Guest post from Erin Odom
In part 1 of “Making Working at Home Work for You,” I wrote about choosing a job that fits in with your unique gifts and personality. For example, if you do not like being on the computer, freelance writing may not be a good option for you. But if you’re a good seamstress and saleswoman, perhaps you can try your hand at selling homemade clothing.
Today, I’m addressing the scheduling aspect of working at home. As a homemaker, you know how busy keeping a home is in and of itself. How do work-at-home moms fit in one more thing?
It can be very challenging. I don’t pretend to have it all figured out. In fact, I still struggle in this area, and I’m finding that with each life season I continue to flesh out what working at home looks like for me and my family.
Here are some suggestions, and I hope you join in on the conversation in the comments, so I can learn how you do this as well!
1. If you are single or married without children, now may be the most flexible time of your life (if you plan on being married or having children one day). Please do not take that as an insult. Use this season of life to discover potential work-at-home jobs that fit your talents.
2. If you have one child, you will also be able to maintain somewhat of a flexible work-at-home schedule.
When I had one child, and she was still taking two naps per day, I worked: before she woke up, during both her morning and afternoon naps and in the evenings. At that season in life, it was very easy for me to write 3-4 articles per week for some local newspapers because I was able to conduct day-time interviews on the phone while she was napping.
Things got a little more challenging when she dropped her morning nap. I was still able to fit in most everything by utilizing mornings, her afternoon nap and evenings after she went to bed.
When my second baby came along, I was able to maintain this schedule during her newborn days, but by the time she was more mobile (and stopped sleeping most of the day), I had to cut back–especially on conducting phone interviews. The time my baby passed gas (rather loudly) while I was bouncing her on my knees while interviewing someone on the phone? Yeah–that was a little embarrassing. I finally had to tell my editor I needed a break from writing news and feature stories and wanted to concentrate on columns, my personal blog and my eBook editing business.
3. If you have older children who do not nap (or whom you homeschool), things may be more challenging for you.
Here are some ideas:
- Hire a mother’s helper: This is something my family has not yet done, although we’ve contemplated it. If you bring in a substantial amount of income, you may want to consider investing some of it in hiring a young teenage girl to care for your children a few hours per week while you work in your home office or even down the street at a coffee shop, etc. I’ve heard of work-at-home moms paying very young girls (age 11-13) as low as $3 per hour and older, more experienced girls upwards of $15-$20 per hour. (Of course, you wouldn’t want to leave home if the sitter is too young or inexperienced.)
- Designate one day per week as your “office day”: I’ve heard of some work-at-home moms spending every Saturday at a coffee shop, getting most of their work done while their husbands are caring for their children. This was previously impossible for my family, as my husband worked on Saturdays, but as of just a few weeks ago, we are now looking into Saturdays being my main work day. (No sleeping in allowed!)
What are some ideas you have for making working at home work for you?
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