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Home-Work: Strategies For Stay At Home Moms:

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Today’s women both young and older may find it difficult to conceive of the idea of conceiving if it means having to give up their (financial) freedom. Besides the need for two incomes in most modern-day households, and the added advantage of giving women a sense of purpose and accomplishment, most contemporary women were raised with work ideals and ethics and are accustomed to depending on themselves and their (own) salary.

Fortunately for many, the choice of (selflessly) “depriving” themselves or compromising on lifestyle and depriving their child, no longer has to be a concern, as work from home options and opportunities are becoming more popular and prevalent.

Yet with the acceptance of work-at-home moms, many women face unique challenges, many associated with balancing work and family. Here are a few simple yet vital guidelines for being a successful stay-at-home career worker/mom.

1. Become an “off-hour” employee: Give up the notion of earning your living as a 9 to 5er. While you may be able to accomplish “some” tasks during “normal” business hours, you may find most of your time revolving around your child, your, home, and fulfilling certain obligations (such as shopping) during peak times when stores are open and there are not too many crowds. With that said, you’ll likely have little, if any time to devote and concentrate on work. Plus, taking care of home and kids will leave you demanding some afternoon downtime, just before the other kids or your spouse comes home. Experts suggest working around a typical (work) schedule. Instead work late at night or in the early hours of the morning while kids are in bed (for the night) or still sleeping.

2. Develop A Work Conducive, Yet Child-Friendly Environment: One of the biggest challenges stay-at-home/work-at-home parents face, is being called away from their work to tend to their child or addressing the constant need to check up on him/her. According to professionals, a simple solution is finding a creative way of combining the two. One suggestion is to set up a “work” or play area for your child (children) right by your desk. Younger children will be satisfied just by being near you, on a blanket and surrounded by toys. Older children may require a bit more stimulation and are frequently fascinated by mom or dad and what they are doing, and in fact, are eager to emulate you. Set up a desk (area) for your child complete with coloring books, crayons, paper, markers, pens etc. Even a toy keyboard or educational computer is recommended.

3. Attain An Adaptable Attitude: Rethink and redefine your priorities. Make sure you and your employer understand your parameters and set easily attainable goals for the week. Remember that children can be capricious and whimsical and there may be days where it becomes virtually impossible to get any work done. The ability to circumvent this and adjust your schedule and workload.

4. Make Sound Technological Investments: Experts advise work-at-home moms (or dads) to invest in practical business paraphernalia. Answering machines or voice mails allow you to answer business call when you are busy tending to your children. They note that it’s much more professional to allow the machine with a business message take the call, then to allow your employer or client hear junior/juniorette giggling or screaming in the background. Call display also enables you to more easily screen your calls.

5. Don’t Try To Do Everything On Your Own: While you may not feel comfortable with the idea of a “Nanny” or leaving your child in day care (even for a few hours), you may eventually need some extra help. As your child begins to get a bit older, you may find that he/she sleeps less and is more active. Consider getting a mother’s helper. Ask an older niece or nephew, or perhaps a neighbor’s teen/pre-teen if they’d be interested in assisting. They can earn a (small) wage, be under (your) supervision, and help you by playing with your child and doing simple things around the house that you may be unable to tend to. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

6. Divide and Conquer: Consider setting aside one or two nights a week for quality bonding time with your partner. Your child and the parent who’s generally not at home, can enjoy doing things they wouldn’t normally do, or visiting friends and places they otherwise wouldn’t get the opportunity to. While they are out, you can use the “downtime” to catch up on uninterrupted work.

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