Monthly Feature Article by Contributing Writer
Christine Louise Hohlbaum, author of Diary of a Mother
You have made the important decision to stay home with the kids while working your business. Anyone who has taken on this lifestyle for more than five minutes will know that there are challenges to making it work.
How do you balance working and family life? Do you drop a conference call because your three year-old is climbing the kitchen counters? Do you postpone fulfilling orders because your ten year-old has the flu? The flexibility of this working model is one of the best benefits. I love working from home because I get paid while wearing my deerskin slippers. What better job could you have?
Some tenable solutions to the challenges of working from home are offered here:
- Select simple tasks that your child can help fulfill. I am a teacher and writer. My four-year-old loves helping me prepare for my studentsí craft projects. It is fun to test them out on her and to have her make a sample to show my students.
- Make a work schedule and stick to it. If you spend all your time in front of your computer, you defeat the purpose of staying home with your kids. One WAHM that I know has an autoreply on her email. Everytime I send her an email, I receive a response thanking me for my message and listing her work hours to reflect her commitment to her work mission AND family. Impressive!
- Set your boundaries. If you stick to your schedule, your children will adjust more easily to it, too. Let your family know when your working hours are. Close your office door or draw the curtain to your work area. If you have an open area with lots of foot traffic, consider moving your work station to a quieter area. If you have no other space, work during your childrenís nap or quiet time.
- Inevitably, there will be times when your child will want to be in your office when you are working. During times where you can afford a little distraction, place extraneous office supplies in a drawer or small desk where the children can play while you work. You may not be able to seal a million dollar sale during those times, but you may be able to squeeze in checking your emails or completing routine tasks.
- Get outside at least once a day. You have cut out your daily commute, but with it you also have less opportunity to leave the house. Make a point to catch some fresh air at least once a day. I reluctantly leave my slippers behind for a ten minute walk with my kids. By the time I get back, I feel refreshed and full of new ideas!
- Make a point to connect with non-work related friends. Getting outside your own head and home can make a world of difference. I recently visited friends whom I hadnít seen in over six months. It was such a refresher to leave the house and commune with like-minded spirits in a different environment.
- Take care of yourself. Taking a 15-minute bubble bath at the end of a long day can help you relax and gain perspective. Whatever avenue you choose, remember that your needs have to be fulfilled, too. There is only so long that you can run on empty before you need to take moment to recharge as well!
Christine Louise Hohlbaum, American author of Diary of a Mother: Parenting Stories and Other Stuff, is a freelance writer and busy mother of two. When she isnít writing, wiping up messes or leading toddler playgroups, she generally prefers to frolic with her family in her home near Munich, Germany. Visit her web site for more of her writing at: Dairy of a Mother>
This article has been reprinted with permission for http://www.workandfamily.bellaonline.com. (c) 2004 Christine Louise Hohlbaum, All Rights Reserved.