Working from Home
You might say I’m a bit of a nut-job. I work part-time from home while also caring for my kiddos, and I’ve managed to do it somewhat successfully. There have only been four or five times when I had to stay up until two in the morning working to get everything done, but luckily there is a Starbucks down the road with a benevolent barista who doesn’t mind sprucing my coffee up with extra caffeine. Most of the time, however, I manage to get everything done and still get to bed at a relatively decent hour.
It’s exhausting, but I’m lucky that I love both of my occupations (Mommy Extraordinaire and Freelance Writer) so I don’t really mind all the stuff I have to do on a day-to-day basis. I’ve read plenty of articles advising work-at-home moms (WAHM) to set a schedule, have a dedicated work area, blah, blah, blah. None of those things ever worked for me, but if my kids were in school during the day I guess those tips would pertain to me. Here is a list of tips for WAHMs who still have little kiddos in the home:
1. Work like a maniac during naptime. Sure, I would love to catch a nap while my son is sleeping, but if I’m able to work for the hour or so that he’s napping that’s an hour or so less that I’ll have to work at night.
2. After the kids are in bed, get serious. Since all my work is on the computer I find that I sometimes get sidetracked surfing the Internet or composing e-mails. I have to tell myself that I have a certain number of hours to work after the kids are in bed, and that everything else will just have to wait.
3. Find a contained play area. The Air Force Base where my husband works has a great play area for kids. It’s indoors and there is a wireless Internet connection I can use, so once or twice a week I load up the kids and my computer and go spend a couple of hours there.
4. Don’t take on too much. I’m guilty of this a lot of the time, so I really have to watch myself on this one. One trick I use is if I start to think to myself something along the lines of “Of course I can work while the kids play quietly all day,” or “Sure I can stay up until three in the morning to do this,” then I don’t take the job.
5. Ignore the mess. My house is quite a mess sometimes, but I never let it get to the point where the contents of my kitchen sink rival any elaborate science project. If there is a thick layer of dust on my dresser, however, I try not to let it consume me.
The truth is that you’re the only one who can come up with the best rules for working at home. Maybe you have kids who will play contentedly while you work, but my kiddos only do that for so long before disaster strikes. Perhaps you have a husband who takes over for you when he walks through the door after working, or maybe your husband is like mine and is too tired to handle the kids for the rest of the night solo. Whatever your situation, working from home can be a lot of fun and be very rewarding as long as you don’t go crazy in the interim.