In the Making Bacon at Home series, we interview stay-at-home moms and dads who make money on the side to find out how they make work, well, work. And we’d love to hear from you. If you fit the bill, please please please fill out this form here, and we’ll be in touch!
Name: Sarah L.
# of kids and ages: 3 kids; 10-year-old girl, 5-year-old girl, 1-year-old boy
What’s your stay-at-home job title? piano teacher
How did you get started with your stay-at-home job? I kinda fell into this job. I love to play the piano, and when my oldest was 5, she wanted me to teach her to play. After a year or two of teaching her piano lessons, other parents saw her play and asked if I could teach their children. Now, a few years later, I have several students of varying ages and abilities.
What’s a typical work day like for you?
6:00 – 10:30 — I wake up, have a quick snack, exercise, shower, and get dressed (Meanwhile, Amazing Husband gets the kids started on their day. He changes the baby’s diaper and gets the older two revved up for school and to the kitchen for breakfast.). Next, I feed the kids and get the school-goers and husband out the door. I then fix my hair/makeup, make the beds, do chores, and dress the baby for the day. The baby goes down for nap, I get the kitchen cleaned from breakfast, and look at what’s for dinner. I also do laundry, straighten the house, and make phone calls. If I’m really lucky, I might read for a few minutes in peace.
10:30 – 2:30 — I have quality time with baby boy: get him a snack, read him a book, play with him and try to keep him out of trouble. Then we leave to pick up my five-year-old girl from half-day kindergarten. When we get back, I feed them lunch and start on dinner, if need be. At 12:30 I corral Baby Boy while helping my kindergartner with homework. At 1:30 I put Baby Boy down for a second nap. Then the kindergartner and I have quality time. I usually read with her and get her settled before my first piano lesson at 2:30. I also make final dinner preparations.
2:30 – 5:30 — Teach piano lessons every half-hour (a neighborhood girl arrives to tend Baby Boy and five-year-old during the lessons). Also, my oldest child arrives home via carpool around 3:30 and can usually govern herself at starting on homework and getting an after-school snack.
5:30 – 10:30 — I finish dinner and Amazing Husband arrives home from work. We all eat and spend time together as a family. Some nights we take the girls to tumbling class or volleyball or soccer. At 7:30 the baby goes to bed, and (fingers crossed) the older kids go to bed within the hour. I then catch up with Amazing Husband, clean up dinner, and regroup for the next day (if I’m lucky, we catch a DVR’d Modern Family or Suburgatory). And, ideally, I’m in bed at 10:30.
What’s the hardest part of your job? Being busy when my oldest child walks in the door after school. Also, it’s hard to be working at home where I can see things that I’d like to get done, but can’t do because I’m teaching piano at the time. I have to be completely engaged when I’m teaching, which can be really hard when I’m in my home and my kids are there.
What’s the best part? Do I have to choose just one?
- Seeing my daughter and other piano students perform at our recitals. Nothing beats seeing these kids succeed and knowing I had a part in it.
- Knowing that I am contributing measurable assets to our family and our children. Teaching piano contributes monetarily, and it also provides an environment for my children to learn to respect the abilities of their mom outside of being a mother and homemaker.
- Also, some of my students take lessons on trade, so I get a couple of hours a week of babysitting and regular hairstyles in exchange for teaching piano. Trading so often gives both parties a better value.
What do you do to stay sane on an especially difficult day? I try to keep a cold can of Cherry Coke Zero ready in the fridge for tough days and I save them for emergencies. If that’s not enough, we get dinner out.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to make money while being a stay-at-home parent? Make sure it is the right thing for you and your family. We have had to tweak our methods along the way as we had Baby Boy and as my kids have grown. We are constantly weighing the pros and cons of my job. The quality of my parenting always weighs heavily in the balance. If the time comes that we feel our children are suffering because of what I’m doing, we will change things to meet their needs.
And again, you’re interested in being a part of this series, fill out this form here, and we’ll be in touch!
I think it’s so cool that some of Sarah’s students take lessons on trade! I have a hard time justifying services like babysitting and getting my hair cut, but having a trade forces you to take some time for yoself! Way to go, Sarah.
Have you ever considered teaching a skill from your home? If not, what’s holding you back? I’d call you a wussie, but that’s mean and it’s not very effective across the Interwebs.