When you work from home while staying at home with your children, it can be very difficult to separate family time from work responsibilities — and when does your workday end, anyway? Read on to get a few tips on how to make your workplace a well-rounded home, and vice versa.
When you tell friends, family members or former co-workers that you are a work-at-home mom, eyebrows may be raised — or they may not really give it a second thought, simply because they don’t realize how difficult it is to be a WAHM.
The best of both worlds
Being a WAHM may seem to be the best of both worlds — a chance to stay at home with your children while still earning an income. You may be able to use the skills that you acquired through your education or a previous job and stay marketable even while staying at home — and filling in any child-rearing related gaps in your resume to boot. Your schedule will likely be very flexible. However… there are a few drawbacks.
Working around your baby’s schedule may seem like a dream, until she goes through a week-long growth spurt and only wants to nurse. Or, you have your daily duties down pat, and suddenly your sewing business takes an unexpected boom in orders and you can’t get them out in time. What can you do to keep your ship upright, your kids nurtured and your home at least a bit picked up, all at the same time? How do you decide when your workday ends?
Separate working area
If you have the space, create a separate work area with a door that can be shut. This is important not only for solitude and concentration (and potential silence), but for the ability to shut the door and leave any projects behind at the drop of a hat (or a giant bowl of sugar, or a bottle of olive oil). It will also be easier to leave work behind for a day if you can’t see it.
Your support staff
A good support staff is essential for a WAHM to be successful. Your partner, your mother or even your older children can pitch in to help you out. A few hours in the morning of alone work time is a blessing. See if someone can take your toddler to the park a few days a week, for instance, or see if Daddy will take her with him when he runs errands.
You can also try to arrange your working time for when your kids are asleep. Easy for naptime, but can be hard at bedtime if you’re exhausted too. If you’re like many moms, you like to clean when your baby is napping, but if you can get in a good hour of work time that will be a bonus.
Hiring outside help may seem to defeat the purpose of working at home, but it can become a necessity — when you think about it, having someone there can make your work time more productive. You won’t be constantly interrupted and you will likely be able to get done quicker than you would if it was just you alone with your kids. This in turn will make your time with them less distracted and more fun.
With a few strategies such as these, you can create a more harmonious working environment in your home and truly benefit from both worlds.
More on working at home
Work-from-home ideas for stay-at-home moms
Chasing the Dream: How to be a work-at-home success
Deciding to be a work-at-home mom