Mama, think for a minute. What are you passionate about? Maybe it’s a hobby, or a skill, or a topic. It might be something you enjoyed pre-kids, or something you recently discovered that piqued your interest. When was the last time you did something related to that? Worked on that hobby or brushed up on that skill? Learned more about that topic and talked with others who felt the same way? Carved out time for yourself to “fill your own cup”?
The Stay-at-Home-Mom meets the side hustle.
I’m sure you’ve seen the hashtags. You might even know moms who proudly declare that they are a #sidehustlin, #momboss #mompreneur. These ladies have found something they are passionate about and have also found a way to work with others on it. But why would they pick up a side hustle and make their lives even busier?
Many of the moms I’ve met made the choice to leave their career to be home with their kids. It’s not an easy choice to make. Before I had children, I taught elementary school. After having our first daughter, my husband and I decided I’d become a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) after that school year ended. The transition was tough. After a few months of being home, I still found myself feeling like I didn’t have both feet planted firmly on the ground. Something was missing, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
Enter: the side hustle.
I knew the basics of knitting, and I decided to open an Etsy shop selling handmade goods. I started knitting baby headbands, and my shop has grown over the last year to include blankets and hand-lettered chalkboards. It’s something I am passionate about, and I enjoy learning more about running my own small business. A side hustle can be of great benefit to a SAHM, like me, for a number of reasons.
I am able to contribute financially (even if just minimally) to our family.
My salary as a classroom teacher never seemed like much, but when I became a SAHM and my paychecks stopped hitting that direct deposit, it was more noticeable than ever. This was something I really struggled with when I started staying home with our first daughter. I felt guilty being the parent who was home with the kids while my partner worked a salaried position. The whole reason I started my little side hustle business was so that I could contribute financially to our family. But, it has turned into so much more than that.
I can stay present while thinking about the future.
The thing about a side hustle is just that: it’s on the side. A side hustle could be a part time job or a small shop you run out of your home. You might work only mornings or just a few evenings per week. But who’s to say that it has to stay on the side forever? Right now I can only work on my craft business at naptime and after my kids go to bed. Maybe eventually I won’t return to the classroom to teach when my children are school-aged. Maybe my side hustle will turn into a full-time opportunity where I’m doing what I love on my own terms. It’s OK to remain a SAHM or not return to your previous career. It’s also OK to still want something more, and a side hustle might be the starting point to an even more exciting future.
I get to follow my passions.
It is easy to lose yourself in motherhood, especially when you are home all day with little humans who depend on you for their every need. Sure, I can change a diaper in record time while warming up a bottle… but did you know that I can also crochet a blanket? I love being with my children, but I also love sitting during naptime and finally figuring out a challenging crochet pattern. There is no reason why I can’t continue to learn and grow in ways other than what society says SAHMs should do. Each time a SAHM works on her side hustle, she is filling her own cup. She is learning more, she is empowering other women (probably without even realizing it!), and she is carving out time in her day to focus on something she is passionate about.
It allows me to take time for myself for once.
I spend the majority of my day changing diapers, feeding a toddler and newborn, and remembering to let the dog out. Have I changed my shirt since the baby spit up on me this morning? Can I use dry shampoo for one more day? My needs honestly come last. Having a side hustle has granted me the gift of time for myself. Once naptime hits, I head down to the basement, baby monitors in-hand, and focus on something that is 100% for myself. Some SAHMs with side hustles may wake up before the sun rises to get some time in, and others may wait until after their sweet little ones are in bed. Regardless of when in the day it’s happening, these women are finding time in their day and devoting it to working on something that is first and foremost for themselves.
So, the next time you’re scrollin’ your Facebook feed and you catch a #sidehustle out of the corner of your eye, remember the mom who’s behind it, and her reasons why. Chances are it’s a SAHM who’s on her second cup of coffee and soaking up a few minutes of that sweet time to focus on something for herself.