Working at home and balancing my responsibilities as a mom, school volunteer, and Girl Scout leader has been a huge undertaking this fall. My organizational skills have been stretched to the limit, and I’ve experienced way too much mommy guilt. As we head into 2014, I’m focusing on working smarter while finding a healthy balance between work and family.
I asked Erin Flynn, author of Mastering the Mommy Track: Juggling Career and Kids In Uncertain Times, to share her advice with my fellow WAHMs.
Are you a Mom contemplating working from your home office? There are some issues you need to think about if you are contemplating this career move or have recently taken the plunge. I have been a work at home mom (WAHM) since 2008 when my first daughter was born. I enjoy it, but it is certainly not for everyone.
Across the U.S., Moms are forging their own career paths, juggling home duties with client responsibilities. There are 10.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States, according to the Center for Women’s Business Research. No statistics exist on how many are run by stay-at-home moms, but I’m sure it is growing in numbers. I have met many businesswomen in the Philadelphia area alone.
As I mentioned in my book Mastering the Mommy Track: Juggling Career and Kids In Uncertain Times, both of my girls stayed home with me the first eighteen months of their lives until they went to daycare. I scheduled conference calls, deadlines, and meetings around their feedings.
Work from home areas to consider
- If you are self-employed, you really will have to hustle. By hustle, I mean attend networking events, join organizations both local and in your field, and even – Gasp! – make the dreaded cold calls.
- Determine your payment terms. Make sure you have signed contracts and upfront payments. You have to be firm about this because businesses will take advantage of you if they can. Companies usually pay employees first before consultants and freelancers. Be careful – you do not get stiffed.
- Limit distractions. Be careful with phone calls when the kids are home. You do not want to set calls with major clients when the kids are home. You can always tackle household chores later in the day. The first priority should be getting your work done.
- Lean on your support system. Lucky you if you have family in the immediate area who can help out with school drop-offs and pick-ups or food shopping and babysitting. If you do not have that, think about doing a carpool with a neighbor or friend. If you or your spouse get sick, you need to have an emergency contact(s) lined up who will be there to help you out.
- Keep your work and home life separate. Unless there is a deadline, shut your phone and email down at a certain time each night. This is something I need to work on because I check email at night and have trouble disconnecting from technology. Shutting down allows you the chance to read, watch television or just unwind after the kids have gone to sleep.
Good luck with your career shift to become a WAHM!
More Reading from Erin Flynn
- Mom Power
- Self Care Vital for Moms
- Living Well on Less While Juggling Kids and Career
- Erin Flynn’s book: Mastering the Mommy Track: Juggling Career and Kids In Uncertain Times
Create Link Inspire, The Mommy Club