‘Best Stay at Home Mom Job?' 5 Tips from a Work-at-Home Mom
Tips by Teacher Jade (stay at home mom).
When my daughter was born 6 months ago I was faced with the decision that many working mothers are faced with – go back to work and put almost my whole paycheck towards daycare costs or quit my job and stay at home?
While the decision was not an easy one, I chose to quit my job and become a stay-at-home mom. Although it was rewarding to be able to watch my daughter grow and learn every day, children do cost money! The financial strain of going from 2 incomes to 1 was more than I had anticipated.
This is how I found myself in an intense search for the perfect work-from-home job.
This was when I discovered teach from home jobs; the absolute perfect job for stay-at-home parents. I am able to work at home when my daughter is asleep and be with her during the day! Also, while we like to pretend that money doesn’t matter, it matters very much when you’re a parent. I feel like I have somehow cheated the system to be able to stay at home and help provide an income for my family!
1. Build your work schedule around your child’s schedule.
A flexible work at home mom!
I chose my work hours during times that my daughter is asleep or that my husband is home to watch her. I work some mornings and some nights and then my days are free! For those of you with school-aged children, your best work hours may be mornings after you drop your kids off at school. Whatever your ideal schedule, just make sure that during your work hours you will be able to focus on just being “Teacher!” You will be so much more relaxed and focused if you don’t have to worry about your kids popping in while you’re teaching!
2. Organize Your Workspace
Be organised in your stay at home mom job
Nothing makes me feel worse than a messy desk. When my online teaching tools (flash cards, puppets, whiteboard/pens, stickers, etc.) are scattered and messy it makes my brain feel scattered and messy! Figure out an organizational method that works for you so that everything has its place and you’re not stuck awkwardly searching for something during class! I use desk organizers and a 3 drawer cart to store everything right where I can see it and grab it quickly. The best thing about being both a parent of young children and an online teacher is that many of your kids’ books and toys can double as teaching props (that is, if your kids will let you borrow them!).
3. Get out of the house!
Don't get lost in your new stay at home mom job
One of the best things about working online teaching jobs is that my daytime hours are free to do whatever I want! When you are both a stay-at-home mom AND work-at-home mom, you may start to feel like all you ever see are the 4 walls of your house. To avoid burnout, make a point to get out of the house every day (or at least most days)! Go to the park, go to storytime at your local library, or just go for a walk around your neighborhood. Your body, mind, and your kids will thank you!
4. Carve out some time for yourself.
You're not just a working stay at home mom!
Wearing so many hats can be exhausting. You have to make sure to take time to just be “you!” Try to take time for yourself at least once a week. Do you have a hobby? Make sure not to let it get lost in the chaos. I know it’s easier said than done, but take time for your hobby. Go to the gym. Grab a coffee with a friend. Go see a movie. Whatever it is that relaxes you and reminds you that you are not just a parent and you’re not just a teacher – you are still you.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
It's a busy life for a stay at home mom with a job
As much as we try, we can’t do it all ourselves! Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Whether you need extra help around the house from your spouse or partner, choose to hire professional cleaners, ask your mother-in-law to babysit occasionally, or even hire a nanny during your work hours – do not feel guilty! We all need a hand sometimes and no one can do it all.
These 5 things have really helped me find balance between being a stay-at-home mom and a work-at-home mom, and I hope that they help you as well!
5 Tips for Moms Looking to Work from Home as an Online Teacher
Tips by Teacher Catherine (stay at home mom).
Becoming an online teacher and having the ability to work from home has changed my life. Instead of spending 11 hours a day away from my children, I teach for around 3-4 hours a day with the remainder of my time focused solely on them.
Many mums aren't aware of the options available to them to be able to work from home. Choosing to become an online teacher is a fantastic source of income. You aren't having to pay for fuel costs. Say bye bye to those long commutes twice a day. Plus, you no longer need to pay high childcare fees, which can actually end up taking most of your full time wage, especially if you have more than one child.
Depending upon your availability, experience and qualifications, you can replace a full time income as an online teacher. Personally, I am a trained Primary school teacher in the UK. As an example, if I returned back to work full time, I would only come out with £200 a month after childcare costs (based on two children). Whereas, as an online teacher, to date, I have earned £1450 in my best month with a full schedule booked, working approximately 22-25 hours per week.
