I’ve been a work-at-home mom and wife for more than a decade. Within the last year I’ve also become a single mom. In that time I’ve had many experiences with friends and family and most were unfavorable. Some were envious, while some just didn’t understand that I was busy working and it often lead to feeling isolated from my friends and family (or annoyed).
My mother-in-law was the worst offender of just not getting it. On many occasions she made comments about getting a “real job” and not playing house. I left the corporate world to be home with my last child. As much as I love being a mom, I was going crazy. I wasn’t used to not working or having my own money that I earned.
My husband quickly became annoyed that I was online so much because naturally, it took time to build up my income. If everyone could get online and instantly get rich, wouldn’t most everyone jump at the chance? It took time and hard work but I now make more money than him and good thing since I went back to being single. There did come a time though, taht rather than being annoyed that I was online so much, he encouraged me to go work.
The problem is, by this time I was just annoyed with everyone around me and tired and the end result was that I started feeling isolated from my friends and family and even my husband. The mother-in-law still does not get it – even though the bills are paid – so I gave up wanting or needing her to understand. That’s another story entirely.
It took me a few months to realize that I became isolated from everyone around me. Making money is supposed to be a good thing, right? Below are a few tips that helped me to gain some perspective as well as not feel so isolated.
Find a blog or a forum that interests you and encompasses the type of work/business you do. Talking with other moms (and dads) can be a sanity saver! There is truth to the old adage, “It’s all about the people you know.” Get to know the people in your industry and follow what they are talking about. In doing so, you will have access to several more people whom you already have common ground with. Twitter can be particularly helpful in meeting people.
Attend a Conference
Take networking to the next step and find a conference to attend. The networking that occurs at conferences during sessions as well as after-hours – when everyone is relaxed and sharing – is priceless. Before you say you can’t afford it truly weigh the pros and cons against the type of business you have or the work you do. The friends and acquaintances you meet can lead to work and joint ventures down the road. The NAMS Conference is this weekend and I’m missing it. I hope to make the next one.
Break it down so you it feels doable and not overwhelming – cheap flights are readily available. Food is typically included during the conference. Finding a roommate is usually easy because everyone wants to cut corners when traveling and not much time is spent in the room anyway. I’ve attended my fair share of Web master conferences and they were worth every minute spent.
As a freelance writer I’ve gained many a writing client after attending a conference and handing out business cards. Most importantly, I have made lifelong friends and business acquaintances.
Local Groups & Gatherings
Check your local area to see if there are any groups you can join – a general group on small business can be just as helpful as a group that is specific to your business type. If you can’t find one, consider starting one yourself. I have two groups that I go to monthly in my area – one is on affiliate marketing the other is on writing. Take the time to research and you will be surprised what you find now that you are looking for it and trying to escape the isolation rather than hide inside your laptop!
So there you have it, tips for avoiding work-at-home isolation. Most moms have been through it at some point and can relate. Find those moms and share your stories, tips and hopefully gain a friend in the process.
Chrissie Cole is a freelance writer for various blogs, including Speedy Incorporation Service, which helps new small business owners incorporate online as well as offering advice and information about running their new business successfully via their small business tips blog. Follow Chrissie on Twitter.