Working Mom 3.0: Home office and the holidays
Being a working mom in a traditional career sure isn’t easy, but when visitors, decorating, cooking, parties and shopping take over the “to do” list during the holidays, there’s a lot to be said for a quiet office, paid vacations and lunch hours to run errands without kids in tow. In this issue of Working Mom 3.0, writer and work-at-home mom Stephanie Taylor Christensen explores how to manage your home office and enjoy the holiday season.
Managing your holiday schedule
Being a working mom in a traditional career sure isn't easy, but when visitors, decorating, cooking, parties and shopping take over the "to do" list during the holidays, there's a lot to be said for a quiet office, paid vacations and lunch hours to run errands without kids in tow.
In this issue of Working Mom 3.0, writer and work-at-home mom Stephanie Taylor Christensen explores how to manage your home office and enjoy the holiday season.
Redefine the holiday schedule
Being a stay-at-home working mom requires flexibility and developing a system that works uniquely for you. It's also a key factor to surviving the holiday season when you work from home. As I type this, it's 5 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning. Traditional logic would say I should take the day off and enjoy the holiday like the majority of working America, and resume tomorrow. But it's quiet, my mind is alert and I'll be done writing before the family wakes. Further, I'm not missing out on anything now; I'd much rather be in the thrill of Black Friday bargains tomorrow morning than sitting at a computer. Isn't the freedom to choose when you work and when you play the beauty of being a stay-at-home working mom to begin with? You may have a list of days you "should" take a break during the holidays ingrained into your consciousness from years in a traditional job, but that schedule may not make sense anymore. By all means, take a step (or several steps) back and enjoy the holidays — but find what works for the life you have now.
Before the holidays begin, set boundaries with your kids, husband, friends and family to avoid unnecessary stress. If the kids have a week or two home for holiday break, review your workload well in advance and secure help from a caregiver who can engage them in an activity for a few hours a day so that you can work from home — before frustration sets in. Likewise, agree on a visitors' schedule that works for the entire family — not just the ones who are home on holiday break. People who work in a traditional career don't always understand that just because you work from home while raising kids doesn't mean you're not working when you're at home!
Plan for paltry paychecks
The holiday season has a way of either generating more business — or far less. If you're a retailer, it may be your most fruitful season of the year. If you're a service provider, you may be stunned by the sound of silence the entire month of December and into the new year. To avoid stressing about a dip in your pay, plan ahead. Aim to save at least one month of your typical income in advance, so that you don't feel that sense of panic when the slowdown comes. (Curbing Santa's spending won't hurt either.)
Working Mom 3.0
The modern woman is redefining what it means to have a successful career. Rather than feeling torn between climbing the corporate ladder and having a happy family life, many women are choosing to merge the two and transition careers from a traditional role to a more flexible one. Working Mom 3.0 is reinventing the definition of "working mom," as office hours are held at home and revolve around nap times.
This column begins by chronicling the experiences of Stephanie Taylor Christensen, a former marketing professional turned self-employed stay-at-home mom, writer and yoga instructor, as she strives to redefine "having it all" on her own time and terms.