How to Balance Working at Home and Parenting
Working from home has it’s own set of challenges, but trying to maintain a business AND be a parent is one of the most difficult ones. We asked these experts how they balance their home based careers and parenting. If you have tips to share, please do so in the comments.
1) I have found that waking up at 5:00 or 5:30 and having a quiet cup of coffee while reading and answering emails is really helpful. It starts the day out right
2) Segment your time so 30 minutes of work, take a break put laundry in, 30 minutes of work, clean the kitchen.
3) In the morning after I’ve taken the older kids to school I put my younger son who is not school age in a stroller and go for a walk so I get exercise in and then I also make phone calls I need to make her answer emails on that walk.
1) Set boundaries to prioritize things that are important to your kids and commit to being present while doing so. My daughter is the manager of the Varsity basketball team at her high school. I make sure to never schedule appointments for anything during their games, and I pay attention to the game and not my phone when I’m there.
2) Working from home doesn’t necessarily mean doing it all alone. When my kids were very young, I hired a full-time nanny to work in my home weekdays during the day. Having childcare support allowed me to be close to them throughout the day, but it also allowed me to take calls and focus when I had upcoming deadlines. It reduced a lot of the stress that comes from being a work at home parent. It also helped me define the end of my workday; when our nanny was off the clock at the end of the day, so was I.
1) Set regular working hours. I’m self-employed and have the flexibility to work whatever hours I choose, but I give myself a normal schedule (8:00 am – 5:00 pm Monday – Friday) and I treat it like a more traditional job. I’ve developed a habit of working those hours, so when it hits 5:00, I stop what I’m working on and I have the rest of the day with my family.
2) Schedule time during the day with your kids. I plan to spend 10-15 minutes with my son each day at lunch. I like to enjoy this perk of working from home and get that extra one-on-one time that many fathers are not able to have with their kids.
3) Know your most productive time of the day, and take advantage of it. Most of us have a time of the day when we’re typically at our best in terms of focus. Do whatever you can to be able to work uninterrupted during these hours on your most important tasks. You’ll get more done in less time.
1) Get Up At Least an Hour Before The Kids – This allows me to be able to mentally prepare for them while also having some quiet time to go through emails or finish up a task that I wasn’t able to get to the night before.
2) Reward Kids for Allowing You to Work – During days off of school, holidays, etc reward the kids in some way for allowing you to work distraction-free and being patience. It doesn’t have to be a big reward it could be something as simple as spending a few hours at the park once you are finished with work.
3) Try to Set Your Work Schedule Around Theirs – For example, work that requires me to be on the phone or give my full attention to I handle while the kids are at school or in bed. My clients know my working hours and outside of working hours, they know there will be a delayed response.
Note from Leslie
The good news is that working from home can offer flexibility to raise children. The bad news is that children don’t always conform to the routines and schedules needed to insure you build an income.
I started working at home when my children were babies, which was really hard. As the kids got older and could entertain themselves a for small bits of time, and later when they were in school, it got easier.
There are tricks you can use, but it’s important to adopt the attitude that you’ll need to be extremely flexible, adaptable, and efficient in your work. Here are a few tricks that worked for me:
- Always know what work needs to be done. Sometimes you have to work in flitting times your kids are napping or are entertaining themselves. You don’t want to waste that time trying to figure out what needs to be done in your work. You need to be able to go to your home office and know exactly what tasks you’re going to do.
- Have a routine. Kids do best with a routine anyway. My kids knew that I needed to work in the morning, that I’d take a couple of hours off in the afternoon to spend time with them.
- Have help. Whether sending your kids to a playgroup, pre-school or daycare can free up not only your time, but having one ear always listening for your kids which can impact your focus. Getting help can mean also on the work you do, such as outsourcing some tasks that free up your time so you can be with the kids.
- Work when kids are sleeping. I don’t think you can build a full-time income during nap time (unless you’re paying a lot of people to do the work), but you can take advantage of time that kids sleep, such as work early in the morning, during nap time, and after they go to bed. Just watch that it doesn’t cut into time you should be spending with your partner.
What tips do you have for balancing working from home and raising children?
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