(Important note – these figures were before the changes to Chinese platforms which made earning this amount less attainable – you can read more about this in the non-Chinese online ESL companies post).
If you are interest in working from home as an online teacher, here are my top tips to help you maximize your earning potential:
Some companies hiring online teachers focus on teaching ESL to Chinese students such as PalFish. Their peak hours (aka most busiest times) are focused on when students have finished their day school and are at home on the evenings or weekends. Peak times for most companies are between 6-9pm Monday to Friday and 8am-9pm at weekends (Beijing Time / BJT).
With this in mind, check your time zone in comparison with BJT. You can do that here.
Select your time zone and Beijing so that you know how far ahead or behind you are and whether you can realistically work those times. Being able to work peak hours increases your chance of bookings and pay.
Now check your schedule, how many hours a day you want to work, which days of the week and would you like a fixed or flexible schedule. By establishing your availability first, will help when choosing which companies to apply for.
*Not every online ESL company focuses on just Chinese students or only has Beijing Peak hours available. This is just an overview, focusing on the majority of companies. There is also a very high demand for learning English in China, hence most earning potentials and work can be found in this market.
Not every company will require you to have a degree and you certainly do not need to have been a classroom teacher to be able to teach online.
BUT, if you are applying for companies with Chinese students, the Chinese government have recently changed its guidelines for online teachers. You do require a teaching certificate in order to become an online teacher such as a TESOL certificate.
Do not worry though, you can gain an online TEFL certificate quite easily and pretty cheaply. They don't all take you weeks to complete, some only a few hours of your time. Generally, the assessments are in the form of multiple choice questions. Here is a cheap TESOL certification course to get you started with meeting the requirements to become an online teacher:
Above I mentioned that I am a trained Primary school teacher. However, this does not mean that if you are not a teacher or have had no teaching experience, you cannot apply to become an online teacher.
The fantastic part of online teaching, is that it is pretty much accessible to everyone, especially moms! Us moms have so much experience of teaching our children from the ABCs, colours, counting, animals etc. We have experience making animal sounds, asking basic questions, managing excitement and boredom. All of these skills apply when teaching online.
You will teach a range of ages and abilities in your career as an online teacher, but many of the children are very young with little to no English. So the majority of lessons are focused on those beginning words your own children will have learnt. Here are some beginner topics I have taught:
- Counting 1-5 and 1-10
- Pets – dog, cat, bird, rabbit and fish
- Farm animals – horse, sheep, pig, duck, hen and cow
- Fruit – apple, banana, orange
- Colours – red, orange, blue, green
- You also have more experience as a mum than you realise which can help you to become an online teacher:
- Time management – the ability to attend appointments with your children, arriving on time to work after morning school run, children's after school activities
- Organisation – managing housework, dinners, school drop off and pick ups, own workload
- Education – supporting children with homework
- Creative – fun activities for your children to learn e.g. painting ABCs, colour matching objects around the house, playing animal SNAP and naming each card
- Patient – I think this one speaks for itself and an incredible skills all mums possess.
4) Working around your kids
This is a very personal one as it depends upon your own children and their level of needs. Being an online teacher, you are working from home around your family. It is really important to have an area that you can work with minimal disturbances. You are still a professional teacher and whilst teaching your attention must be focused on your students, not your own children.
This can become difficult and as I mentioned is a personal factor. Being based in the UK, my peak work times are in the middle of the day whilst my children are up and playing. My children are also very young so do not attend school whilst I work. Thankfully, my husband is able to watch them, saving childcare costs. If you live in the states, your hours might be first thing in the morning or at night when your children are in bed, so this might work well for you.
If your children are older, they might be able to independently read, or complete their homework during your teaching time. Relating back to your schedule and company requirements, you may be able to manage your teaching so that you have a break between classes to be able to check on your children and their needs. If your children are very young, you may also consider the best baby monitors for online teachers.
5) Choosing the company
Sometimes, choosing the right company can take time, especially if you are new to online teaching. It may take you a few experiences before you find the right company for you and it is definitely worth researching first.
Initially, there are a few things you need to consider to help your narrow down your search:
- Do you want to teach only adults or children?
