Work From Home: Choice for the Privileged?

I’ve had something niggling at the back of my mind for a long time, and a great post from Australian author and mum Evelyn Tsitas has provoked me to try to put this down in writing.

In her post, Evelyn weighs up the cost to a woman of staying home with the kids. She writes, “It is a lot easier to get your figure back after children, than get your career back” … and after child three I know getting your figure back is pretty hard. Evelyn suggests that “It is no wonder so many of these privileged women toss the corporate job away, stay at home and then ease into the ‘mumpreneur’ role with their own innovative businesses when their children are older. This is simply the only way to ‘have it all’ without a corporation overseeing – and judging – your every move.”

The one word there that has driven me to write is ‘privileged’. Do you feel being a mumpreneur is something for the privileged? Does it require you to have a husband with a well paid job while you stay at home with a hobby business? Or is this a mistaken perception, perhaps increased by the fact that we’re ‘mumpreneurs’ not just ‘entrepreneurs’? How serious are you about your business, and are you in business mainly for work life balance or as a way to make a major contribution to the family budget?

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  • I started my business as a single parent so no well paid hubby to sort it out,no hand outs I had to get down to it and work like nothing else.
    I spent MANY nights doing what needed doing until 3-4 am falling asleep in a pile until 9 am and the invariable moooorning mummmeeeeeeeeee!
    my days were filled with finding entertainment while I just did this and that and trying to run the house in a vague normal fashion.
    so,never a hobby always a way to stay happy.

    8 years and another child later I still work from home I earn around half our income on average.
    So I don’t think of it as a privilege more of an intelligent move on my part to have the career I want.

  • Hmmm, trying to keep this calm and rational.
    Priveleged? My husband is working two part time jobs which are both low paid and every month we have to juggle to make ends meet. I am working from home because we can’t afford childcare and until my business makes enough for me to take a wage then this is how things are going to be. Do I feel priveleged? Well, I guess I am priveleged in that I can spend time with my girls, go to school events, see them growing up and it was my choice to have children; but the tone of the statement by Evelyn Tsitas suggests that my well paid husband is allowing me to work from home as an indulgence – this is certainly not true in our case and I would suspect in the majority of cases. Another point raised by Evelyn is that a lot of mums ‘ease into this role … when their children are older’ – most mums I know are working with a baby or toddler in their arms!

  • Thanks for that Cari – it’s just that point that concerned me too. I think that lots of media coverage presents mums in business wrongly and this idea that we all have well paid husbands funding our little hobby businesses is wrong too.

    We do get the benefits – like you mentioned, being with the kids, attending school events, but most mumpreneurs I know are running flexible businesses because they need to boost the family budget.

  • thanks for sharing that Sarah – it is really important to highlight how lots of us are doing this on our own … and glad it is now giving you the income you need.

  • I find the whole idea of a ‘hobby business’ to keep a mum busy while she’s supported by a well paid husband infuriating, patronising and actually quite sexist. Maybe there are a few women out there like this, but I’ve never heard of one.

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