When you've got kids, working from home can seem like the best of both worlds: you keep your career and you're there for the school run. Juggling it all isn't easy though. Is working from home as beneficial as it seems?
As a mum I often feel like I can't do the right thing for everyone. As a working mum, I'm pulled in every direction, often feeling guilty about being away from my kids. Nowadays it's becoming increasingly rare to be a "Housewife", so how can you work, still be a fantastic parent and retain any kind of balance within your home life?
Create A Space
If you're working from home you need a dedicated space. It's no good working at night, balancing your laptop on your knee. If you've not got a study or a spare room, at least section off part of another room. Declare it a child-free zone and set up everything you need for a productive day's work.
Get The Right Technology
Making sure you've got great WiFi speed, a decent laptop and any other technology; such as telephones or even telephone headsets is crucial. Once you're set-up, there has to be a golden rule. No-one else should have access to your equipment. That's right, no kid's apps, no opportunities for little hands to explore. Keep everything backed-up, password-protected and secure.
We're not just talking about the kids here. If you are working whilst your kids are at home, it's of course more difficult to juggle everything. Get into a routine though. Don't feel guilty if they have an hour in front of the TV, if you've got urgent work to attend to. Set up a craft/activities box that you can always get out, to distract those little ones, so you can catch-up with your emails. It's about planning ahead. That way, you'll still be productive, the kids will be fine and just as importantly, your stress levels will be under control.
Define Your Working Hours
Whether you're employed or self-employed, you need to be strict about the hours that you work. If you're not, you'll be up answering emails at midnight, with the fact that you'll be up with the kids shortly weighing heavily on your mind. Don't do it to yourself. If you work 3 days a week, work 3 days a week. Particularly if you are self-employed, there's a tendency to never switch off. With technology dictating that we can be contacted in so many different ways, it's easy to always be accessible. Don't be. You're not doing yourself justice. Switch off, spend time doing other things.
Leave The House
As a working mum, your social life probably revolves around your kids and other mums. Get yourself out there and make new connections. If you are working at home, it's easy to get stuck in a rut where you essentially rarely leave your house apart from shopping and kid's activities. Join a business networking group or even make the most of the support offered by your local Chamber of Commerce or other business support services. Widen your social circle and potentially meet new clients at the same time.
It's not easy to juggle kids, work and home life. You can have it all though; you just need to be organised, get yourself the right equipment and get into the right mindset.
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