  🙂

I would love to hear what you think!  Please share the lessons you’ve learned about balancing your home based business with your life, family, job, etc. in the comments below.  Also, I’d be very grateful if you’d share this post in social media with others who are WAHM and Mompreneurs!


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  1. Hi Heather,

    Thanks for recounting your experience.

    I don’t have a family but have often been asked how do I still have a “life” while dedicating myself to growing my home based opportunity.

    My answer? I prioritize. I stop engaging in activities that aren’t goal-achieving and stick to doing things that better my now, which in turn betters my future.

    Each moment we choose to do something and we all have access to the same 24 hours each day. Make high energy choices and you will live a high energy life.


    • Heather Stephens says:

      Hi Ryan,

      I’m going through some of my posts from the holidays and trying to get caught up on the comments that people left.

      There is a lot of power in your statement about all of us having 24 hours in a day and it’s about choosing in the moment what is going to get us closer to our goals or take us farther away from them.

      I love the book the slight edge for that lesson it drilled into my mind.

      Great comment…thanks for sharing it!

      Happy New Year if I haven’t wished it to you already.


  2. Hi Heather,

    Wow, well said! I can so relate to this post and the lessons you’re sharing.

    The biggest challenge for me, is not putting myself first. I would get so busy with the business, get the house tidy and taking care of the kids, then I end up with no “me time” at all.

    I’m slowly working on getting this right and maintaining the right balance. Can you believe that I shut my computer for two full days last weekend! So proud of myself and I so enjoyed the break!

    Things are going to change in terms of how I run things in 2011 and beyond!

    Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement.

    All the best,

    • Heather Stephens says:

      Mavis, I think with a new baby this year, you’re experiencing what most moms feel.

      Great for you for shutting off the computer this past weekend. I’m focusing on doing the same thing. I try very hard to stay off the computer on the weekends so we can have quality family time and I can get a break. After all, that’s what this business is supposed to give us!

      I recommend taking one new habit that you want to embrace and working on it for a month. That works best for me because my kids can get on board with it, and they don’t feel like their whole world is turning upside down. Then the next month I add in something else. It helps me too, because the thing I’m trying to do becomes a habit.

      I’m glad you feel encouraged. You’re an amazing lady and you’ve done some awesome things this year!

      Way to go, Mavis! Take care of you…it makes us better moms! 🙂


  3. Oh how I loved reading this post. I speak to so many moms that never put themselves on their “to do” list. That is one thing that I always held on to tightly. I just spoke with one of my business partners about this. I told her that you can’t get water from an empty well. If we don’t make time for ourselves then we are doing a disservice to everyone we serve.

    On the point about time…there is enough time to do anything we want to within a 24 hour period!

    Thanks for reminding us about the importance of embracing ourselves and letting go of the myth of perfection 🙂

    • Heather Stephens says:


      I’m so glad you liked this post! 🙂 It was from the heart and I’ve really truly come to embrace this myself this year.

      We make many sacrifices as moms, in order to give to our families and there comes a point where we’ll end up running out of energy, patience, and kindness. When we’re not taking care of ourselves we’re snippy and short tempered.

      That only ends up destroying all the sacrifices we’ve made trying to pour love and guidance into our kids.

      And when it comes to our business, I think teaching our kids that it is okay to set boundaries, to take care of themselves, and to work in an area that they’re passionate about, is empowering to them as they will all-to-soon become adults and will have to make their own choices in this world.

      Thanks so much for your comment, Golda!

      Happy New Year!

  4. Hey Heather.. I’m not a Dad yet, but I don’t have to be one to resonate with #3 – that is so true.

    We often feel like everything has to be just right before we move into other things (our goals). We feel like if it ain’t perfect, it ain’t done yet – at that is a very dangerous roadblock to hit.

    I tend to lie to myself that I’m being productive by tweaking the small things, but am I really? Do I really need to remove every SINGLE “umm” from my podcast? Do I really need to keep moving stuff around the blog to see if it looks better? Not really, I can be doing more productive things.

    But those things are harder to do. Those things take a lot of effort, but they also give you the biggest reward. Heather, I think you just made me change the topic for Episode #5 of the podcast. I’ll save the one I had for another time. Talking about this is a great way to start a new year.


    • Heather Stephens says:

      I can’t wait to listen to the podcast, Hector. I’ve truly enjoyed them all. (Have I listened to number 4? Things have been crazy busy with the holidays, so possibly not. I’ll have to go check it out and see!)