- Are you looking to only teach via audio and not video?
- What is the companies minimum requirements of hours?
- Is your schedule fixed or flexible (aka can you change your schedule every week)?
- Do they require a degree or just TEFL?
- Are they only hiring native English speakers?
- Do they teach one student at a time or whole classes?
- How often and by what method are payments made?
These are just a few considerations to make when choosing a company to apply for an online teacher position. You can find all of this information on the online teaching FAQ.
I highly recommend applying to a number of companies and managing your schedule so that you can work with more than one. Working with multiple companies enables you to diversify your income, gain even more experience and provides you with a back up option in case something happens to one of the companies. It also helps to cover you with more work if one company is going through a quieter period.
Finding the Company for You
Personally, I manage my schedule with 4 different online teaching companies. Two of these are fixed, contracted hours which I am required to attend every week. Two of them are extremely flexible, where I open and close my own availability every week.
Here are some examples of platforms currently hiring:
If you are looking to work from home, becoming an online teacher is such a fun and rewarding opportunity. Not only does it provide you with an income each month, but many companies give you the chance to grow and take on additional roles alongside your teaching, such as training, interviewing and mentoring. The industry continues to grow, with more companies launching and expanding. It is an exciting career option to be able to be present with your children as an online teacher.
How To Balance Teaching Online While Being Pregnant
Tips by Teacher Breanna (stay at home mom).
Most people just love the idea of working at home. I of course, am one of those people. Working at home teaching online gives the flexibility, and great hours, and being able to have the comfort of teaching in your home office (or other spaces for you digital nomads!)
But what happens when your teaching circumstances becomes er- less than ideal?
What am I talking about? Trying to teach when pregnant.
Granted, working online is much easier than working a physical 9-5, however, there are still many challenges that present themselves when pregnant.
What kind of challenges?
How about the constant peeing, the backaches, and the endless fatigue? Sounds like you? Here are some tips to balance teaching with pregnancy symptoms!
How to Survive Teaching while Pregnant…
Limit your Caffeine
Many many teachers, even ones who aren’t pregnant suggest this but try and limit your caffeine. You are supposed to do this anyway. Now, I would probably die without my morning coffee. So if you can’t wait until after teaching, if possible, try waking up a little bit earlier to feed your morning joe needs! It’s shown that caffeine really affects your bladder! So this can cut down on trying to pee within the 2 minute breaks.
With that in mind, just try to cut down on all liquids. I have a small glass of water because teaching for hours at a time gets tiresome on the throat, but I just take sips as needed, instead of gulping down the water.
If you NEED to hit the bathroom within those two minutes, you can use something like ManyCam to put up a background on your camera with a ‘be right back' message while you run so that your student isn't confused to arrive to an empty classroom.
Either use pillows behind your back, or consider investing in a back support for your chair.
It’s important to have good posture and something comfy behind you, because sitting for hours at a time is killer on your back.
A good recommended pillow for absurd comfort is a Japanese buckwheat pillow, which you can find below:
Feel free to use games that get YOU moving to help stretch!
If my back is getting stiff, for a ‘warm up' or ‘cool down,' I get my students to stretch and touch the sky, then reach in front of them and touch the computer and stretch to touch their feet. This helps me to stretch the muscles in my back, while giving them a chance to get prepared to start learning. There are also many games that you can try that can get them and you moving a little bit, which can help dramatically! Check the online teaching FAQ for some ideas.
Wear something comfortable
For my teaching shirt, I made sure to buy one with a wicking material. For the summer heat and humidity, this helps so much. Being big is hard in the summer! I also got a small fan that attaches to my phone that I can stand up next to me if I need to cool off, since we don’t have AC.
For those with morning sickness…
…keep a steady supply of whatever you can keep down.
I like to use acupressure anti nausea bracelets that help a great deal! You can find an example of one below on Amazon:
Try not to eat if you get sick, and try to have peppermint tea, or anything good on the stomach nearby in case you start feeling ill when in class.
These are just a few suggestions I found helpful to survive 6 months of being pregnant so far.
Hopefully this collection of tips on the best stay at home mom job has helped you in some way. Whether you are currently a ‘work from home mom' or looking to become one, we wish you all the best.
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