Being a mum in business isn’t always easy and when your office is also your home – as well as home to a noisy family of lively children – the challenges can often seem overwhelming.
You may have been working from home with the children for a while now or you might be new to working from home as a result of coronavirus. Maybe the kids are just at home for a few weeks due to the school holidays. We've got a few tips to help keep the calm while everyone is at home and you are telecommuting.
You know your children best. If they are usually better behaved in the morning, plan your schedule of activity to factor their behaviour in and consider scheduling your most important work-related tasks, including phone calls or zoom meetings, at a time when you can trust them to stay occupied happily (and quietly) while you deal with your work.
Don’t feel bad about employing the television as an occasional babysitter. If settling them down in front of their favourite show for an hour enables you to meet an important deadline calmly, when you come back to them later, you’ll be happier and able to give them the attention they need for some fun family time that won’t be interrupted.
Work-at-home parents raise independent children – children who are adept at entertaining themselves for set periods and can stay focused on independent activities that keep them engaged and interested. Well…that’s the theory…
To make it easier for everyone involved, find some structured activities they love doing while you are working – and set them up in a realistic schedule that takes their attention span into consideration.
Create a mini program of activities that they can play together or apart, such as designated times for online learning games, board games, jigsaw puzzles or construction toys.
If you know your little one will settle down to a peaceful two-hour sleep cycle in the afternoon, don’t waste that time on housework or cooking when those are activities you could be doing while they are awake. Instead, schedule those important tasks in your business that rely on concentration and quiet and power through them with calm focus.
Believe it or not, there will be a day when business is booming and you will need to outsource and acknowledge that you can’t really be expected to do it all.
That outsourcing could be related to business tasks, or it might be related to help in your home. Getting a cleaner in once a fortnight, or having someone to iron for you does cost money but if the hourly rate you can earn working in your own business exceeds the money you are paying someone else to do these tasks, it’s money well spent – helping you grow your business, letting you and your family enjoy a clean, orderly home environment.
Other outsourcing opportunities could be to do with engaging a bookkeeper to take control of your record-keeping, or hiring a VA to attend to some of your social media marketing strategies for business. Figure out what’s most important to have you working efficiently, happily and productively and crunch the numbers to see where your money will be best spent.
For the sake of your relationship (with your kids or your partner), make an effort to keep work confined between set hours. Your partner didn’t get in a relationship with you to spend each night alone on the couch while you’re glued to your computer. Building a business does take time and effort but if it is risking your relationship, its time to get realistic and create a schedule that works for everyone.
Working well at home – even with young children – can seem difficult but, with the right planning, it can be well managed to create a happy work/life balance.
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