Work at home moms can often find it difficult to balance work and family demands because both are “right there.” One life overlaps onto the other, sometimes creating more chaos than separate work and home situations. Inevitably, a child needs to talk just when a three-way conference call is about to begin. Or there is an emergency pickup right when you’re on deadline for a project.
Work at Home Moms
The women I know who work at home successfully – and I count myself among them most days – are perfectly adept at thinking about and doing at least two things at once. They can communicate in sign language to a child while fielding a business call. They can sort laundry while planning an advertising campaign.
The secret is to have the grid work for you. Know when very real barriers need to be set up, and stick to them. For starters, mothers with young children can’t work at home unless they have help with the kids. There are no guarantees that small children won’t need you “right now.” Spend the money for a good baby sitter and free your mind to work for a few hours a day.
Moms with older kids need to establish ground rules for behavior and for times when they can interrupt the work flow. Alternatively, moms who work at home can tailor their schedules to their kids’ school schedules, so long as everyone in the family understands that business crises can come up and then Mom will have to turn her attention to work for a while.
I sit with my back to the rest of the room in my home office and often one of my kids will come in already talking to me before he realizes I’m on the phone. I usually just raise my hand and that’s enough to get silence until my phone call is finished.
On the other hand, Moms need to be sensitive, too. If a child comes home from school brimming with good news or bad, it makes sense to stop the day’s work and catch up with each other. If you can’t do it right away, it makes sense to explain why not to your children, making sure they know you want to touch base but that you need to finish up a project before talking with them.
To keep your sanity, you need to be flexible and philosophical. Some days you just won’t accomplish all that you set out to do in one sphere or the other. A business report may take until the next day to finish or that home-cooked dinner may be take-out pizza instead.