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What to take on a trip with children, so that the suitcase is not overloaded?

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Work-at-home mothers do not equate to being isolated. Well, slightly yes :)

But being able to connect with people is still very possible. There are the various social networking sites and messengers providing voice, chat and video connections. All of these, I have utilized when I started working from home.

So aside from my current friends, I have been able to gain “online” friends too.

One of them is Stef Gonzaga. I found Stef while searching for tips about freelancing.

She’s a copywriter and blogger and a very good one at that! She describes herself as a writer by heart and soul and I believe she is. Her writing clearly shows how passionate and skilled she is with her craft.

Because she’s also a work-at-home mother and one who is generous in sharing the tricks of the trade in freelancing, I thought of asking her some questions on how she became a WAHM and how her life goes as a work-at-home mom.

And she enthusiastically answered my questions. Thank you Stef!

If you are thinking of how you can become a WAHM like us, I’m pretty sure her answers would give you useful insights on the first steps you can also take to have the same career and life path.

Here they are...

How long have you been a WAHM or WAHD?

March 11, 2010 to be exact—the day my daughter Holly Gillian was born. I began freelancing in August 2008 but only got to enjoy the joys and challenges of freelancing with a kid by my side two years after. Man, has it been that long?

What was your profession and/or what other things were you busy with prior to working at home? How long were you in that profession and were you happy doing that job?

Before becoming a freelance writer, I was (and still am) a university student working towards a bachelor’s degree. I was a Communication Arts student before shifting to Literature.

In short, I’ve never worked full-time as a 9-5 employee. And I don’t plan to become one anytime soon.

What made you decide to become a WAHM/WAHD?

I chose to work from the comforts of my home because of the convenience and the endless possibilities of remote work. I don’t have to worry about getting up in the morning or taking an hour-long ride to the workplace. All that I have to think about is getting up, sitting down at my computer, and beating my deadlines. Likewise, immersing myself in today’s technology—the tools and innovations of the trade—is a pleasure in itself for me.

Of course, being able to work and tend to my children’s needs whenever they need me also played into the decision. What more could a mom and a solo professional ask for? Each day is always a surprise, whether or not I’m able to slash off items from my to-do list.

What were the first steps you took to be able to work at home?

I landed my first “job” as a freelance writer by searching online. Jobstreet.com.ph led me to an ad to become a work-at-home writer for a Philippine-based content development company with a minimum age limit at 16 years old. In truth, it was the latter that pushed me to give it a shot.

Was your family happy/supportive of the decision you made?

Definitely. They were especially amazed that I was able to work and earn almost as much as a regular employee without needing to leave the house for it.

What were the changes (financial/emotional/social) you made to stick to working at home?

Between us two, it was my husband who made the big decisions to work from home. He quit his full-time job as a programmer at a Makati-based company and decided to join the oDesk bandwagon with me as a freelance web developer.

What’s the best attitude do you think a WAHM/WAHD should have?

To be a successful WAHM/WAHD both financially and emotionally, one should have self-discipline and self-motivation, especially if you need to work on your time management skills and productivity. And while dedicating yourself to your work as a freelancer is good, it’s very important to take care of one’s self.

As a freelancer and a parent, your body and mind are your biggest and most important assets. If you’re down with a cold, fever, or are simply worn out by fatigue, you won’t be able to take care of your children or your clients. So, take some time to stand up, stretch, exercise, and get a good night’s rest.

For you, what’s the greatest benefit of being a WAHM/WAHD?

It’s being able to work towards achieving your financial goals while being there of your children every step of the way. Life becomes much more fulfilling when you’re able to achieve that work-life balance.

What’s the biggest challenge you faced as a WAHM/WAHD?

In my case, I constantly deal with three big challenges: setting and recognizing priorities, sacrificing certain commitments and personal leisure for the sake of the family, and finding time to sit down to work when your kids constantly want your attention. I now have a 2.6-year old little girl and a month-old baby boy, and both kids are quite demanding that there are days when I just can’t sit and focus on work even for just ten minutes.

Now that you’re a WAHM/WAHD, what’s your typical day like?

Busy, busy, busy. With two kids, freelance work usually begins mid-afternoon or between 7PM and 9PM when the two are fast asleep. If I’m too tired from mommy duties, I’d try to wake up extra early the next day to get rid of the backlogs (usually around 4-5AM).

What (or where) is the best way to get a work-at-home-job?

For Pinoy freelancers, the best place is a freelancing marketplace/job board like oDesk or eLance. Philippine-based companies and corporations have yet to recognize the benefits of hiring a freelance professional. To add to that, you have word-of-mouth referrals, marketing, and networking with other freelancers.

Any special reminders to wannabe WAHMs or WAHDs out there?

Work hard, keep your priorities close to you, and never lose sight of what’s most important: your family.

There you go...

Wasn’t she great?!

I hope you learned a thing or two from this interview. As a work-at-home mother, I find meeting and connecting with people like Stef inspiring and encouraging. I get to build a friendship and learn from her professional experiences as well. She’s had a lot even at a young age.

Visit her site at The Freelance Pinoy and I’m pretty sure you will agree with me that it is a site full of treasures…for freelancers and wannabe work-at-home mothers :)

Did this post spark your desire more to work from home? Let me know in the comments below :)

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