We always hear about how great it is to be a work-at-home mom, and how you won’t need daycare because you’re working from home, but is that truly the reality of it all? Working from home can be one of the most difficult things to do for a parent. If you’re there, your child will want your attention. Of course many parents get their work in during nap time or after the children are in bed, but that doesn’t mean you don’t make sacrifices. It’s not so bad when a project that’s being worked on is flexible enough to allow interruption, but what about those things that require a large amount of time to take care of and finish? Uninterrupted it might go by at a decent pace, but with children around it just takes that much longer.
The people over at MomLogic feel the same way, and so they recently did an interview with Julie Lenzer Kirk who wrote The ParentPreneur Edge: What Parenting Teaches About Building a Successful Business.
Mom-Logic: Is it ever really possible to work at home if you have small kids at home too?
Julie Lenzer Kirk: There are many benefits to working from home with young children, but there are also challenges to overcome, such as the interruption factor. Some tasks can be done in piece-meal fashion, but there are many that require a solid block of focus time to complete. One way many work-at-home moms work is when their child is napping. Another approach is to trade-off time watching your child with another mom who is interested in finding those blocks of time, too. You watch their child one day and they return the favor another. I have also talked to moms who have a neighborhood teenager come over after school just to play with the kids so they are occupied and Mom can get some work done. If you do that, make sure you stay out the children’s sight for as long as possible. Once they see you, it is hard to go back into seclusion.
For many moms, though, the evening hours, after kids are in bed, provide the most opportunity for uninterrupted focus time. Personally, I did my best work between the hours of 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. To do that, however, you have to make sure you’re taking care of yourself by getting some exercise and eating well. Otherwise, you’ll drive yourself into the ground.
Another big challenge after the kids are in school is to not get pulled into household tasks while you’re supposed to be working. At least in the beginning, I found the lure of laundry that needed washing, which was sitting within sight of my desk, hard to resist. Over time as you get more disciplined with your work, you can integrate some home-related tasks such as grocery shopping or running errands into your work day (going to the store in the middle of the day when it is empty is a bonus!) without it completely derailing your efforts.
To read more of this interview, click here.