Looking after children is a full-time job, so much credit goes out to business mums and mumpreneurs who regularly juggle looking after the kids with working from home.
If this is something you want to do and don’t know how to make working from home while looking after the kids work for you, here are some tips:
1. Set aside a good time in the day for you and the kids to work
It sounds odd, but there really is no point stressing yourself out trying to look after an active toddler while they are awake and climbing chairs and trying to feed the plug sockets if you can work around their sleep patterns.
If you set and work to a routine from the outset, you’ll get your child used to a pattern of events for the day and children like to know what to expect from you and their day, so it’s a win win.
Make sure your child understands that you cannot always be at their disposal, as it is an important thing for them to be learn early on in life.
2. Create a workspace – even if it’s the kitchen table
Having a clear place to work lets your family know when you’re working, too. If that means using the dining table, so be it! As long as you’re not trying to overhaul your filing during dinner time, you’ll be fine.
If you have a spare room, all the better. It’s a place where you can shut the door (when you have older children, or when your spouse is at home), and that gets the message across that you are working.
Remember, though, that it works both ways – don’t stay in your working bubble all day everyday – set a work schedule and try to stick with it.
If you use the house phone for business, you’ll need to train your children not to pick up the phone at certain times of the day.
Better still, get an extra phone line, and buy a phone that is completely different to anything else in the house. An advanced brand to look out for are the landline phones by Gigaset, which are also easy to handle for children. You can choose the design of choice – we’ve seen some snazzy leopard print phones that will stand out a mile from the usual white, silver and black phones, and will make sure there is no confusion about which phone is ringing.
4. Let family time be family time
There’s nothing more annoying for any family than other things encroaching on much-needed family time. This is why it’s important to set and agree the boundaries with your family so that resentment doesn’t set in.
Agree to work to a certaion schedule, agree the days that this will happen, and then agree what you will do together as a family when you’re not working. This is something that even small children can understand, and it will help make life as a mumpreneur less of a stress.
Founder and editor of www.motherswhowork.co.uk, a mother of two wonderful children, wife, entrepreneur (check out www.geekschool.co.uk) and journalist.