As a work from home entrepreneurial mom, everyday is take your kids to work day. Except there are no special games in the corporate conference room, or a fun lunch with all the other kids, or tours of the company offices.
When I started Foster Inc. four years ago, it was at a time in my life where I felt my kids needed me around more. I was a single mom, recently divorced, and splitting my week with my ex. I woke up one day and realized I was missing out on so much time with my kids because of my job, at the company I owned, that no longer fulfilled me. It was the like a punch to the gut. Why was I spending so much time away from them doing something that didn’t fill me up? This revelation left me feeling empty and miserable. It was time to make a change.
I started Foster Inc. as a way to foster my passion for helping other women-owned businesses but also so that I could be around more. I had never worked from home full time so it was quite an adjustment in the beginning with many lessons learned by both me and my family.
Being a work from home parent has its own set of pros and cons.
I am around more but I am not always able to be present.
I can be there for more school stuff but then I am expected to be there for ALL the school stuff.
Others think that I’m not really working since I work from home when in fact I am working more.
I am asked to join more committees and boards because people think I have more time.
I can be around for the sick kid or handyman but I can not do all of the ‘home stuff’ that needs to get done.
I don't need a work wardrobe but I do spend a lot of time in workout clothes
I don't get interrupted by coworkers but I miss daily social interaction which is why I often sit in my local coffee shop or bagel store
And then there are the misconceptions - and the truths:
I get to wake up whenever I want - I wish
I get to set my own schedule - Work still needs to get done during 'work hours'
I don't have to work as much - I actually work more hours now than ever
I can run all of the household errands - No thanks. I'd rather pay someone to do that
I can pick my kids up every day from school and shuttle them all over town to activities - this was a hard one for my kids to grasp initially but they seem to get it now
When you're a work-from-home mom, people will say the craziest thing to you, like:
I thought this was just a hobby for you
Why do you need childcare if you work from home? Depending on the age of your kids, having help or support while working from home is a surefire way for you to stay focused and achieve your goals.
Working from home isn't easy by any stretch. It takes a ton of discipline, self-control (especially pertaining to visits to the snack cabinet), and time management. At first, being at home was interpreted by my kids as ‘mommy’s home and available’, which wasn’t and still isn’t the case. When you work from home, new rules and boundaries need to be set in order for you to keep your sanity and your income in check.
Here are a few tips for those of you that are work-from-home parents:
Declare your space - if you’re working in the kitchen and the kids come home, guess what? You’re accessible. If you’re in your dining room, you’re accessible. If you are somewhere they can see you, you're accessible. Find a space in your home and declare it as your space. I am home but that doesn’t mean my office is door is always open. Let your family know that if you’re in that space, they should be respectful that you’re working and you may not want to be disturbed.
Set your schedule and BLOCK YOUR TIME - If you want to be available for homework time or school pick up time, you should block it in your schedule so meetings or calls don’t happen during those hours. My day is more structured now than it ever has been and that’s because if I don’t block my time, my work doesn’t get done and my day goes to total shit. I even block my workouts. If you're struggling with this, you can email me for a copy of my Foster Your Time worksheets to help you learn to block your time and get the most out of your day.
Know your hourly rate - Would you rather be selling your product or earning your hourly rate or spending an hour supermarket shopping or dropping off dry cleaning. It's important to quantify your time. Should you be spending your time, which may be worth anywhere from $50 - $250/hour doing something that you could be paying someone $10 - $15/hr to do. The latter are $10/hr jobs that you could be paying someone else to do while you’re earning the big bucks. Allow yourself to delegate tasks to others so that you can make the best use of your time. It’s ok to not be the one driving your kids to and from all of their daily activities.
Prioritize your day - Do the important things when you're most energized and your brain is working at it's best. Do the mindless activities when you're tired and don't have as much brain power.
Get over the guilt - this is the big one. Your kids will not turn out to be terrible humans if you choose your job and your work responsibilities over them every now and again. In fact, as long as you communicate with them about the time you will be unavailable and let them know when you will be available, you are teaching them major life lessons about respecting your time and what you do. It also allows you to be more present during time you're spending with them because you've gotten
While I don’t get to participate in the official take your kids to work day, my kids are still able to learn valuable lessons from seeing me work from home - like work ethic, time management, organization and many more. If you work from home, what are some of the best lessons you think your kids are taking away from it? Comment below.