Being a parent is rewarding, working from home is equally so. These two jobs share some similarities. Working from home, and being a parent are quite possibly the hardest thing one will do. When you combine these two tasks you explore deeper the meaning of endurance.
One pitfall that many work from home parents can fall into is feeling guilty. When you begin a career from home it is often much harder than entering the workforce. You do not leave your home so you seem to be available even when you must complete work. Children in the beginning do not understand that they must wait. A new parent may feel even more guilty if there are babies in the home. Our instincts say that the children come first, no matter what deadline we are under.
Starting a business from home takes a lot of work. Often times I work well into the early morning to meet a goal. Clients expect you to be professional regardless of your parental status. They do not understand sick children, science fair projects, or frozen water pipes. Learning early on to balance, your parental duties as well as your professional ones, will help you stay on track and get both jobs done.
If you have older children adopt the five minute rule. After the first six months, of my career, I realized that I would never get work done with the kids in the house. It seemed that every few seconds I was answering to, "MOM!?!?!?" The kids simply didn't understand work mode. I needed to develop a system so that I was still available to them, while completing work. The 5 minute rule was born. Now when my older children want something they must come quietly to the desk, start the egg timer, and wait five minutes. This is, of-course, if no one is bleeding and the house isn't on fire. After five minutes of waiting if the question is still important they can ask me. Most of the time they just interrupt me for a quick kiss or a "What's for dinner?" This rule leads to the next.
The relay system. If one child comes, waits five minutes, and asks if they can go and play they must relay the answer to the rest of the children. Whether the answer is 'yes or no' doesn't matter. This stops five separate children from asking me the same question. If I tell one to get in the tub, I mean they all need to take a bath, so they begin to get ready. If one child can have a snack, they all get one. Issuing blanket judgments is much easier than stopping every 5 minutes; because the egg timer is going off like assembly line bells.
Did I mention assembly lines? Each child in the house is responsible for something. If they make a snack, one child prepares, another child hands out plates, and another loads the dishwasher when they are done. My oldest children are 10, 9, and 7. They are easily responsible enough to make a snack and clean up. This goes the same for many other chores. When I am on a strict deadline and the work has to be done we all work as a team.
Being a team means more than the kids pitching in. Your spouse needs to help to and often their job is much more important. Sometimes a work at home parent is made to feel guilty or inadequate by their spouse. Businesses do not make millions over night, if they did we would all be doing it by now. Starting a business from home is a labor of love. Money, and jobs are slow, it takes a while to build reputation and followers who will want your work. Your work at home job will take much more time than eight hours a day in the beginning. Your spouse may began to feel jealous, angry, and displeased because it is hard to see tangible results. As a work at home parent, whether mom or dad, you need support from your family.
We all experience hardships in the beginning of a work at home career. We all have known guilt for working long hours, frustration from clients who want the best for little pay, and elation at waking up to see money in our accounts. This is a roller coaster ride and it isn't for everyone. Knowing your goals, and establishing a system your family can live with, will put you on the path to reaching them.