With some creativity and compromise, you can create a style that blends your parenting duties with your business responsibilities.
Working from home becomes even more of a juggling act if the kids are there with you. They want you to play with them on the day your project is due. They want to touch the pretty buttons on your computer. They want to answer your business phone when it rings. They want you to stop what you’re doing and pick them up from the mall.
Obviously the 9-to-5 corporate style is not going to work. You have to create a style that blends your parenting duties with your business responsibilities.
1. Prepare Your Office
First, childproof it. Make sure your kids can’t hurt themselves and that they can’t destroy your business items. Then, set aside a spot for your child with a table and chair of their own and a box for their toys or activities.
2. Occupy the Kids
Collect things for your kids to do when you are working like engaging toys, books, craft supplies, computer games, etc and keep these in the office. Also look for books and Web sites with children’s activities and plan projects they can do next to you in your office.
3. Schedule Your Day
Working on schedule will keep you on track and help the kids get used to you working. Children, even babies, function well when in a routine, but make sure to balance it between business and parenting. For instance, your child may get into the habit of playing on their own for forty-five minutes if they know reading time is next. Don’t try to schedule every minute-you have to be flexible with the kids around.
4. Let Go
You can’t do everything-don’t make yourself crazy by trying. There may be days that the housework piles up or you have to pick up a fast food dinner. There may be days you don’t get as much work done as you planned. At the beginning of the day prioritize your to-do list, including your parenting activities, to make sure you get to the most important activities.
5. Realize Your Limits
“Hey”, you say, “I thought this was an article on working at home with the kids”. You can, but only up to a point. Sorry to say, you cannot run a business full time and take care of your kids full time (in addition to maintaining a house, social life and personal time). If your kids are home with you all day, expect to run a part-time business. You will have to wait until the kids are in school or schedule part-time childcare if you want to do more business.
With some creativity and lots of organization, you can balance parenting and a home business and enjoy both.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tracey Dishman Patterson is the founder of Parent’s Home Office and works as a technical business writer with numerous articles appearing in national trade magazines.