Becoming a mum is the most important, demanding and rewarding job that you will ever do. It does however take the meaning of a full time job to another level; there are no set hours, paid holiday or lunch breaks, just the benefit of unconditional love to get you through the day! Mums working from home already face the challenge of multi tasking the household chores with caring for children, doing the food shopping and looking after themselves. But throw official employment into the equation as well and you have mums working from home juggling two very worthy and time consuming jobs.
There is no denying that motherhood is 24/7, but where it becomes tough for mums working from home is when they feel that those 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, need to double to enable the two jobs to be done. However it doesn’t have to be a constant struggle for time, with a few ground rules and some organisation mums working from home can effectively be employed in both jobs – or mums can think about setting up a business on their own (see some more useful articles on part time home work).
Firstly accept that you are a working mum, don’t fight it and make life harder for yourself by having a full day with your kids and then working all night. You will need to get help with your children so that you can get work done, if you haven’t got family or friends to set up a rota with then consider childcare. Just because mums working from home don’t go into an office doesn’t mean that you have to work all day and then all night. The benefit of working from home means that your children do not have to be looked after all day, you can plan your hours so that you can still spend quality time with them; do the school run, have lunch with them or finish for the afternoon and take them out.
If childcare is an option research it fully and decide what method would work best and how many days or hours a week you would need. Don’t feel guilty about taking them to a nursery or employing a nanny; mums working from home need the time to actually do their job and just because you are at home doesn’t mean that the work is any easier. Having set childcare plans is essential to giving your week some structure, it means you can clearly separate work time from mum time so it won’t feel like you are tied to two jobs 24/7.
Mums working from home should be organised and make it easy for themselves, have a set routine for the week and stick to it. This will make you feel in control and your children feel settled. Be methodical with your routine and have a time scheduled in for everything including domestic chores, then when you do have some time to yourself you wont feel like you have to catch up with something as there is a day and time already allocated for it.
Be strict about your working hours and don’t let it over flow into your family time especially at the weekends, mums working from home deserve a weekend too just like those mums who go out to work. Evenings are a great time to get work done but don’t work every night, the key to being a great mum and a great employee is to get some rest and switch off from everything once in a while.
Feeling trapped and claustrophobic can be common for mums working from home as their house is their home and their office, so where possible keep it separate. If you have a spare room in the house make it exclusively your work space, when you are in there close the door so you do not get distracted, even if you are the only one in the house. And when you have finished working, shut the door so that there is a clear divide between your work and personal life. If you haven’t got the extra space for an office then think about where in the house you can set yourself up and won’t be constantly reminded of work. Consider using a laptop that can be put away and if you need space for paperwork try and have it behind closed doors of a cupboard. Have a separate phone for work so that when you have finished your working hours you can switch on your answer phone and you won’t get interrupted.
There are still going to be times when the pressure mounts up for mums working from home and you may feel like it is constant. But when these moments occur it’s important to focus on the positives, look back at your week and see how much you have achieved and the time you have managed to have on your own away from everything. Carry on and stick to your routine and you will soon be in control again. Working from home and being a mum isn’t an impossible combination, it just takes a bit of self discipline and organisation and you will soon find the perfect mix to making both your jobs enjoyable and a success.