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"The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible"

~ Anonymous

Tea Time with Liv

Balancing work and home

As a WAHM you may feel at times overwhelmed and either neglect the home or work. Its a balancing act that many just don't understand. You may feel as though you are the ring master at the circus but it doesn't have to be that way.

Full-time WAHMs often times work harder than those outside the home. Reason is work is easily accessible and you try to keep the home and children in order at the same time. A mother with an office job doesn't have to juggle the distractions of small children or the dishwasher malfunctioning. This is not to discount moms working outside of the house. Part-time WAHMs can run into the same time constraints as full-time WAHMs.

Some WAHMs begin working from home because they figure it will be easy to arrange then find it wasn't as easy as they thought. Its the dream. Stay home with your children so they aren't in day care and make a great living all while staying at home. That dream is quickly crushed when they see it is not as easy as they thought. In the beginning you work harder for the money than a traditional 9-5 job that pays you for the work you have done, not the sales you bring in. Working from home can mean flexibility but remember it is still work. It doesn't just happen by itself. Anyone who says differently is either lying or has been doing this so long it comes naturally and effortlessly.

We often see glorified WAHMs who have been doing their job for quite some time who do work less hours and have a good handle on the balancing act. It didn't start that way. It took a lot of trial and error trying to figure out what works and what doesn't. The best example of seeing what a WAHM goes through is look online for a video replay of Wife Swap Harris/Van Noy (season 1, episode 8) and see how a WAHM works a full 8 hour work day from home and take care of the family. That woman takes care of the kids and house all day while trying to fit in her medical transcription job in. She many times goes to bed at midnight and even has to work on the weekends. This is reality of a WAHM.

To balance work and home you will need to plan. Yes this means a schedule. You need to be disciplined to be able to work from home. If you are not motivated you will fail. That doesn't mean you can't learn to be disciplined and motivated. Before you cringe at the idea, be open to it.

A schedule does not mean strict by the book to the second planning of your entire day. All you are doing is organizing your day in blocks. If you are not used to a schedule, blocking is the best way to start. As you get used to it you get a bit more detailed. Every day does not have to be the same.

An example of schedule block:

8am - 930am: get kids ready for school, take kids to school or bus stop

930am-11am: housework

11am-1pm: work

1pm-3pm: grocery shop, run errands

3pm-5pm: kids home, snack, homework

5pm-7pm: prepare dinner, eat, family time

8pm-9pm: bath time, put kids to bed

9pm-10pm: quality time with spouse

10-11pm: lay out clothes for next day, finish work

11pm: bedtime

This may seem detailed and it is somewhat but this is not as detailed as you can get. This is just an idea of what your schedule may look like. It also may not include all you needs for a day.

You will notice some important things everyone must include in their schedule, spouse time. Everyone talks about there just is no time. Make time. This is your partner in life. You have to work together. Spouse time can be watching TV or a movie, talking, sharing a cup of tea, intimacy.

I suggest if you are thinking about becoming a WAHM, map out your day. What do you do and how long does it take. This will give you a good idea if you are able and willing to become a WAHM or if you need to rearrange your life, if possible. If you are not willing to work, you will not be successful at working from home.

When you first write a schedule of your day it may not be completely correct. It will have to be fine tuned when you see where you need more time and less time. It will always be a work in progress so don't feel anxious when you can't stick to it at first.

To work in more time dedicated to your business, work while the kids are doing their homework. If the kids make too much noise, make calls only during nap times or keep customer correspondence to email only. There is nothing more unprofessional than screaming kids in the background or you having to yell at them. Just don't do it and find a way to work around it. I have seen some moms put their younger kids in part time daycare to make a more productive day. This can be great for kids needing interaction with other kids but not old enough for preschool. if you don't want to do daycare, hire someone to come in and assist you - a nanny. This can be for 2-3 hours a day.

WAHM has the word work. You have to work. Do not push it aside and do it "later." Adhere to your schedule as much as you can. Putting it off won't get anything done. While you do have the flexibility to move things around do not brush off work.

With your weekly schedule make sure you take a day to just family. I also highly suggest you do something for yourself. I like to get a pedicure. It's relaxing, I get to interact with other adults, its inexpensive, and not time consuming. This happens every 2-3 weeks and well worth the cost. Let someone take care of you for once. This is a great way to do it.

Being a WAHM is hard work but very rewarding.

Olivia Vidal
© 2009


Please keep in mind the schedule is a simple example of how to schedule a day and does not reflect the actual work time you will be scheduling. To be successful you will be putting in far more time than 2 hours a day. It is also very basic because a consultant vs a business owner can be very very different in time put in. Both work hard but I can guarantee a business owner will work far more hours than someone who works asa consultant for a company.


Christie said...

If you are just launching a business, or a new project, scheduling only 2 hours of work a day will not get your project finished in this decade. I realize you were just using this as an example, but some new WAHMs think that is all it takes to launch a business. Launching it takes A LOT of work and sometimes your family life may suffer so that it will benefit in the long run.

Olivia - http://sochicbagboutique.com said...

Exactly. You may be able to get away with 2 hours a day as a consultant who works part-time but definately not as a business owner. As a consultant I worked approximately 20 hours a week. As a business owner I work about 60-70. A year ago I was working over well over 90 hours a week. I averaged 16 hours a day sleeping only 3-4 hours a night. So please everyone reading keep in mind these are mere examples and you will be putting in far more time than I indicated in the example.

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