As I sit down to write this post, I’ve just kissed my boys goodnight. My baby is asleep nearby, the kettle’s on and I’m already in my pjs
Following years entrenched in the world of full-time journalism – first in newspapers then television – I decided to take the plunge and set up a home office after becoming pregnant with my eldest.
While I’d made the choice to be at home with my baby, I was reluctant to give up a career I’d worked hard for – so working from home as a freelance journalist seemed an enticing possibility.
Two additional children later and the concept is serving me well. I can do the school run, spend time with the kids and care for my bub, while continuing to write and run my business.
It’s an option that’s becoming increasingly popular as growing numbers of women who want or need to work, find the cost of childcare prohibitive, or prefer to be at home with their children.
But while being a work-from-home-mother is an ideal theoretical solution, it brings with it a myriad of potential problems with many struggling to get the balance right.
Structure is challenging and it’s difficult to escape the demands of children and housework when it’s right in front of you.
Throw in a touch of guilt, a dose of isolation and plenty of late nights you can be left wondering if it’s all worth it.
But while there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, there are ways you can make the balance a little steadier.
Emma Morgan from The Homemade Company Marketing (http://www.thehomemadecompany.com.au/) offers the following tips to help create structure and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your work.
- Get dressed as if you are going to the office, even if you work from the kitchen table.
- Have a dedicated work space, whether it’s an office or the corner of the living room.
- Have a great filing system.
- Use social media to broaden your network and avoid feeling isolated
- Plan a schedule for the day and/or night that covers work/children/household and set yourself mini deadlines.
Of course keeping the children happy is also a crucial element if they’re the reason you’ve made the decision to work from home.
Leah Gibbs from www.workathomemums.com.au suggests the following:
- Involve your child – Do your work outside while your child is playing or set up a little desk and chair in your office and let your child do their “work”.
- Plan breaks to coincide with your child’s schedule like meal or play times. This allows you to spend time with your kids without feeling guilty about work.
- Seek your husband’s help – If you’re just swamped with work and can’t spare a minute, ask Dad to pitch in and help.
It’s also a good idea to avoid working when you’ve allocated time with the children. Creating clear boundaries prevents resentment and confusion.
Most importantly though, remember why you chose to be a work-at-home mum in the first place – make the most of the flexibility, manage your time and plan your work to suit you and the needs of your family.