Are you a work at home mom or soon to be? Our middle child was three weeks old when I began working from home. I spent many late nights in front of the computer wrestling with dial-up internet. Can you even imagine? It would take me two hours sometimes to enter in the information from a party — and I only had to enter their first and last name and the items they ordered. Our system didn’t ask for the customer’s email, phone or address. Again, can you even imagine?
This wasn’t our first child, so having a three week old and starting a new business seemed like the perfect time to delve into something new. I chose this career so I didn’t have to pay the exorbitant cost of day care! We were new to the area so we didn’t have any child care contacts. The internet was around but it took one year to get dial up to our home. Painful. I spent many days at the library. Enough about me.
Here’s the skinny based on age:
- Infants: They sleep and eat often so use that to your advantage! Talk on the phone when they are eating. Send emails, update websites, input financials and anything that requires brainwork do EARLY in the morning. Or if you are a night owl, work on it LATE at night.
- Toddlers: Oh yeah….you deserve a medal at this age because your toddler most likely thinks he/she is in the olympics and is running from you UNTIL you get on the phone! Am I right? Then once you pick up that phone, they are whining, crying, and begging for your attention. The nice thing is that many direct sellers and professionals can text or email their customers. This makes customer service much easier. I am sure there are still many times you need to hop on the phone. Here are some tricks:
- HIDE. You know what I mean. I used to walk away from them the entire time I was on the phone. I made it into a “game” where it was the “Let’s chase mom QUIETLY” game. Bribery of some sort of food was given at the end.
- Have 3 toys that they are only allowed to play with when you are on the phone. You must be diligent on this. The only time they can play with those three toys is when you are on the phone. This could be an electronic game, a favorite educational or musical app, a special book, or fun toy. Absolutely stay away from the NOISY toys as it defeats the purpose!
- School-age Children: I love goal setting and start my school age children out with this as early as five. As a work at home mom, we have the advantage of knowing what content they are reading and listening to everyday. We discuss goal setting throughout the year. Yep… the young ones LOVE this! I love when they have that ‘a-ha’ moment and realize they accomplished their goal! Goal-setting starts them on a mindset to creating and achieving goals each week, month, year. During the summer months, we have a schedule each day. I break it down as follows:
- Time with Mom (i.e. my technology is turned off)
- Chores (age appropriate). I give them a time limit to finish the chore. This has worked best in our home. I’ve tried it all and I now use Alexa to set a timer for the designated time. For example, I needed to clean the bathrooms (joy) while the younger boys needed to clean their room. I set the alarm for 1.5 hours as I knew it was feasible for everyone to finish their chores in that amount of time. I have tried “rushing” the timer on certain chores for like 15 minutes and the boys said, “Mom, you don’t want us rushing, do you? We are never going to finish it and it’s going to look sloppy.” Fair enough boys. You win that one!
- Work time. Create rules. Rules detailing what you expect while you are in your office. (If you work on your kitchen table then so be it….that’s your office and they must respect that.)
- Children thrive on systems. When you find your system, stick to it. Each child is different (sigh). I thought when I had the third boy that I would know what to do from birth to graduation. Wrong again. They all have their wonderful personalities. One cries if you look at him cross-eyed, another laughs when he is in trouble, another one is such a rule follower that he wants to boss me around. lol.
- Pre-teens and Teens: You become a professional uber and work at home mom at this time if your kids are into sports, theater, music, martial arts, dance, or any extracurricular anything. And depending on where your middle/high school is will determine how long your uber rides are each day. Our high school is 20-25 minutes away. Yikes.
- Books on Tape / Podcasts: Listen to books on tape while you are “ubering”. They pick up great information. And, it’s coming from a professional on tape (lol), not their mom!
- Ride Share: If at all possible, find another parent with a child in your same extra curricular activity and ride share. Sometimes, this can be very difficult if you don’t live near the majority of the students. Don’t give up because there are genuinely kind people that will help you out!
- Family Calendar: Beg for their calendars in advance. This will be your life saver. Because you work at home, you can work around their schedule. Whoa! I know. It’s not that easy.