A Precarious Balancing Act: Working from Home When You Are Overstretched

Working mother

Ninety percent of mums who work from home say they chose their careers because of the flexibility offered, reports Parenting.com. However, the reality of balancing a busy home-based career with laundry, ballet rehearsal, and daily kid drama requires more flexibility from the mother than the job. If you are feeling overstretched by trying to balance too much, let the following tips for work at home mums help you out:

Establish Clear Boundaries

When you work from home, it can be hard to focus on work when the floor needs to be hoovered, and it can be impossible to enjoy a board game with the children when you know that files need to be organized. The key is creating clear boundaries.

Give yourself a daily and weekly work schedule just as you would if you worked outside of the home. Parents.com suggests having a detailed calendar to keep yourself sane. Everything from your scheduled work hours to your kids’ lessons and activities should be included. To make sure the calendar is always current and set aside a few minutes each week to have a family meeting and review the schedule for the upcoming week.

Create a Village

Just because others mums may not be working at home doesn’t mean that they don’t have their own challenges. Whether they have wild toddlers, unhelpful husbands, or taxing work schedules outside of the home, all mums need help, and it may be up to you to organize a supportive village.

Think about how you can get other mums and families involved in your life in positive ways. Can you split the cooking duties with a neighbor? One night she makes dinner for both families, and the next night you do it. Can you use a site like OzCarPool.com to set up rides for your children to get to school or to ballet rehearsal? Can you invite an older neighbor in to work as a mother’s helper with the little ones while you work? The more help you can get from your village, the easier your life will be.

Reduce Time out of the House

The less time you spend out of the house running errands or attending meetings for your business, the more time you have to devote to the home front. Rather than wasting time picking up copies at the printers, for example, you can help you child with their homework. Services like online printing allow you to remotely create business cards, brochures, and more and have them delivered directly to your door, saving you precious time. Rather than driving to a meeting with your boss and the rest of your sales team, you can meet virtually for a conference call. Look carefully over everything that takes too much time in the car and out of the house and see how you can eliminate those tasks.

Take Care of Yourself

The complicated balancing act that is required by working at home while you have children is not an easy one to maintain. Even the best tight rope walker falls off once in a while. Give yourself a break when you need it, and make sure that you have quiet moments built into your day. Even if you just do a couple of sun salutations while the morning coffee brews, your business and your family will be better off for it.

This is a guest post by Margaret Reynolds.  Margaret divides her time being a stay-at-home mom and mompreneur who runs a retail online business.

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