Tips For Work-At-Home Mothers

A collection of tips from real home-working moms for optimizing your work time without making your children feel the pinch.

Today many women want to return to being home with the kids without completely abandoning the career world. Being a work-at-home mom means constantly balancing the demands of a job with the needs of the family. Although nothing can make this balancing act easy, some tips from other work-at-home moms may help.

Choose your work carefully.

Traditional jobs with traditional hours do not usually fit the needs of the work-at-home mom. Often, freelance positions offer more of the flexibility needed. Jobs that have portions that can be completed in the car while you wait are often helpful. Moms find they spend a lot of time waiting - at the doctor's office, at dance practice, at sporting events - all of these offer possible working hours.

Flexibility is key.

Break each job into steps, with quickly reachable goals. You cannot often complete one whole job in the bits of time available but often you can break the job into workable steps. Resist the urge to be overly optimistic about the work hours available to you - always budget your time assuming emergencies can and will happen. Don't wait for long periods of open time, learn to fit some work into five-minute lulls. It is also helpful to learn to work in odd environments. One work-at-home mom does paper work while seated on the floor next to the bathtub while her pre-schoolers play in the water.

Learn to Love Chaos.

Many people believe they cannot work with background noise. Most work-at-home moms learn to adapt. One of the places cited as best for getting work done is a fast food restaurant with a play yard. The moms just cart their work out to the little tables next to the play equipment and worked while the kids play.

Learn to Plan Ahead.

The number one enemy of the working mom is boredom - not in herself, but in her kids. Bored kids are demanding. Bored kids often get into trouble. Plan ahead to have simple crafts - coloring, cutting, and painting - for your child to do at his desk, while you work at yours. Young children love this kind of side-by-side work arrangement. You might also want to keep a collection of intriguing toys --action figures, puzzles, small cars, etc - in a basket near your desk to keep your toddlers occupied, but close.

Kids can learn to help too.

Children can learn that sometimes mom just has to work before she can play. One mom uses a timer to help her kids be patient through her work time. She sets the timer for about 50 minutes and tells her kids that they need to play quietly or watch a video until the timer rings - then she will stop working and they will do something together. Make sure every day has time when you focus totally on your child and enjoy yourself. Don't let your drive to succeed in work cause you to miss this special time with your kids.

Don't try to do is all yourself.

Link up with other working moms; they are a great source of support and work tips. Try trading babysitting with other mothers. Not only will you have those hours while your child is being babysat; you will also have stray minutes on your babysitting daya while your child plays nicely in your home with his friend. Another possibility is "hiring" an older neighbor child to be a mother's helper, playing with your child in the afternoon after school while you work in the next room. Get your spouse involved in childcare, too. Make a weekly meeting with your spouse so that you can work out his childcare hours.

Many women are making work and kids fit together. Some days the fit is a little tight, but the rewards last forever.

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