I have written a lot about the benefits of flexible work schedules. However, some working moms are pursuing another even more flexible path. They are working from home. Many swear that working from home is there secret to earning a living and being present for their families. That said, if they're not careful, they can wind up working all of the time and resenting their kids because they're constantly underfoot. Well a mom that I recently met, Remy Bernard, has the secret to how to work from home and love your kids. Fortunately for us, she has decided to share some tips with us. Thanks, Remy!!!
5 Ways to Love Your Kids While Earning a Living From Home (A Guest Post from Remy Bernard)
No matter what your career or job may look like, the balance between work and family is a tricky one. What's always struck me the most about this is the irony that while you are out working hard to create a better life for your family, it draws you away from the very thing you are attempting to nurture. My work life, while definitely fulfilling, has always been in service of my children and creating the environment I prefer them to be raised in.
A few years ago when I was busy running my bakery and restaurant, it required a concerted effort on my part to carve out time and establish some real, tangible boundaries that allowed my kids and family to receive the attention they need and deserve. I was gone most of the day, and sometimes evenings, so it required me to be incredibly thoughtful about the hours that I did have with the kids. So when I made the decisions to start an online business and start working from home, I was ecstatic at the thought of how much more time I would have with the kids. Little did I know that working from home was in some ways more difficult than working from somewhere like an office, and presented an entirely new set of challenges in order to get my work done and also balance family time.
When you leave for work every morning, it's easier for the kids to understand that you're not available. However, this is much harder to understand when you are physically present and is a boundary that even adults can struggle with. Here are some of the best tips I have discovered to create the space you need while still caring for your children. After all, working from home is a luxury, you just need the proper boundaries in place.
1. Create a Dedicated Workspace
First things first, you need to establish a dedicated workspace, and set a firm start and end time for the workday. Your kids need to be able to see that you are working, or they will be vying for your attention all day. Create a room or space in your house that is meant only for working, instead of just carrying your laptop from room to room. Then, when occupy that space, it will show your kids, even toddlers, that you are in work mode and need your focus. My business requires me to research and write long, detailed reviews like this one, and if to I were keep getting pulled away, it would never get done.
The work schedule is equally as important. Many work-at-home moms put in more hours than they would if they went to an office simply because the line between work and home becomes too blurred.
2. The Early Bird Gets the Work Done!
No matter what, if you are working from home, you need to find some kid-free hours during the day. This leaves you with two choices: wake up early or go to bed late. Personally, I prefer getting up early because I am much more productive in the morning, no matter how grumpy I might be when the alarm goes off. Even just an extra hour in the morning free of distractions creates some really valuable work time. Just make sure that you go to bed early enough and aren't creating a new issue by becoming sleep deprived.
3. Entertain Your Kids in Creative Ways
You might be tempted to just plop your kids down in front of the TV and call it a day. This should be avoided as much as possible. Set up an area in your workspace, or just outside of it, where you can keep an eye and ear on your kids. Plan ahead and get creative with activities. Think of projects that will occupy their time, but don't require direct supervision from you. I like to create a dress-up station filled with used clothing and old Halloween costumes. This allows them to let their imaginations run wild. Another idea would be to plan a scavenger hunt around the house and let them look for items while you work. Make sure the list is plenty long. You can also simply make sure they have plenty of toys to burn through before they get bored.
4. Be Productive During Nap Time
If you have toddlers in the home, you will get the most work done when they're sleeping. Remember, nap time doesn't mean play time. That is when you kick it into high gear! It helps to plan important calls and projects around nap times. Don't waste this time cruising Facebook or other tasks that require little focus to no focus.
5. Get By With A Little Help From Your Friends
This is one I started doing recently and it has been a huge help. I have a neighbor that also has kids and works from home. So, we make a plan to babysit the other's kids one or two afternoons a week and both end up getting some alone time and saving money by not having to pay for daycare or a babysitter. It's a win-win for everyone involved.
Hopefully this has inspired you to find ways to create time at home to really focus on work. I consider working from home a luxury and the tradeoffs are nothing compared to what I gain in time with the kids and not having to work in an office all day.
Remy Bernard - Owner and Editor at Miss Mamie's Cupcakes