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When Mum Works from Home: the Good, the Bad, and the Snuggly

Katya Bowd

Posted on May 17 2017

Flexibility. Extra income. Creative outlet. A mum may have one or many of these reasons to work from home. She may be looking for interaction with grownups, or the development of new skills pertaining to her interests. Whatever the reason, there’s no doubt that for many, working from home is a mummy-sanity saver. There are unlimited opportunities for engaging in work that can be done from home, especially now that modern conveniences literally bring the global market to the front door via smart devices and high-speed Internet.

Even before these were available, however, mums were making the most of their time with income earning activity that could be done while managing the home. The benefit of bringing in extra income while having minimum child care costs (and being present for all those beautiful milestones) is obviously a huge draw. But there can be other benefits as well. Some mums find they are able to up their game in certain life-skills that also improve their ability to manage the home. Entrepreneurship offers the stay-at-home mum so many blessings, but watch out – it can also present unhealthy downsides if it is not kept in its proper place. If you are looking for motherhood advice as you consider a work-from-home opportunity, the following can serve as a starting place for considering the pros and cons of being a work-from-home mum.

Entrepreneurship pushes us to successfully prioritise tasks.

Parenthood should not be taken for granted. If we are not careful it can be easy to lose hours and hours on meaningless activities that don’t contribute to our overall goals as a family. TV is a huge culprit for this. Social media can cause a problem, too.  But, in general, there can be a lot of “busy work” we allow ourselves to be engaged in that we find just needs to be dropped once we learn to properly assign levels of importance to everything we do. Generous quantities of quality time spent nurturing the kids may not seem to have daily “quantifiable results,” but it is a long-term investment that shouldn’t be neglected because we are “too busy.”

When a mum starts a business or joins a team, suddenly things may start coming to focus about what activities use her time well, and where her time is being wasted. Veteran parents would advise a new mum that it’s not enough to “have time” for something – she has to recognise the costs associated with making time for what she does. For example, a big no-no for the work-from-home mum is making so much time for work-related tasks that she doesn’t have time and energy for her family. A huge downside to working from home is the ever-present, shiny distraction of her work that threatens her resolve to stay on top of household jobs that keep her home happy and healthy. That is step one of a vicious cycle: overworking, guilt-tripping herself, losing patience with everyone else… rinse, lather, repeat.

Solution: know your priorities, and communicate with them regularly. Keep abreast of parenting guides that keep your family in focus, and never let your guard down regarding the temptation to become work-centered. There is a time for everything, and when you have little ones at home, it is not the time to put your career in top gear – they need to come first. But there is nothing wrong with finding the leaks in your work schedule that drain your productive energies with nonessentials.

Just be intentional and know your limits for the amount of work you plan to do and make the most of the time you designate for work.

Entrepreneurship gives incentive for us to organise our environment.

The best part of being a homemaker is just that: you are in complete control of how your home functions! But wait, you may say. I have small children. Under Control is not the term for my home’s functionality. Bear with me. The key to organisation is for everything you possess to have a purpose and a place. Even kids can learn this principle! It doesn’t have to be executed perfectly by them (or you) 100% of the time. But, if you can’t ever seem to locate your floor, desk, or kitchen table, you may be setting the example for chaotic living. It’s time to downsize your stuff. Kids are just like grown-ups – they get overwhelmed with enormous tasks and lose motivation quickly. They also don’t like cleaning up any more than you do. A tip for parents is to scale the job down by letting go of things that never seem to contribute to the overall quality of life by getting used and being put away. You may find that some of that “busy work” mentioned above is often in the form of moving clutter around from one place to another trying to get it “organised.”

If you have toddlers or older children, a great parenting strategy is to get them involved in donating unused possessions and designating places for the keepers. It does two things: it frees up significant amounts of your time for work or play AND it gives them a better perspective on responsibly caring for their possessions. I have a rule for my kids: if you don’t appreciate something enough to take care of it by putting it away when you are done, it should be given to someone who will. They know I mean it when something has been ill-treated or left out to be lost or stepped on… and I take it to our donation box. Likewise, they often of their own initiative will identify something unused that takes up valuable space, hampering their ability to play, and choose to donate it. Their rooms are not clean all day every day, but they have learned they enjoy playtime more when their rooms are somewhat organised.

This principle carries over to the work-from-home mom’s world, too. A good tip for motherhood (or anything, really) is that you will enjoy your endeavors so much more with the right tools at your fingertips and room to work. So take the time to map out what you do, and what would simplify what you do… Then make it happen. If you embark into the world of entrepreneurship, it can be an abyss of frustration if you don’t take time regularly to get yourself organised. And some may say it is a downside that you can’t just do it once and be done with it, but it’s just a matter of regular preventative maintenance.

Create an organised environment and watch creativity begin to flourish – for you, and your kids! Win, win! For some, working from home can be a devastating exercise in futility, full of wheel spinning and headaches. But, my advice to mums is to be intentional and try it! It could just be the path to finally learning what elements in your home (and your schedule) really do contribute to your family’s overall well-being, and what things just need to go.

Are there other benefits and challenges to being a work-from-home mum? Tell us in the comments section below!