It may sound both counter-intuitive and too much like hard work, but for many modern parents it is a fact of life. There are plenty of moms and dads who have kids, for whom working at home is a reality and who are not only managing, but making a success of the situation.
Though thinking about working from home may seem pretty straightforward, working from home with kids is a whole different story and calls for some extra thought and consideration.
Here are some tips and advice about how to make the whole work/home/kids formula a success, from simple home strategies to business decisions.
Develop a successful attitude
From the outset, do not think of working from home as a constant struggle between earning a buck and being a mom, the guilt and frustration will make it unsustainable. It is all about balance; so embrace and enjoy the fact that the children are around, but establish that whilst available to them, mom also has important work to do. There is give and take in this relationship and if children play contentedly for a time, allowing work to be completed, remember to reward their behavior accordingly with attention or play. Children love to feel grown up and involved and if given their own ‘work’ to do, whether that is with crayons and paper or reading a book, such a strategy can yield surprisingly good results.
Working at home is different
The hours, the routines, the tasks, the water-cooler conversations, they are all totally different for the work at home parent. Forget regular nine to five hours; instead, be ready to work in short bursts of activity, perhaps during baby’s nap or when the toddler has a play date. Do not rule out working in the evenings whilst the family sleeps; employ whatever tactics it takes to get through the workload. Be organized; where possible try to keep regular schedules for nap times and feeds, as the structure will be helpful in aiding productivity. Become a ninja at multitasking, there will be times when making work phone calls and emails will be possible whilst also supervising playtime.
Take help where you can get it
Offers of babysitting from older siblings, grandparents and trusted neighbors should be encouraged. Make it easier for these offers to be mutually successful by setting up safe play areas stocked with favored toys. If the babysitting goes well, the offer is more likely to be repeated.
Assistance is also available for those struggling to find time to deal with the paperwork and administration headaches that go along with working from home. Many homeworkers find that engaging an umbrella company to deal with pay and tax issues in an efficient manner frees up more time to focus on the core work.
Childproof for peace of mind
Make home offices childproof so that they are safe environments for little ones. Conceal plugs and cables and mask sharp edges; this way they can play safely in the office, alongside parents, in a far more relaxed way and without the constant worry of them injuring themselves.
Working from home with kids can be a positive experience for all involved if expectations are well managed and a good balance is maintained in the wage-earner/care-giver role. It is not easy, but when successful, the benefits can be twice as rewarding.
How do you find in working from home?Â What tips would you offer to other WAHMs or moms looking to transition?Â