      I know that we can all tweak ourselves out of time with our blog posts, videos, and podcasts. I don’t mind a few um’s. It’s how we talk in real life!

      Sure, we could be professional speakers who never have to pause and find the right word, but that would be too polished and I think might lose some of the trust and connection that people feel with us.

      The goal is to empower others to take action and when we seem like we’re so “on the ball” and perfect in our presentations, writing, etc. then it makes people feel like they could never do it too.

      I love listening to audios and videos where people are real and I know they’re not edited. (Kind of like looking a photographs of real people vs. airbrushed models. Don’t you feel more of a connection with people who have a few wrinkles around their eyes when they smile?)

      Thanks for the interesting comment, Hector! 🙂 I love it when you stop by and share your thoughts!

      Happy New Year!

  5. Hi Heather… A heart warming post indeed! I love how you put your words and it and the lessons you shared is quiet the reality at all… Thanks a lot for sharing this… Keep it up!

    • Heather Stephens says:

      Thanks very much, Zutchelli! I appreciate the compliment!

      Please stop by again soon!

  6. I feel like that post was directed at me! You are reading my mind and thank you for the great post!

    I am also a WAHM and suffer from all of the above. It was a relief to hear you say it’s ok not to be perfect. I feel like everytime I post something it has to be perfect and wish I would just go with my gut feeling. It never seems to fail me, but I always let my head take over.

    I hold back all of the time and feel guilty that I’m working out of the home. Am I spending enough time with the kids? Is the housework getting done? Is dinner started yet?

    I have learned a lot over the past year as well and you just validated it all for me. So, thank you and I will be following you on your blog and looking forward to what you have to offer in the future!

    A thankful WAHM,
    Jamie Straatsma

    • Heather Stephens says:

      Hi Jamie,

      I’m getting caught up on comments from my posts over the holidays, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much your comment meant to me when I first read it and now when I read it again.

      Thank you…knowing that I was speaking your language makes me feel like what I’m doing on my blog is worth it. I think as mothers we always have guilt about our homes not being perfect and not spending every second with our kids.

      I know it’s going to be challenging at times in my life to find a balance. Just like feeling behind on answering all the awesome comments that came in over the holidays. But I’m trying to be gentle on myself in areas like this, and remember that life is like the tide. I just need to learn to go with the flow and not be so hard on myself. Overall, my kids are loved, warm, fed, and cared for, and my business is growing. We have clean dishes to eat off of, even if there are dirty ones in the sink…and life is way more good than bad. I’m sure it is the same for you too.

      Thank you for your sweet and awesome comment! Another thankful WAHM,


      p.s. I’d love you to join my prove it challenge if you’re interested! http://clevermarketer.com/prove-it-challenge-2011.html

  7. I just found your blog from a link on another site and I’m looking forward to reading more.
    I loved the post. I have two children 4 and 2yrs, and although the eldest started school this year, still trying to find the balance between
    working for clients
    carrying work out on my own site and blog.

    • Heather Stephens says:

      Hi Pippa,

      I’m glad you discovered my blog! 🙂 I know that every time my kids have entered a new stage, like school, sports, activities, etc. I’ve had to find my balance again and to be totally honest, I’m never really balanced. I strive to not be too out of balance that things come tumbling down around me, but I can’t say that I always feel on top of everything in my life. 🙂

      Good luck and thank you so much for your sweet comment!


  8. Hello Heather,
    I loved this post and it was so helpful. I also loved what your Grandma told you. My Grandmother told me something very similar years ago when my family was growing. It is amazing what moms can get done in a day!

    You have a fabulous blog her and I look forward to following your blog closer.

    Mary Thayer

    • Heather Stephens says:

      Hi Mary,

      Welcome! 🙂 I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. Grandmas are amazing aren’t they? I adore mine…and in fact I’m going to go call her and tell her so after I’m done replying to you.

      I’m looking forward to getting to know you…by the sounds of your comment luv link, we’ll get along great! I’ll be over to your blog soon…after I call my grandma!

      Thanks so much, for your sweet comment.


  9. Oh, and I always thought that there is no enough time to do everything. You hit me on that, yeah, the time is always there and it is enough to do the all important part.

  10. Hi Heather! This spoke right to my heart! I am a WAHM just starting out with blogging and social media. I am so grateful I found your site! You truly are an inspiration to people like me. Thank you for sharing!


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