WAHMspiration: Marge Trajeco-Aberásturi
This is a new blog segment that's been lingering in my mind for the longest time now; I realized that I wanted to share more about the world of WAHMs.
I’ve been a WAHM for almost 3 years, working as an Entrepreneur, Virtual Assistant, and a Freelance Graphic Artist. When I explain my “work” to other people, I can see it in their eyes and reactions that they really don’t get it. But who can blame them if they don't have an idea about WAHMs?
Being a Mom alone is a lot of "work" already, so do you ever wonder what work-at-home-moms do on a daily basis? Or the various types of work they do?
I'll be featuring one WAHMderful mom each time, aiming to inspire everyone (yes, everyone, not only moms and women) that this "life" is indeed possible!
So without further ado...
My first WAHMspiration is Marge Trajeco-Aberásturi. I have yet to meet her personally, but I feel so close to this lady already, not only because we're both Batangueñas but also because we've exchanged emails and messages so often that I consider her a good friend.
Marge was a former career-driven corporate executive, now a family-centered WAHM, married to a former corporate genius who just recently became a WAHD. She's also more known in cyberspace as The Happy WAHM.
And why wouldn't she be happy? They have been gifted with three lovely children. Their eldest has graduated from high school this March at age 15. The middlechild is finishing 6th grade as independent homeschooler and looking at taking the ALS this summer, and their youngest is in 4th grade, also independently homeschooled.
Basically, they are interest-led homeschoolers, where the kids are given the freedom to learn on subjects they are most interested in.
Know more about Marge in our interview...
Hi Marge! Tell us about your work. Please enlighten us.
Marge: Knee-jerk response would be… I’m a virtual assistant. But in reality, virtual assistance is just the niche that I have specialized in. A more “profound” answer would be… I’m an entrepreneur. Or a mom-preneur, just to be more specific about it.
I’m basically a business person. I create my own opportunities.
When I started out, the only thing I knew was transcription. I trained as a medical transcriptionist, and I was a transcriptionist for about eight months. Then I felt that I was ready for growth, so I ventured to virtual assistance, which is more the niche that I felt I could grow in. It also gave me the opportunity to do things that I used to do as a manager, and learn about the nuances of other businesses. I started from the bottom, doing clerical tasks for small to medium-sized businesses in the US, Canada, UK and Australia, all the while soaking every information I come across with like a sponge. I enrolled in online classes. I attended webinars and workshops.
|Marge is also a speaker for various workshops, talking about what she does best, being a WAHM :)|
Wow, it sounds like you do a lot of work! How do you go about your typical day as a WAHM?
Marge: My day starts with a cuddle in bed with my youngest child, who at 9 still co-sleeps with us. Then saying goodbye to my eldest child who has to leave the house at 6:30. There is an optional cuddle time with my middlechild after that. Optional because she sleeps downstairs, and she doesn’t always come up to our bedroom. Then the smell of brewed coffee would pull me out of bed and go downstairs for breakfast.
The husband is in charge of the kitchen, so breakfast would always be ready by the time I go downstairs. House chores are divided among family members because we have not had househelp for the past nine years. We have trained the kids to help out, giving them age-appropriate chores, like folding the laundry, setting and clearing the table, putting away their own things, keeping surfaces free of dust, etc. So house chores are done after breakfast, before homeschool.
Our schedule is fluid, like on mornings of Monday and Wednesday, the homeschoolers practice piano, then they go off to lessons after lunch. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings, they sit down with their Dad for Math/Science/History lecture. I’m in charge of English/Filipino/Hele/AP and some projects.
There are days that we have to skip lectures, when I have hard deadlines, or when we have errands like doctor’s appointment or if I have to meet with clients in Manila.
More often than not, I take one kid with me to meetings, making it an educational field trip and bonding time. My VA work officially starts after lunch, with breaks to attend to questions that the kids throw my way. I work in pockets of time, because I maintain several clients. I assign one to two hours of work for each client, allowing me to focus on a particular task.
My work day usually ends at 12MN.
|Marge's workstation slash home office|
|And I'm loving her little hobby and craft corner too!|
When did you decide that you’d be a WAHM? How did your family react to the idea?
Marge: The decision was made for us by circumstances, actually. Working from home was farthest from my mind, because I had a corporate career goal. But my third pregnancy was really difficult, and I gave birth really prematurely. My son stopped breathing 5 times, and the neurologist was not sure if there had been oxygen deprivation in his brain. Her advice was for me to forget about my job for two years, and personally take care of the baby.
A parent has to be present at all times, to watch out for signs of any delay in development. But of course, I could not just sit around the house taking care of the baby, because my pregnancy and delivery left us in debt. We could not afford for me to be idle, so while my son was still in the hospital (he was there for two months), I enrolled in a medical transcription course and studied on the stairs of the hospital right in front of the NICU.
The whole family supported our lifestyle shift. My mother-in-law even gifted me with a pedal for my transcription software.
Motherhood truly is a wonder, how you can do a lot of things for your child. I'm happy everything turned out well for you thereafter... but what are the challenges and successes you encountered in between?
Marge: It was a steep learning curve for me, to start working online. I was not even computer-savvy at that time, let alone internet-savvy. So I built my confidence from the ground up.
But the challenge was not in my lack of knowledge or skills. The real challenge was staying connected, because we live in the province and providers are limited. It can be really stressful to be working online, and your internet connection is not reliable.
Successes... I have a long list. But short story is, I found my fulfillment as a woman, as a wife, as a mother and as a business person in WAHMing.
You are indeed THE Happy WAHM! :) Can you share some tips to those who’d like to take the chance working from home?
My first tip: Assess yourself and find out if WAHMing is something you will love doing for a long time. Working from home is not for everyone. It’s not about how much you earn. It’s about the lifestyle. Because it is a lifestyle that you embrace.
My second tip: When you have decided that WAHMing is for you, then set yourself up to be disciplined. Because you will be working alone, there is no one but you to keep you in check. You have to have that commitment to succeed, so you won’t cheat on your time, or your performance.
And third: Have a value proposition. Whether you are a writer, a VA, an online shop owner, or a graphic artist, you have to have a value proposition.
What’s a value proposition? It’s that one thing (or two) that will set you apart from the other writers, VAs, shop owners or graphic artists. Like for an online shop owner, are you making it easy for your customers to order from you? Do you reach out to them, find out how you can serve them better, or are you the type who would set up a process, and leave the customers to follow your process or bust?
Thank you for your time Marge, you are truly a WAHMspiration!
Get in touch with Marge or find her in the following social media links:
Facebook Page: facebook.com/HELPforWAHMs
Business site: http://margeaberasturi.com
Contact email: email@example.com
Cheers to a WAHMderful Life,
If you're a Work-at-home Mom and would like to share your WAHMderful life with the rest of the world, I'd be happy to feature you for WAHMspirations. Send me an email with the subject WAHMspirations Feature, to firstname.lastname@example.org