Running your own home business isn’t easy. There are so many things around to distract you, and people who work outside of their homes don’t have this same problem. When you’re first starting your business, it usually takes a pretty high priority in your life, and you may find yourself juggling your work life and your home life. Both can be managed successfully. It’s all a matter of balance.
One of the most important parts of your home life is your child. Many people, especially moms, start a home business thinking they will be able to spend more time with their children, but this usually doesn’t end up being the case. In a sense, working at home is the same as working outside of the home: it still works. You have a job to do; granted, you probably have more flexibility to do the work on your own time schedule. But you still have to get the work done.
It’s very important to dedicate special time to your kids.
They may feel they are less important than this new business you are spending hours on, so remember to take some time off and spend quality time doing something that your kids want to do; go to the park or a museum. If you have to run business errands with your kids, try to limit the number of them and then go do something fun, such as to get ice cream, as a reward for the kids for being good. You might want to consider paying your kids if they are old enough to do some simple jobs in your office, perhaps filing or keeping your pencils sharpened. Anything like that will help make them feel more involved in your business and more important to you.
It’s difficult trying to run a business when you are providing full-time care to a child of any age. Babies need constant supervision, diapers, food, snuggling, and playtime. Thankfully they also have naps, but a nap schedule can change at any time so it isn’t necessarily something you can always count on. Toddlers also need a great deal of supervision, and they need more entertainment than do babies. They also may not take naps, which may leave you with very few extended periods of time to work during the day.
It’s a little easier with school children if they are gone all day, but you still have volunteer work at their schools, carpools, and afternoon and evening activities. It’s not that any of these are bad things, and in fact, running your home business is great because it allows you to be there for your children when they need these things. But work does have to be scheduled around these types of activities. Just remember that your kids are only young once; work will always be there but your children won’t.
You will probably, at some point, want to consider your various child-care options. Some people prefer a daycare, where the child is out of the house and with other children, but this can get very costly. Others like to have someone come into the house for a few hours each day or week. This gives you a feeling of security in knowing your child is right there if he truly needs you, but it also gives you time and space to do your work. Another option is a babysitting co-op, where friends take turns babysitting for each other’s children. This is nice because you will likely have a list of people to call for babysitting, but it also means you have to be available to babysit other children too at some point.
Your spouse is another person with whom you will have to find balance in your life. If your spouse is supportive and enthusiastic about your efforts, that makes your life a little easier. However, if your spouse is resentful or uninterested, your job will likely be even harder. It’s a good idea to sit down with your spouse before you start your business and discuss your plans. Let him know how much time you expect to have to spend at this venture and ask for his input on when he thinks is a good time for you to work.
Perhaps you will agree to hire a sitter for a few hours a day, or perhaps you will watch the kids during the day and work after your husband comes home from his job. Whatever the plan, it is important to respect your spouse by sticking with it. If you decide you will work from 9-5 and then you run to the office right after dinner to get back to work, don’t wonder why your spouse gets annoyed. Sure, things come up that throw your plan off track, but it is very important to keep the lines of communication open at all times and keep your spouse informed of what you are doing. After all, that kind of respect is only fair and is probably how you would like to be treated.
Your friends may take a low priority when you start a new business, and they will probably have mixed feelings on that. Real friends will understand, but will also appreciate if you make the effort to keep in touch even when you are busy. After all, you wouldn’t want to be dumped by your friends either. Take the time to send a quick note or email, or call every so often to keep up with what’s going on with your friends. They are part of your support system so treat them as you would want to be treated.
It’s all a matter of balance. Remember that even though you have started a new business and that part of your life is important, keep in mind that you do have a life outside of work. Remember the people in that life and be considerate and respectful of them.