Working From Home – Setting Boundaries
Have you ever finished a weekend and wondered what happened? I mean…what the heck happened?
In my prior life (before kids), weekends were a mix of fun and relaxation. I slept in, I cleaned (occasionally) after work and leisurely ran errands (by myself) during my lunch break or on my way home from work. Oh- and I saw a lot of movies, and certainly connected with many friends. Now it is quite a different story..I have three kids and lots of stuff to do.
It can be overwhelming if I allow it and if not planned well- my precious weekends are no longer memorable for anyone- my kids, my husband, or me.
During the week, my working from home career as a Sales VP is a blessing. My flexible schedule means that when I am not traveling, I can spend parts of the day with my kids. For this I am very lucky as when I am working from home, I avoid the typical stresses that full-time working mothers face such as frantic mornings and shuttling to and from daycare. On the weekends, however, when most 9-5 employees are enjoying their time off, I am reminded that the luxury of “working from home” means just that. I can work from home and do most weekends.
I had to learn to set boundaries for myself. Below are three ways to avoid feeling like you're “all work and no play”.
Get an early start: On the weekends, lying in bed until noon sounds wonderful! However, if you give yourself the same early start that you give your employer all week, you will enjoy much more time with your family. It is painful, I know, but if you normally wake up at 8 am on Saturday, try waking up 2 hours earlier and get it moving. Get your work done. Look at it this way, being on time for your family is just as important as being on time for work.
Stop being super mommy and get everyone involved: No matter how much work you accomplish during the week or whether you are home or away, the weekend brings an overwhelming sense of should. As the mom, I should attend all sporting events, I should go to the grocery store, I should cook, should clean the house… you get the picture. This leaves me exhausted and set up for failure. Get the household together and make a list of what needs to be done. Then, get everyone involved in accomplishing the goals. Work as a team. For example, have one child set the table and another can help clear. Have your husband or partner get dinner started while you run and pick up the dry cleaning. Or try alternating sporting event attendance and laundry duty with your husband or partner. By lowering your expectations and getting the family involved, you'll feel less of the burden of doing it all by yourself. Who knows, you may even find time for yourself!
Schedule family time: Ironically, when working from home, I am tempted to go into workaholic mode. While it's an easy way to boost your productivity, that mindset can easily lead to feeling disconnected from your family and creates a resentful situation where you and your spouse spend little meaningful time together. Also, fitting in some quality time with your kids can be difficult. Try to stick to a schedule with your family where you agree to put work aside, done or not, and focus on your family.
The most important important rule of the weekend: Have some fun!
Author is Jennifer Barbin. Jennifer Barbin and Julia Romanow are both moms and the founders of ProudWorkingMom.com. This article was originally posted on September 25, 2013.
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