Working From Home
One solution to the work/stay-at-home mom debate is to work from home. With today's modern technology, it is very easy to set up a home office. However, there are several things to consider before you make the switch from office to home working.
Are You A Disciplined Person?
You need to be very disciplined and organized if you want to work from home. Being able to set your working hours and stick to them, baring emergencies of course, is very important to your success as a work-at-home mom. If you schedule your time so that you are working while baby is sleeping, the kids are at school, or when they are in bed, you are half way there. Your friends also have to know that you are working and aren't available for a half-hour schmooze every day. It's also all too easy to turn on the computer and get sucked into playing games, surfing the internet or chatting online, so you need to keep that time separate from your working hours.
Do you have a space you can dedicate as a home office? You can't run an efficient business if you have to clear your table of work every time you need to feed the kids! You (and your kids) need to know that this is your work space - whether you have set up a spare room as a complete office or just have your computer desk in a corner in the living room.
Having a good computer and fast broadband internet connection can help you run your business efficiently. A computer can deal with your accounts, send and receive information quickly and efficiently and even enable you to run an on-line company. Of course you may not need a computer to run the bulk of your business, but they can still be useful. If for example you are a dressmaker, a good computer program can show your clients different styles and outfits which can prevent them making costly mistakes. A dedicated office phone number with an answer-phone is another essential. You don't want your three year old answering the phone to your most important client!
Are you experienced in the field? Have you kept up-to-date while having your children or do you need to take a refresher course? Do you want a change? Perhaps you can turn your favorite hobby into a business. Starting work in a completely new field where you have little or no experience is not for the faint hearted! It's also a good idea to take a "running a small business" course at your local community college. This will give you the basics:-bookkeeping, budgeting, business projections, government regulations, taxes, etc. A good course will help you look at your business idea and see if it's workable in your situation. You may have the greatest idea in the world, but if you have to dedicate a 100 hours a week to the project, it might not be so feasible if you've just had a new baby!
Working from home can be very isolating. One way of getting round this is to set up a 'virtual water cooler' with your friends who also work from home. You can agree to meet daily on a social network website, or perhaps even meet in a local coffee shop once or twice a week.
Working from home isn't for everyone but it's a great way to balance the demands of work and family. So why not be a work-at home mom and get the best of both worlds?