By Liz Folger
Julie, a mother of two, is on her way to the office after a hectic morning of getting her family and her ready for the day. She starts to fantasize about what it would be like to work at home. She dreams about being able to work from home while spending the day with the kids, being able to cook a good dinner for the family using all the food groups instead of the fast food group, and then maybe finally keeping the housework under control.
Now if this is what you think working from home is all about -- stand back! Combining a business and family all under the same roof can get a little crazy. I know those great ads and commercials show the squeaky-clean home offices with parents working at their computers gazing out the window at their children playing. Lately I've seen a few commercials showing the home business person working in their pajamas, but that's about it. Their houses are still immaculate.
Work-at-home moms will be the first to admit that you could very well live, work, and sleep in those same PJ's for days at a time. Your showers for some reason become few and far between, your house will be messier than it ever has, and 12 loads of laundry at a time isn't unusual. You'll find yourself working late into the night or early in the morning. Some people will not take seriously the fact that you work at home and will tell you to your face you probably just lay around the house all day. Or they'll predict that you'll get in more fights than ever with your significant other over keeping the house clean, dinner cooked, and groceries purchased, that you'll feel guilty at times for not spending more time with your kids. They might also tell you that there will be slow times in your business or more work than you know what to do with, that you might have to deal with strangers coming into your house, or that you'll experience a new sense of the word lonely from working by yourself all day with only your toddler to talk to.
Most moms will tell you that working at home is one of the hardest things they have ever done to themselves. On the up side -- no more bosses to work for, you can start a business you love and best of all, you can work around your family's schedule and not the other way around. The rewards far outweigh the hardships.
Tips for making your life easier as a home-business mommy:
- Set a date night ever week with your significant other. No kids allowed!!!
- Make sure you set aside time for yourself. Sounds crazy, I know, but you deserve it, whether it be just an hour or two. Spend those hours doing something you want to do. Grocery shopping is not on the approved list either!
- Get together with other home-business moms and commiserate with each other. No one is going to know what you're going through better than someone who lives in your shoes....I mean slippers....on a daily basis.
- Get your family involved as much as possible with the cooking and cleaning, and you'd be surprised how much help they can be with your business. Include your kids in your business as much as possible. They won't resent you or the business if they feel they're a part of it too.
- If you can afford it, hire someone to come in and clean your house once a week. Maybe you know of a teenager you could hire to do this for you. Hey, maybe you actually have one that lives in your house.
Liz Folger is the author of the book, The Stay-at-Home Mom's Guide To Making Money. She has created Bizy Moms, a resource on the Net for moms who want to work at home and for those who already do.