Times of transition can bring anxiety, especially for children. During times of change, their lives can feel chaotic and out of control.
More stay-at-home moms are working from home. Sometimes the transition is smooth, like adding chocolate to milk. It's good, wonderful and everyone thinks the change is great. Other times, the transition can be an anxiety-producing nightmare for the whole family.
Benefits of working from home
Many families welcome the extra income a mom can make from home, whether it's by providing music lessons, transcribing, selling crafts online, or something else.
A work-from-home situation can be ideal for moms because they can still attend school functions, make unexpected doctor's visits and emergency runs to the school with forgotten lunches. It also means mom is usually home when kids get home from school.
But when it comes to actually making a work-from-home job work, it can be hard.
I recently found myself in such a situation. Becoming a work-at-home mom has been a more difficult transition than I anticipated. It can be especially tough if your kids, like mine, are not used to mom being unavailable for a while.
It's been eight months and we've finally found a routine that works well. There are still hard days, but let's face it, there are always going to be hard days whether you are a stay-at-home mom, working mom or work-at-home mom.
There are some steps you can take to help the transition. Look for ways to adapt them to fit your individual needs and circumstances.
1. Establish a routine/schedule
Become a creature of habit. I find it difficult to get anything done if it isn't part of my daily routine. Now that I work from home, a routine/schedule has become invaluable to my productivity.
Set aside a regular time for working. Make sure to have regular breaks scheduled as well. This allows you to get work done around the house and spend time with any at-home kids throughout the day.
Having a routine helps children adjust to your new occupation. When they know what to expect, it can help alleviate any anxiety or fear they may be feeling about the new changes.
2. Be Flexible (if you can)
As any mom knows, schedules are made to be broken. Establishing a schedule is a valuable tool for managing your work from home life. However, sticking too rigidly to the schedule can leave you and your family frustrated. Flexibility allows you to manage your workload and unpredictable events like sickness or a quick trip to the school for an awards assembly.
Not all work-from-home opportunities are flexible but, if you can, keep your schedule flexible enough to allow for the unexpected. Let your clientele know if you only work during nap times or evenings. Your family should always come first. Most clients won't care as long as you get the work done on time and communicate with them regularly.
3. Help around the house
If your children are old enough, it's time for them to take on more responsibilities around the house. Whether that's extra help with laundry, cleaning, or cooking will depend on how old they are and what they are already doing. My kids already have chores they do around the house but, now, I've had to enlist their help even more.
They have more cleaning responsibilities because it's harder for me to get to everything during the day while I'm working. They don't always like it, and sometimes they complain. That's okay with me. They need to learn that parents do what they have to do to make things work. It's been good for them to work together as a family.
4. Meal planning
Our meals got a little scary or nonexistent as I was trying to figure out how to manage working from home. Late afternoon and evenings are the hardest because there is so much to do. Children and spouse are getting home from work and school, homework needs to be done and sometimes kids need to be picked up from after school activities.
To prevent your family from eating eggs and toast or macaroni and cheese for dinner every night, try planning out a week's worth of meals. It takes a little extra effort on the night you do all the planning, but it pays off in the long run.
When you already know what you are going to make, it reduces the stress surrounding dinner time. You'll also spend less time and money at the grocery store because you can use your meal plan to create your shopping list.
5. Get help from friends and family
If you have young children who absolutely will not allow you to get work done, look to enlist the help of friends or family with whom you can exchange childcare. Even two or three uninterrupted hours of work a day can help your productivity. You may even be able to work out a deal with another parent that works from home, making it beneficial for you both.