WINNER BEST PARENTING BLOG 2009 & 2011

Finding the Balance

Today we feature a guest post by Lisa Baade, author and Company Director of Toddler Interpreter: A Parent’s Guide to Baby Sign Language for Hearing Babies and Toddlers.

There is no doubt about it, working from home is a great option when you are juggling the role of parent and provider, but finding the right balance is essential if you are going to make it work. It is all too easy to fall into the trap of never really switching off from your work when it is within the boundaries of your own home.

Mothers these days are, in my opinion, make up some of the most extraordinary entrepreneurs we have ever seen. The internet has allowed our creativity to flourish and we are able to freely communicate, do business, create start-ups and publish online each and every day. The growing number of parenting related start-ups with fan pages on Facebook is proof that we are a force to be reckoned with.

We are also wonderful communicators and make friendships that extend beyond the screen. Mothers love to help other mothers; we nurture, provide answers to questions and generally extend ourselves. We often go out of our way to help others out when we feel a connection or empathise with another’s similar situation.

Whether your business is blogging, ecommerce or offering an online service, this social interaction online is a gift, but it can also be a trap. Running a business online is just as demanding as any other job; for some the stakes are higher and the prize at the end more precious. We want more time with our children and we want to provide for them.

If you find that your WAHM position is taking over your life, dominating your every thought and you haven’t had a day off in over 6 months then it is time to take a breather. This is where I was not so long ago. My drive and passion kept me going but I really needed to sit back and take another look at the structure of my routine.

In a normal job you have set hours, get dressed for work, take a lunch break and walk away at the end of each day. When you are working from home, you start when you wake, juggle the urgent e-mails that came through while you slept while trying to pack school lunches and feed the baby. The reality of working in your pajamas becomes much less glorified when you realise that its lunchtime and you still haven’t had breakfast!

Is it time for a reality check? These are some of the things that helped me to gain back some control over my day.

  • At the start of each week write a list of what you hope to achieve and re-list in order of priority. Determine the priority by the consequences if it isn’t going to get done.
  • Review this list at the start of each day and work out what you may have time to do that day.
  • Ignore your e-mails and the social media (at least for a little bit). These are priceless tools but can become a very big distraction.
  • When you do get to your inbox, look at what needs to be answered now, later or not at all. Move things out of your inbox as quickly as possible. Set aside a different time to answer personal e-mails; you don’t want to give your friends and family the impression you don’t have time for them by writing back a short response. On the contrary, write only what is necessary to answer a work related e-mail. By providing short and concise responses the person on the other end will often mirror your style and provide you with the same courtesy (or they may mistake you for a man). One way or another, this will help to reduce the amount of writing you need to do!
  • Make time for yourself and your family. It is so easy to get caught up with a constant flood of e-mails especially when they are delivered to your phone. When you are having family time, mute the phone and the e-mails.
  • Make sure there are work free days where you simply leave it all well alone.

More often than not we try too hard to please everyone around us. When you are working from home, it is very easy to take on too much and push yourself too hard. Respect it for what it is; it is a real job and as such should have dedicated hours, and likewise, dedicated time off as well.

To learn more about Lisa’s great baby sign language products visit http://www.toddlerinterpreter.com

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Comments

  1. Little Billies says:

    What a great reminder! I especially loved the comment about the short (man) emails!

  2. Work From Home Data Entry says:

    This site is so cool, love reading all the blog and postings, hope to chat with you soon… :)

    Work From Home Data Entry

  3. Great thoughts. As a day care mom, I have a combination of things: set hours, but I definitely feel like I'm working all the time. It's really helpful to set times when I'm "closed," which means I get to relax and turn off. Sometimes I feel pressure to be the hyper-present parent, always ready with an exciting project and a healthy snack. And sometimes… we just have to turn on the TV for a while and simply be together, without the pressure. It makes me a better mom and a better day care provider to turn off sometimes!

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