Thursday, April 1, 2010

Balancing family and work, even when you work from home

The ultimate challenge for moms and dads everywhere is balancing work and family needs. Babies and younger children require a lot of attention, they get sick at the most inopportune times, and well they just simply need you. For parents of younger children, there are basically two options for working at home. The freelance, no schedule or work when you want jobs permit you to work while your baby is napping, or even playing. All you need is the discipline and where how to get things done when your child is occupied. The other option is have someone watch your child while you work. This can be the best or sometimes the only alternative for fixed schedule, phone type jobs. Either one is workable, you could work the later shift when your spouse is home, and they can handle the child care. Just be realistic. You can’t parent all day, make dinner, and then work the graveyard shift while everyone is sleeping. You won’t last too long. Ask and get the help you need. Your spouse can get the kids in the bath, and put them to bed while you work a four or five hour shift on the phone. Another alternative is to hire a teenager as a mother’s helper. This is usually cheaper than traditional day care. If you can work a later afternoon or early evening shift, then you should have a ready supply of teens looking to earn some extra money. I recommend having at least two, this way if one can’t make it, you have a backup in place.

So, now that we have everyday routine care covered, all we have to worry about is doctors, and dentist visits. Babies all the way through elementary school kids seem to be sick quite often. There probably not, it just seems like it. When my son was younger, my husband and I alternated trips. I was working in the B&M world then, and we would simply take turns. Sometimes even half days each. Even with this, this is ultimately why I went to WAH. The stress of having to take time off for tonsil surgery, broken nose, ear infections, pink eye, and then ultimately I would get pink eye too, was just way too much. So have a backup of spouse or other relative who can help out when you simply cannot get the time off.

Many WAH companies with fixed shifts permit staff to trade or swap shifts, which can help out a lot when that emergency comes up. Just remember balance the needs of everyone. Too much time off, is not going to help anyone’s career. You may lose your job, but you certainly won’t be first in line for that promotion. Even when freelancing, you must work to get paid, and you still have deadlines.

Have help, have a backup plan, and even moms with very small infants can make this work. You can meet the kids at the bus stop, tuck your little ones in to bed, or just have them playing on the floor while you do your data entry. Even if you work from home full time, you are no longer commuting, so there’s more family time, and less stress. When you catch your child’s pink eye (and you will, trust me), you can still go to work. No one need know you have a patch on your eye.


Join F4 Free said...

Thanks for sharing.For work-at-home moms (or dads), time management is really, really important. It's all about learning how to balance your time between earning extra money and spending LOTS of quality time with your family.

Demi said...

TY, JoinF4 Free, you are so right about the extra money part.