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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Balance Beam of Work and Family

By Patty Benton

“Mommy, I need milk!” “Mommy, can I watch TV?” “Mommy, I want to go outside!” “Mommy, Bobby hit me!” are few of the comments WAHM(P-parents) hear on a daily basis. That is if their child can talk. Mine, just pushes the keyboard away and climbs on my lap-or even better-she throws herself on the floor screaming.

“Honey, when is dinner?” “Honey, what time are we leaving for…” “Honey, where is Bobby’s baseball bat?” are a few of the comments we may hear from our spouses.

All this, while we are trying to finish the project that is due first thing in the morning. Or working on our next advertising piece. Or doing one of the other million things any person who runs their own business HAS to get finished.

Does this sound like what you go through on a daily basis why you are working? If so, don’t feel alone, the majority of small business owners who work out of their homes, experience this trial.

Now, what are you going to do about it? Though I won’t claim to have this perfected (remember, my daughter likes to throw herself on the floor screaming), I have begun to find a balance. Here are some tips on how to find your balance between home and work:

Pay attention to when it seems you get the most interruptions. I find that about 5 pm everyday, my daughter would get whiny, and want my attention. So, after recognizing this pattern, I adjusted my schedule to give my daughter that important time she needs (after all, she is the inspiration for my business). I work through her nap and then until about 5. Then I take off 5-7 to spend time with her and for dinner. Schedule your work time to when you will be most effective. If you can only work for 2 hours here, 2 hours there, and then 4 hours here, so be it. Work only when you can be effective-even if it means working late into the night why everyone is asleep. I used to go to bed no later than 9, but have now found that I need the time why my daughter is asleep to work, so I have started staying up until 11 and working.

Enlist your partner/spouse to help. That is what marriage is all about-working together. If you are a woman, don’t feel like it is your job to do everything for your children! After dinner, my daughter has about an hour before she goes to bed, my husband takes this time and uses it to bond with her, while I work. Then we both put her to bed-together.

Split up the chores. Okay, the biggest distraction is a messy house (at least for me), so we split up the chores. Both my husband and I agreed on what we would each do. I cook, he cleans up afterwards. He washes and dries the laundry, I help take care of it. I keep the house picked up daily, but after my daughter goes to bed, he picks up whatever she has gotten out. Make it work for both of you!

Remember your spouse. Yes, they need their lovey time too. Make sure that you spend time just the two of you, even if you have to put that time into your schedule. I have a daily schedule and my day is mapped out. I’ve included family time, business time, and me time (VERY IMPORTANT). Every minute of my day is accounted for. Though this may sound tedious, it is essential to make sure my business doesn’t take away from my family, and my family doesn’t take away from my business.

Lastly, lay out your plan for your family. Make sure they are committed. Then enforce it. If it is your work time, work and make them entertain themselves. If it is your family time, focus on your family and leave the work for later. It won’t go anywhere!

Having your own business takes sacrifice from you and your family, but it’s worth it if you can find the balance. Make finding your balance a priority!!


rnbresearch said...

I appreciate the labor you have put in developing this blog. Nice and informative.

Anonymous said...

I agree that it can be very difficult finding the right balance as work at home moms. When my daughter was younger, I had a box filled with paper, crayons and a play phone. We would schedule office time with a promise of watching a movie together later. She would play in her little office area near my desk as I worked on projects. We also hand signals when calls would come through.

Another key element in planning your week is to plug extra time in your work schedule. This will cover you when the unexpected happens.

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