Any parent who has attempted to focus on a task while also taking care of children knows about coping as a work at home parent. That challenge is a part of their every day life for a work at home parent. As parents, you have an important decision to face unless you have independent wealth or your spouse is very successful. Also, parents have to decide whether to work from home or to work outside the home.
There are many people who choose a traditional option of working outside of the home. Then, they find themselves having to spend way too much time away from their family. There is also the task of trying to juggle daycare and tend to health issues.
All of these issues are a necessary part of their children’s lives. It can be very overwhelming while people are still trying to succeed in the profession they have chosen.
Other parents have chosen the less traditional path to work from home. A work at home parent often struggles with other sorts of problems balancing home and work time. Although, a work at home parent isn’t subjected to the problems of daycare or of their child’s illness.
So, how can a work at home parent find the best balance that gives them the ability to be productive while working and also be good primary caregivers?
The first task a work at home parent needs to accomplish is to work out a priority list for the things they want to get done for the week. It’s better to plan conservatively for the week. Being that, there can be unexpected events that can derail a day without notice even in the best run homes.
Now, go back over your list and highlight the task that require your full concentration. For example, there may be something you cannot get done while reassembling a transformer!
The next step for a work at home parent will be working out two schedules. The first will cover your child’s day. I don’t mean that you need to plan out every minute. Though, you might give a general outline in half hour chunks. Try to strike a balance between activities that involve high-level parenting and low-level parenting.
For example, when my child first awakens he isn’t hungry and he doesn’t really want much from me. He is content to watch a little TV as he fully wakes up. This is a time of low-level parenting as I am nearby. Even so, he doesn’t require much from me then I am free to work.
We switch into high-parenting mode after he is fully awake. He wants to be fed and he is ready to play. I usually spend time interacting with him at this point. Perhaps, I help him set up art supplies or designing his train set.
I have a small window of time to focus on my own projects once he is completely engaged in his activities. He is well able to entertain himself. In addtion, he likes to share his games and art projects with me. In spite of this, I certainly cannot get anything done that requires a high level of concentration.
It is now time for high-level parenting again as we prepare lunch and then spend some time reading. This would then lead to a nap and I could have an hour or two of prime work time when my son was younger. However now he rarely naps. We struggled with this newly opened slot for a while.
Then, I decided he really needed some down time. We needed a little time apart and I needed time to get some serious work done.
My new plan involves him spending a quiet hour in his room as a work at home parent. I put in a CD (preferably one at least 60 minutes long). He can entertain himself quietly as he chooses within his room. He can read or play but he must be quiet. Some days he does end up taking a nap and other days we just enjoy a little break from each other.
I switch back into high-level parenting mode again after this break. We will play a game, go for a walk, or visit the park. In the summer this is the time we go to the community pool. My son understands that this time is his reward for letting me get some work done earlier in the day. This is my way of letting him know that he is important to me.
There are some evenings as a work at home parent when I will have some time to work after we have had some family time. My husband is good about spending some one-to-one time with our son. He takes care of the bathing and other necessary bedtime preparations. Most evenings I’m finished with work in time for taking care of the tuck-me-in and a bedtime story.
On most weekends my husband usually arranges several hours for either Saturday or Sunday. He does this so he can be the primary caregiver who is responsible for child care. This is a great time I can also get a lot of work done with the help of my husband being a work at home parent.
This is how I manage to operate a very profitable internet business. Granted, I also serve as the primary caregiver for my young son. I don’t work a 40-hour regular job week but I concentrate on accomplishing many small tasks throughout a day. In this way, I manage to meet my priorities and sometimes even more.
I also want to share a few more additional tips. This is how a work at home parent can create balance between work at home and family.
** Teach your children to be independent. My son is able to dress himself and he can even prepare snacks for himself. He might not be wearing clothes that I would have chosen for him. Then again, he does save me that much time and who else is going to see him wearing any odd ensemble?
I prepare fruit, juice boxes, water bottles, cheese and crackers that are easily available for him. In any case, he is able to serve himself when he’s hungry.
There may be times he brings me a juice box so I can insert the straw or maybe a package to open. I don’t have to worry about what he’s eating. He knows the house rules about messes and crumbs. My office, as a work at home parent, is next to the kitchen. That gives me the opportunity to observe or intervene if necessary.
** Teach your children to be responsible. Tell your child they are in charge of picking up toys and putting them where they belong. This will make life easier later on when you need to be taking care of household chores. Not only this, it will buy some time to get your work done.
** Schedule a play date. I have now learned that a play date is a win-win for a work at home parent. It is so much easier to keep a couple of four year olds entertained. Moreover, they will usually entertain each other. I get a few hours of time for me to concentrate on my work when it’s my time for him to reciprocate.
** Check out the available community activities. Does the library offer a story hour for the children? This gives me the opportunity to do much needed research in the library. I have time to make notes for upcoming projects or even time to log onto the internet.
My child loves visiting the library so we usually go there one other day of the week. He will play, look at books, or work on puzzles while I spend time getting some work done nearby. Similarly, I can also take a notebook or a laptop when we go to the park so he can play on the playground. I’ve can even get work done at the nearby McDonald’s playland.
Finally, your family and you will need to learn understanding and patience. A work at home parent needs to learn that the work you need to do will have to get done in small chunks. Your child will have to learn a few things even though she or he is your top priority. For one, it doesn’t mean their sudden needs for juice or something similar takes precedence over everything else.
Your entire family will need to learn that the housework comes third on your list of priorities. The whole family can help to cleanup the house if the entire family contributed to a mess.
A work at home parent has attempted to focus on multiple tasks while also taking care of their children. Be at peace! These great tips about coping as a work at home parent can help you succeed in working at home. It comes down to being a creative challenge in your every day life. You CAN do this.