Monday, May 24, 2010

Secrets to Being a Work-at-Home Mom

Many of you know that I am a real estate agent and that I work from home. After spending a full year at home with my five year old and two year old daughters, I have some experience under my belt on how to work from home with kids.

1. Sleep in as late as you want
Many articles you will read about working from home will tell you to set your alarm and get up at "normal" work day hours. I say, "Bologna!" Get up whenever the heck you work from home for goodness sake! I have trained my girls to be night owls (at least until school starts). They stay up late so that we can all sleep in until 9:00 a.m. I am usually up at 9:00, but sometimes the girls sleep even later!

2. Wear whatever the heck you want to
Many articles you will read about working from home will also tell you to "get dressed" for your work day by showering and getting ready just like you would if you were going to a traditional office. This is absolutely nuts! I do some of my best negotiating on the phone while wearing pajamas. My "uniform" is usually a pair of pajama pants and a tank top....flip flops if I am feeling fancy. I don't wear "real" clothes unless I leave the house now. I have spoken to clients, banks, and title companies all while wearing my p.j.s!

3. When you wake up, get breakfast and a beverage before checking emails
Once you get on the computer, you get sidetracked with work related emails. Before you start "working" get yourself and your children (if you have them) breakfast. Get a cup of coffee or whatever drink you prefer. Somedays I prefer Diet is like my orange juice.

4. After breakfast, get to work!
On a good real estate day, I will work on the Internet and phone until lunch. During this time, my kids play together or watch t.v. They get along better during this time of day.

5. Promise to do one special thing either for yourself or for your kids after you work until lunch.
This is key, especially if you have kids. Today, for example, I was working very hard. I told Avery that if she let me work hard, I would take her outside during naptime to play on our sand/water table on the patio. Yes, this is bribery. If you don't believe in bribing your kids, I am not your girl. You have to keep your promises though....that is key too. During naptime today, we went outside for over an hour and made sand castles. After that, Avery kept playing and I read a new magazine. How many offices give you unlimited breaks? My "break" lasted about 2 hours today and it was wonderful!

6. Do something useful in your house at least once a day
This is a tricky subject that I am still working to keep your house clean and picked up when you work from home AND have kids. Just learn to be flexible and not so hard on yourself! Some days are better than others.

7. If you want to go somewhere, just GO
When you set your own hours and have control over your workday, the sky is the limit. If the girls and I decide to go somewhere, we go. My work can be done anytime, unless I have a deadline on a contract and I am waiting for signatures!

The main thing to remember is to be flexible with yourself and your children. If you are a rigid person, you probably won't like to work from home with your kids running around. It certainly isn't for everyone. I would be lying if I didn't tell you I have had days where I lock myself in a closet to make a business call because my kids won't stop yelling. I would be lying if I didn't tell you that they like to pound on the door when I lock myself in a room. In the last year, I have learned that working from home is a beautiful thing! The freedom it allows you is amazing.


Stewart Imagery said...

Great words of wisdom! Working outside of a traditional office definitely has its rewards, but also can be distracting and quite challenging. Since I don't have kids yet...I bribe myself! I'll give myself a goal to get something accomplished, and once I do it, I get to have my 'reward', whether it be an iced coffee or an extra 10 minutes surfing the internet.