By Denise Willms
At first glance, the lifestyle of a work at home mom seems idyllic - earning money from home doing something you love while, magically, the kids play quietly in the corner or take their naps when they're supposed to.
Ha! Any real work at home mom will tell you that just isn't so. In fact, keeping the kids out from underfoot while you work, and still making time to spend with them every day, is usually an ongoing challenge.
Here are some of the strategies that I've used, and that other moms have shared with me over the years, to manage the kids when you work from home.
Send the kids to a daycare or dayhome. I know, you want to work from home so you don't have to send your kids to someone else for the day. But if having them home is keeping you from getting your work done, this can be a lifesaver. The good news is, because you won't be commuting, and because you have control over the hours you work, they may not have to go to daycare as often or as long as if you held a job outside the home.
Hire a mother's helper. Is there a teenager in your neighborhood who would like to earn some extra cash by playing with your kids for a few hours each day? They don't cost as much as a dayhome provider, and there is the added benefit of your children staying in your own home.
Work around your children's schedules. Some moms find it most practical to work whenever they're able to... during nap times and late at night.
Switch with your spouse. If you have a supportive spouse, a popular approach is to switch roles with him when he comes home from work. Have him take care of the kids while you do your work for the day.
Movies and TV. I hate to recommend using movies and television as babysitters, but if used carefully, these can be a great help!
Teach children to work independently. I was homeschooling my children when I began to work from home. I would give them work to focus on for several minutes at a time, while I did my own work. They learned to work independently, and I was able to work at home while homeschooling my children.
Most importantly, yield to reality. For some work at home moms, your business may not take off the way you want it to while your children are still young. If being available for them is a priority for you - as it is for me and many others - there will probably be times when your business will be shortchanged so you can fulfill your children's needs. The good news is that as your children grow, they will need you less and less, giving you more time to focus on your business.
And when that time comes, you will miss the days when young children vied for your attention.
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