The Wall Street Journal:

It’s the most oft-cited rule for telecommuters – and more parents are breaking it all the time: Never try to work from home with small children unless you have child-care help.

More working parents are doing double duty to save money on child care. For home-based parents, this can mean plenty of TV-viewing to occupy kids, cookie and candy bribes to gain quiet time, interrupted phone calls and projects and lots of frustration.

One work-at-home mom made red and green paper circles to lay down around her desk as a signal to her young school-age children when it was OK to interrupt her. Partly because she rarely used the red circle, it worked. Other parents construct byzantine work schedules around their child’s sleep time or their spouse’s time at home. I’ve been there myself, bribing or begging my children when they were small for just a few more minutes to work.

Shawna Lee Coronado, a full-time, home-based author and blogger, spends evenings preparing “craft packs” of art and puppetry materials for her daughter, after cutting out summer camp and after-school care. When her daughter, 8, is home in the summer, Ms. Coronado, of Warrenville, Ill., encourages her to read, practice the piano or do chores while she works. Even then, “you get interrupted a million times a day and you have to tolerate that,” Ms. Coronado says. And “if she’s standing next to my desk, staring at me,” she adds, she concludes “there’s no choice … I’m going to have to just chuck it for the day.”

Photo by cambodia4kidsorg.