Working from home + kids doesn’t have to = chaos. This challenging equation can be made to work if you tackle it with the right attitude and are prepared to be adaptable. Here are some super-wise tips that give insight into the whole work/kids/home/mum dynamic.
Don’t Swim Against the Tide
If your kids are angels in the morning, but devils in the afternoon, take this into consideration with your work schedule. Prioritise the most important work you need to get through for the morning, focusing on less brain-draining tasks in the afternoon. Don’t use the TV as a day-long babysitter, but if there is a favourite show your child adores and will sit glued to for half an hour, time your work to coincide with it. You will be amazed at how skilled you become at short sharp bursts of productive activity.
Keep them Busy
Organise a set of structured activities for your child whilst you work. Regular and routine tasks and activities that allow and encourage independent play and creativity, such as role playing games, online puzzles, drawing and colouring are a great idea. Rotate favourite toys so that what gets pulled out of the toy box is constantly fresh and entertaining – this is an easy and effective technique for keeping children amused beyond average boredom thresholds.
If you are a lucky work at home mum, you’ll have a kid that’s a napper. If there is a regular sleep time that kicks in every day, don’t devote those precious two hours to housework or cooking – get down to your work straightaway. That’s two hours of peace is like working gold dust and will hopefully buy you time later on to spend quality hours with your child and other family members.
You may be working from home because you wanted to spend more time with your child as they grew up – but sometimes the reality is different. The balance between getting work completed at home and devoting sufficient care and attention to your child is hard to get right – sometimes working from home can be a huge guilt- trip for mums because small children don’t understand why mum is there, but not available.
When such problems raise their heads it’s great to know there is back-up available and you can outsource a little of the childcare burden to others. For those in the London area there are agencies that supply fully vetted professional nannies on a very flexible basis. It may be for a few hours or a few days, or even more. For work at home mums who are looking to find a nanny agency London offers plenty of choice. Internet based nanny agencies that organise everything from finding the right candidate to initial interviewing and processing of paperwork, are a new and increasingly popular option among parents. For finding the right nanny agency London is a large city, but the internet agencies cover wide areas of the metro area and strive to provide local staff where possible.
As well as outsourcing on the childcare occasionally, take a look at some of the more time consuming yet tedious and simple tasks that take up your day. Outsourcing such jobs to those who have more expertise, gets it completed faster (and probably cheaper in the great scheme of things) and frees you up to focus on the core elements of growing the business and having more family time. If your home working business is starting to make progress, investing in outsourcing makes sense from a domestic and strategic point of view.
The balance of sharing the parenting role with your partner sometimes feels a little skewed when you are always at home with the children. Keep an open dialogue with your partner about your needs and when you could do with extra support. Most couples work out routines where the children go with the other partner for a day per week or an afternoon – giving the other person time to decompress slightly, and get more work done!
Remember there’s more to life than just work and make sure you don’t sit glued to your desk until midnight every day of the week. This is unfair on your partner and on yourself, is unsustainable and will ultimately leave you exhausted. Have a regular date night to spend alone together and set time limits for the late working hours you keep. Looking after your marriage as well as your business is another balancing act you need to nail, but hey, you’ve managed it with the kids – compared to them, let’s hope your spouse is a simpler proposition..!