Working from home has become a reality for many parents these days, which keeps them from having to place their small children in day care centers, and still earn a paycheck. However, working from home also means you will have to be diligent and creative about balancing work and parenthood. Your home and office will be one in the same, and you’ll need to set some boundaries to make it run smoothly.
First, set aside “work hours.” These will be dedicated times that you devote to your job. The rest of the time will be given to home and family duties. The beauty of working from home means that you can usually set these hours yourself. Some work from home parents might set their office hours for early in the morning before the rest of the family gets up, during nap times, or after the kids are in bed. That said, children don’t have office hours – and things like sickness, fussy babies, or toddlers that won’t nap may interfere with your job.
The other issue to tackle is figuring out a space to work. Ideally, this would be an extra room that you can close off when you are not working. If you don’t have a room to devote to this, it might be a small alcove or walk in closet you can convert to a workspace. Or, like many parents who work from home, your office might be the laptop and the kitchen table.
If you have infants or toddlers, keep a basket of toys handy that comes out during “work hours” if they aren’t sleeping. Additionally, with older kids, you might have your work hours be a time when they are in preschool or at a mother’s day out program. You could also trade childcare with another mom one day a week that would let you get a large amount of work done at once, freeing up the rest of your week for family.
Let the slow cooker be your best friend. Meal planning and prepping ahead of time will be a huge time saver if you are working from home. There are tons of great freeze ahead slow cooker recipes that you can prepare ahead of time. Choosing a couple of days a month to assemble slow cooker meals will shave hours of cooking out of your week, and give your family a hot meal at dinner time.
Remember why you wanted to work from home in the first place. You wanted to work from home so that you could be available to your children. It doesn’t mean that you won’t have days where things get off schedule or don’t get done, but it means you are By setting aside time for work and time for family, and planning ahead, you will be able to give your best to both.