While being a work-at-home mom can be challenging, there are many things you can do to make the arrangement a success. Have the “best of both worlds” and effectively work from home with young kids with these tips:
Make your office child-friendly – Young kids don’t like being too far from their parents so it’s a good idea to make your office space child-friendly. Keep toys in the office, lay down a blanket or bring in a swing if you have a baby. You might also want to set up a separate small desk and chair with paper and crayons so the kids can “work” while you do or let them sit on your lap as you type on the computer from time to time.
Have a designated work space – Have a space in the house that you can disappear to when you need to make an important, uninterrupted phone call or focus on a time-sensitive project. Establish an understanding with the kids that this space is off-limits at certain hours of the day so mommy can work.
Be flexible – Being a work-at-home mom often means working outside of the traditional “9-5” office hours. Create a flexible schedule that allows you to take regular breaks throughout the day to play, have lunch and tend to unpredictable events like accidents or temper tantrums. It’s also a good idea to schedule important conference calls around nap time and focus on projects in the evenings or early mornings when the kids are in bed.
Take advantage of technology – Today’s technology makes managing conference calls, scheduling meetings, and responding to requests easier than ever before. Email is a highly acceptable way to communicate and, thanks to smart phones, you can be connected to anyone around the world wherever you are, even if you’re at the park! If you require face-to-face interaction, schedule a Skype video call while your little ones are napping. And if you’re in the middle of building a fort or preparing lunch, let calls go to a reliable voicemail system.
Consider child care – Whether it’s a daycare, mother’s helper, babysitter or grandparent, having someone to care for the kids as you work can be a real sanity saver. It might be time to call in outside support if you’re falling behind with work and always find yourself working late into the night, and if you’re continually tired and stressed.
There are many benefits to being a work-at-home mom, but there are many challenges too. Thankfully, it’s possible to conduct business at home and be there for the kids by implementing a few easy strategies into your routine.