Would you like to raise your kids yourself, while still earning money? At-home jobs are bound to appeal to you — but while it’s not difficult to understand why so many mothers would love to work from their homes, it is quite tricky for a WAHM to organize her life in such a way that parenting, working, and looking after the home all combine smoothly. How do you make sure you maintain a healthy work/life balance when the boundaries of work and family aren’t as clear?
Quite a few skills can be used to find or create a good at-home job. Still, at-home jobs that actually bring in a regular, decent income, are not that easy to come by. The internet has opened many exciting opportunities up to parents who would like to run businesses from home. But, that doesn’t mean that all of those article-writing jobs are actually for real, or that you can make a normal monthly income by selling stuff on eBay. Creating a thriving online business takes a lot of time and effort, and finding a genuine online employer is hard too. If you are a writer, translator, accountant, architect, seamstress, daycare worker, or have any other skill that you can use to your advantage, you do have options. So, it is best to start investigating while you are still trying to get pregnant, so that you will be all set by the time your baby gets there.
Get into a routine
I started working from home when my first child was a newborn, so I slowly grew into it. As a writer and translator, I was not tied to set working hours. My newborn was happy to nap and nurse on my lap in a baby carrier while I was working, and I was convinced that working from home is easy and wonderful. When that child turned into a toddler and we added a new baby, the situation changed — a lot! That is when I knew I had to get into a routine and plan my working hours at the same time each day. I tried working at night when my husband came home from his job, which meant we never got to spend time together, and our marriage suffered. Then, I started working in the mornings while my kids watched TV. After a lot of experimentation, I found that life runs more smoothly if you plan your working hours and stick to them. Make sure to plan to work during a time you have energy, which is most often in the mornings.
How about the kids?
Some WAHMs say that having childcare while you work is a must, but my children (five and three years old) really enjoy that “unstructured play” that is so important for their development. As long as your children are safe and happy, there is nothing wrong with letting them do their own thing. I like to set some activities up for my kids before I start working. Coloring sheets, playdough, stickers, and puzzles all work well. But, my two kids choose to simply play together most often. Work-at home parents who have full-time jobs will generally need childcare, though. Planning your day in such a way that one partner looks after the children while the other works will create relationship problems in the long run, so having a babysitter may be a better option.
Don’t forget about me-time
Working from home blurs the boundaries between family time and work time by definition. It’s up to you to guard those boundaries and make decisions that enable you to produce the best work possible, while also being an active participant in your family. Have you got your routine covered, are your kids happy, and do you still have a wonderful relationship with your partner? None of that will last long if you never get any rest. I highly advise anyone who works from home to take at least one day a week off, and to make time to relax, work out, or go for a coffee with a friend, too.
Olivia’s blog, Trying To Conceive, is dedicated to women in their childbearing years. You’ll find everything from an ovulation calendar to tips on weight loss after pregnancy right there.