I work with many other stay at parents, and the biggest challenge is finding a way to keep the kids occupied and safe so you can get some work done. I have been a stay at home parent for many years, and I have still managed to build a successful home business. My children are now adults, but in the early days of my business I had a very young family and it was a struggle to find balance.
As parentpreneurs, we want to be a superhero and try to do it all. I wanted to be an amazing parent, full-time parent, successful business person, a great friend, a great daughter or son, etc. You can’t be everything to everyone, and you can’t be everywhere doing everything. When you say ‘yes’ to one thing, you are saying ‘no’ to another. The key is to have a plan and schedule your time in advance, as best you can.
Even if it doesn’t work out, having a plan is very important. It gives you a blueprint to follow and adjust along the way. If I hadn’t had my weekly plan when my children were young, I’m sure that little, if anything, would have ever gotten done. There will always be emergencies and constant interruptions that attempt to derail you, but by making a plan and scheduling your time for both business and family, it can help you create balance and ensure you are devoting appropriate time to both. After all, you don’t want to feel like you are neglecting your kids or your work. When everything is written down, you can review it and adjust your schedule as necessary.
Decide what days you want to work (and can work), and what tasks you will commit to on each of those days.
Working at Home With Young Children Under Three Years of Age
If you have children under the age of three, the only time you will likely be able to devote to working is when they’re sleeping or they are under some else’s care. You may be able to make a quick call or do some random tasks on the computer while your toddler is with you, but how long will you be able to continue working until they need your attention?
With a child this young, you need to find some way to get some kid-free time. Some examples are:
•Half-day or part-time preschool
•Kid-swapping with neighbours and other moms.
These are all low-cost childcare solutions that are perfect for work at home moms with young children.
If you only need to work a few hours a day, nap time may be enough time to get your work done. Otherwise, maybe you can work for a few hours at night after they are in bed or your partner could take over the childcare duties for a while.
Use nap and bedtime to your advantage. Be disciplined to get as much work completed in that short time as you can. It’s amazing what you can get done if you don’t let yourself get distracted.
Prioritize what tasks need to be done while your children are asleep and what you can do while they are awake. What tasks do you need quiet or serious concentration for (ex. phone calls)? What can you do while your children are playing and making noise (ex. unloading the dishwasher)?
When my children were really young, I kid-swapped with a neighbour a couple of times a week. Two afternoons a week she had the kids, and two afternoons I had the kids. The benefit to this is you can have scheduled, quality time with the them, and you can have dedicated, uninterrupted time to work without distractions.
If the child has a grandparent who doesn’t want to be a full-time babysitter but would love a few hours a week (or even twice a month) with their grandchild, this may be another good opportunity to devote that time to working on your business.
All of our boys went to afternoon nursery school two times a week when they gave up napping. I was then able to continue to work while the young ones were napping, and it provided a great social experience for the older child.
Working at Home With Older Children
Older children still need a distraction while you work. However, you can always set them up with an activity or a movie, and give them a timer with the instructions to not come into your office until the timer goes off, unless of course, it is an emergency.
Choosing the right business venture to allow yourself to be a work at home parent isn’t easy, and you will need a reliable plan for childcare while you work, but the rewards are worth it. If you would like help to determine the right home business for your lifestyle, if you need help to create a balanced time plan, or you need to find ways to keep your kids occupied while you work, I would like to offer you complimentary coaching call. Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
If you a solopreneur, how do you manage your time when it comes to balancing work and your kids? When do you get the most work done? What tips would you like to share with other parents?