How many parents would like to work from home? These days there are a number of different job opportunities where you can put in flexible work hours from the comfort of home. Working from home is a dream come true for many mums and dads as it means they can kiss those annoying commutes, daycare fees and long days without your kids goodbye. Instead you can say hello to blissful days while you work quietly and the kids colour all day, taking breaks to offer cuddles and smiles.
Well… not quite.
Working from home means that your house is going to suffer. It means that your keyboard will probably be stained with peanut butter. It means that when the kids have been quiet for ten minutes, you can expect to find the bedroom covered in baby powder. It means, well for me anyway, that work and house life becomes one in the same and housework suffers. Every. Single. Day. Because work comes with deadlines. Laundry doesn’t.
I am one of the lucky ones that work from home and have since the day the kids were born. I have two preschool aged kids and around 35 hours of work to complete each week. They are home with me almost every day of the week and, while it is a challenge to keep them entertained and complete my to-do-list each day, I really wouldn’t have it any other way. With this being said, it does take some getting used to and I spend at least an hour of the day cleaning up from the chaos that has ensued while I am busy clicking the mouse and typing away. So here are some tips on how to work from home…with kids. And survive.
Between the hours of 7 and 4, just don’t come over. Because it won’t be pretty. You won’t be able to see the floor. There will be different activities set up in every corner of the house, from puzzles to playdoh, from doll’s clothes to race cars. And the kids will be back and forth from one activity to another. Just accept that, yep, my house looks like a daycare center on a really bad day. But, it kind of is. And that’s okay. Set up various activities for the kids to do each day. This should give you a couple of hours to get stuff done.
Find Your Balance
Working an eight hour day when you have kids at home with you is not really possible. 9-5 doesn’t exist unless they are in school. I usually work for twelve hours… but in between those 12 hours there are several breaks to play with the kids, make them snacks and lunch, outings to the shops or soccer, a trip to the park for a bike ride and much more. So work a couple hours in the morning, take a couple of hours off to spend with the kids, then back to work before making dinner and having a break. Finish the day with another couple of hours after the kids have gone to sleep. Sure, the days seem longer but you also get to spend every day with your kids. And every day there is a balance of work and play.
Rely on Daycare Days
Some days, you really need to work without kids, especially if you have meetings or are speaking to clients. So plan these important jobs on the days the kids have daycare or can be dropped off at a family member’s house.
Find Your Productive Time
Kids have ups and downs every day. My kids tend to behave first thing in the morning. They are more than happy to play quietly for a couple of hours before they decide they are hungry, grumpy, bored, etc. So I use the early mornings (their happy time) to get work done. By 4, my kids turn into rapid beasts that must be kept outside which is when I pack up and take them out. Work with their routine. and their good and bad times during the day. Some kids may actually be better behaved in the afternoons and this may be the best time to get your work done.
Have a Second Office
Working from home can get a little tedious for both you and the kids. So have a few Wi-Fi friendly places you can go. Macdonalds, Hungry Jacks and plenty of kid’s cafes will have free Wi-Fi so your kids can play, have a little snack and you can work over a coffee.
Work With Your Partner
If you are running a home business or have a deadline, it’s nice to have assurance that you will have at least a few hours each week to catch up and get the things you need done without the chance that the kids won’t behave. Because they won’t behave all the time. And some days you just won’t get your work done.
But you may come up with a plan with hubby that there is a certain time during the week or on weekends that he is in charge of the household and you work. For example, Wednesday night from 5-10 may be your ‘work time.’ So lock yourself in your office and get stuff done while your partner makes dinner, bathes the kids and gets them ready for bed.
Looking to Work from Home?
If you are interested in working from home, we have plenty of great work-from-home job opportunities, from freelance writing to graphic design. If you have been out of the workforce for a while, then it might be a good idea to consider taking a short course or obtaining a certificate or diploma in Management, Administration, Graphic Design or IT, depending on what you are looking to do.
Martin College is one of the leading institutes for Business, Technology and Design, providing busy mums with a number of online study-from-home options to enhance their skills and help them secure a position in a field they are passionate about. Many of the programs and certificates offered can help secure a work-from-home position in industries such as Tourism, Event Management, Graphic Design and IT.
Take the plunge today and find out more about the many affordable study programs available through Martin College.