The media often show work-at-home moms at their computer, with a toddler on their lap. Sometimes, the multi-tasking mom is even hanging on the phone. I must say I find these images a little well, unrealistic. What is the mom doing at the computer, is she finishing a project, writing a tender or doing her admin? How much fun can this be for the toddler on her lap? (I mean, it’s good to learn things at an early stage, but there are limits…). Or are mother and child surfing the web together, to the Teletubbies-site for instance? In that case, what about that phone? Is the mom having a conversation with a client? I don’t know how happy that client is with the Teletubbies-jingle at the background.
What I am trying to say is that there is a gap between the image shown in the media and the reality of working from home. Working from home as a mompreneur has huge perks, being able to spend a lot of time with your children being one of them, but there are limits to multi-tasking. Sometimes it is better to focus on one thing and do it well rather than do two things at once, half-heartedly. Sometimes, too, reality is a bit more grim than what the happy pictures on books and sites on working from home show. Stress levels tend to rocket when a deadline is looming, your child is coming down with the flu and the computer is down. This is an aspect of mompreneurship that is often disregarded. And home based mompreneurs being only human, there are times when they are physically present, but mentally unavailable to their kids.
The reality of being a home based mompreneur is…that no two days are the same. That play dates and deadlines are equally important. That you are CEO and chauffeur, secretary and shareholder in your own business. That you need nerves of steel, a supportive partner, a network of positive people around you as well as great mental flexibility. That you have to be of the creative, pragmatic and problem solving kind if you want your private and professional life to thrive. That you have to bear in mind your priorities, every single day. That every time you think you have it all worked out (the best working schedule, the best way of managing your time, your kids and your workload) everything changes yet again…because your children get to another stage, or your business does. That you need sound equipment and contingency plans. That you must take good care of yourself, as your home business depends solely on you. That scheduling time for yourself, your partner and your social life is vital, because if you are always mothering or working you run out of resources. That there are frustrating times when everything seems to go wrong, from your computer crashing to an assignment taking much longer than expected and times when work goes well and you truly enjoy the flexibility this option brings by spending a lot of time with your children during the day and catching up on work in the evenings. That you need discipline and motivation. And that the rewards are great, because this option enables you to watch your children grow up and earn an income.
Written by Anne-Marijn Küthe of www.businessanddiapers.com, a high-quality site on running a business from home, with a free downloads section, book lists, articles and photographs concerning raising children and growing a business.