I'm excited to welcome Lisa to the blog! Lisa is a work-at-home, homeschooling mom of four kiddos. She knows a thing or two about juggling parenting and working from home, and she's been kind enough to share her expertise with us today.
Take it away, Lisa!
Because more and more people are experiencing the freedom that working from home provides, many freelancers out there are moms and dads who stay home with their children and manage a business. This can present its own set of challenges, however, in that there are many distractions during the day. If it's not from something shiny on the internet, then it's from the young ones about us whom we love and are trying to provide for.
So how do we manage to work from home and be a good parent at the same time, all the while keeping our sanity? Take heart: It CAN be done! Listed below are some helpful ways you can manage this challenging time in your life.
First off (and this is so important in your work-at-home journey—parent or not), communication with your clients is ESSENTIAL. I cannot reinforce this point enough. You have to let them know the constraints you have on your schedule and that it may not be possible to work during normal business hours. Or maybe you can’t take on a big project right now, but is there something you can do with a more lenient deadline? Children, especially babies, don’t always follow the clock, and because of that, it can be difficult to predict when you will be able to work. But when you ARE able to work, take advantage of that time!
Kids love the attention of Mom and Dad. They might want to show off their most recent Lego creation or newest piece of modern art. They don’t understand what a deadline is or that you have a big project to work on. A way to help keep distraction to a minimum is letting your children know that you are working and can’t be interrupted during certain times of the day. Establishing these boundaries early on will save much frustration. Assure them they can have your undivided attention later, but right now it’s time to get work done. It won’t take long for them to figure out that they have to wait and they can play with Mom or Dad afterward.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a spouse, older children, or good friends. You are not, in fact, a superhero, so put away your cape! There are certain times in life when asking for help is critical, and I’m not just talking about for work-related things. I’m talking about for your own mental health. This is an important part of self-care that is often neglected when we work from home with young children underfoot. So think about who your support system is and see if someone can lend a helping hand. Many times people are more than happy to help, but we don’t know it because we don’t ask.
There is so much that’s hard about this stage of life. And when you have clients and projects that demand your time, you may feel like you have to be a superhero to get anything done. Even taking a shower can seem like a luxury some days! But keep in mind, your children will not always be small, and though these days can seem long and endless, they really aren’t. Life won’t always be full of children traipsing through the living room. You won’t always have to pick up Cheerios off the floor and wipe messy, smiling faces. One day, these blessings will be gone, so as much as you can, enjoy life right now with all the craziness that comes with it. In the grand scheme of things, THIS is what matters.
Great advice, Lisa! Don’t let the fact that you have young children deter you from your work-at-home dream. While it's hard to manage a business and a household, it is definitely not impossible. You just have to get creative sometimes. And remember, it will go by fast!
What are some ways you juggle working from home with young children underfoot? Do you have any helpful ways to manage it all? I’d love to hear it in the comments below!
What separates a ho-hum transcriptionist from an excellent one? Is there even a demand for transcription? Who hires transcriptionists?
Can anyone be a transcriptionist?
Get the answers to all these questions and more by enrolling in my free introductory course, Transcription Foundations.
For our legal transcription mini-course, click here.