I have been a work at home mom for a number a years. We, like our counter parts the working mom, have many things that work for and against us in our jobs. They are often little things that other over look. They are often though painfully clear to us and need to be dealt with accordingly.
A work at home mom has the advantage of being there for her kids. She doesn’t need to usually worry about missing school events or social outings with her children. Her schedule is more flexible and the organized wahm can schedule around a busy child’s full load of activities.
In the same respect we are still working. People often demand our attention right on the spot. They see us as at home and available, when we are in reality not always that available. Often times we have commitments to clients and contractors. If we are in the middle of things, say an important phone call, we do not have time to be able to have coffee with mom, or be able to go on a bike ride with eldest daughter. This is often hard for them to see, as they see us at home and available.
A wahm has to be able to set boundaries for family and friends. This could be something as simple as a sign on the office door saying please leave a message. Maybe an in/out board on the kitchen wall would work for your family. All family members can put down their important dates to include mom’s work meetings and unavailable times. It is really important that everyone knows that while you work at home to be at home with them, you are still working and must uphold your responsibilities.
There is also an issue of isolation. Often times the work at home mom is a woman who formerly worked outside of the home. She is used to having all the social benefits of working in a traditional job environment. That may include the classic gossip at the water cooler, business lunches and dinner meetings and drinks with friends. When you work from home the water cooler is more than likely your internet connection. You rarely have interaction with people on a regular basis. Some women enjoy the solitude that working at home gives them, while others find this the fatal flaw. But this too can be integrated into your work at home life and schedule.
There are plenty of groups out there that can fill that need. Many communities have small business groups and some even have women in small business groups. This is good for the social issue as well as the all important networking that you may need for aspects of your business or work at home job. The internet is also a great way to network and be able to chat to others that do the same thing that you do. While these women are not in the same location as you are, they do share some of the same concerns, stresses and joys that you do and can be a wonderful source of interaction for you. Just don’t cut yourself off. Get out there; meet your neighbors, the parents of your children’s friends, people from church and other social settings.
There are many tips and hints for the wahm. The main ones consist of organization and socialization. To be better at your job it is often wise to be able to go out and promote yourself. To do research into the jobs you are interested in and to be able to delegate task are also vital to your success. Find other women in your area or online that are doing the same or a similar job that you are doing. This will help you along your way.
Many woman find being a work at home mom is a rewardable venture. Being able to be with your kids is a wonderful reward in and of itself. It may take a bit of creative planning and dedication, but well worth the effort. Think of all that you are gaining and the working at home is a wonderful option.