Having a home-based business is a great way for moms to earn money while staying at home. However, the reality is easier said than done. A home-based working mom must be adept in the tricky balancing act of caring for the kids, ensuring the house is in order, and running the business.
I have 3 kids, ranging in age from 7 months to 5 years old — all needing attention and care of their mom. It is hard to write when my baby wants to be carried, or the older siblings want to play. Harder still to conduct a decent phone conversation when my 3 and 5 year old boys start screaming at each other. Not to mention taking care of the seemingly endless laundry, and other million and one things that needs to be done in the house.
Here are what worked for me to retain my sanity (and actually work) as a home-based working mom:
- Scrunitize your schedule — and stick to them. The best time for me to work are when my older two boys go to school. My 3-year old who is in pre-school, gets off from school at 11:45 while the eldest at kindergarten goes home at 3 pm. So the window of opportunity for me to work are the 2.5 hours I have after dropping them off to school and picking up my second son from school. That’s when I make important calls when the household is quiet. When the two older boys are home, I make sure I have time for them so any work is put aside for later.
- Be prepared to work after everyone has gone off to bed. Thankfully for me, my household is asleep by 8 pm so I have ample time to work in the evenings. I work from 8:30 pm to midnight, while watching my favorite prime time shows. I know of other work at home moms who work from midnight to 3 pm, which I can never do as my brain cells are non-functional at that time.
- Get a babysitter. I survived without a nanny with the first 2 boys. But when my youngest was born, I found it extremely hard to take care of a baby and 2 toddler boys and manage the needs of the household. It was just too much. My nanny comes to our house from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to take care of the baby. And she is such a godsend! I’ve always read tips about finding someone to take care of the kids so you can work properly, and now I realized how having someone to help you with the kids can allow you to do some work.
- Give your kids space in the office. We created our home office to allow the adults to work at the same time with the kids. The two boys have their own computers in the office, as well as their own table and chairs for their coloring and drawing works. The baby has a bouncer and playpen in the office. This set-up allows us to work together as a family, with the each kid busy with their own activities.
- Get the support of your spouse. This is incredibly important and cannot be underestimated. Your spouse’s support can mean the two of you sharing household responsibilities to allow you to do work for your business.
- Take yourself seriously. You are a mom — and a business owner. Life can be tough (it always is) but you are living a rich life that allows you to take care of your family while pursuing interests and passions as well as contributing to your family’s finances. Give yourself a pat in the back sometimes. You deserve it.