A side hustle is a way to make money that is not considered full or part time work. It’s a supposedly flexible and easy way to earn a little extra income. These are different from most work from home jobs (like virtual assisting) or part-time jobs (like waitressing). These are jobs that can be done without punching a clock and the income is dependent on your level of commitment.
You don’t have to look far to find a mom with a side hustle.
Let’s face it- life is expensive. Women are drawn to the idea that you could invest a little time in something and earn some money to help cover the cost of daycare (30% of the average family income), kids activities, or a hobby (yarn is expensive!). Stay at home and working moms alike are finding ways to earn a little extra cash. Moms are all over the internet with their sales pitches and parties, invites, and before and afters, letting us know about their businesses.
I actually really like a lot of the products that moms are selling. There is some good stuff out there and if I can help out a friend, I’m in.
I will buy your makeup and face wash and cleaning products (but sorry, not the leggings-I just can’t wear those).
My problem is not with the products or the people selling them. My problem is with the idea that we need a side-hustle- the insinuation that being a SAHM is not enough.
We definitely support the idea that a SAHM stay involved in an interest, hobby, or their career to remain active socially and fulfilled professionally. There is a difference between doing something you love or have an interest in to earn money on the side and in a “hustle” that earns you money and prestige, possibly at the expense of your relationships- with your kids, friends, and family.
The beautiful thing about being a SAHM is that you are not expected to earn an income. No one is going to pay you, and no one expects you to contribute financially to the family. The very definition of SAHM (my definition anyway) excludes earning money. This doesn’t mean that you don’t work. You probably work harder than anyone else in the family.
This is where we moms get hung up.
We feel like we need to contribute, without even considering the essential contribution we are making just by being home. So, we invest a little money in a company and wait for our return, make phone calls and set up parties, place orders and deliver products. All the while, becoming distracted from our original focus.
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24
Here are a few things to consider if you are thinking about a side-hustle:
Do you truly have the time to invest in working, even if that working is done from your living room?
Allison and I have both tried to work at home. Notice how I said tried. It is extremely difficult to work at home with children (of any age) there. There is a constant battle for your attention and most of the time, the kids will win. And you will make poor parenting decisions while you are working just to buy a little peace and quiet.
Do you truly need the income?
Most side-hustles aren’t worth the investment. Multi-level (network) marketing is the worst return on investment out there (and the majority of side-hustles that I see moms doing). Multi-level marketing businesses employ consultants or independent distributors to sell their products and recruit others to join them in their “downline.” You make money from meeting sales quotas and from the sales of your recruits. The sad truth for most people who join these businesses is that 99% of those who invest in one of these companies actually lose money, spending more on the products than they earn.
Do you have a talent, skill set, or work background that you can capitalize on?
Network marketing depends on sales. Most of us are not salespeople. For me, I am going to teach a few days this semester at a community college. This gives me the opportunity to talk to other people in my field and work with students, which I love. Maybe you can play the piano for weddings, do the accounting for a small business, or bake awesome birthday cakes.
Does a side-hustle fit into your family mission statement?
I know that I tend to lose sight of my goals when someone offers me a job. My ego gets the best of me. I also have a hard time saying no, so I say maybe, and then hate myself later for not saying no. Writing a family mission statement and reflecting on it regularly will remind you why you are staying at home and keep you steadfast in your decision not to work.
Having interests outside of raising your family is important. But many of the businesses out there recruiting SAHMs use deceitful marketing tactics and motivate by greed. Don’t let yourself be distracted from your family goals by a little extra income.
Being a SAHM is enough. Your kids are enough. You are enough!