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Working from home: How do you do it?

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  • Working from home: How do you do it?

    I just started a part-time, "work-from-home" job. The only way I've been able to get any work done, though, is to leave the house! My husband is staying home with the kiddo and I'm going to the library or coffee shop to do my work.

    I've spent lots of time working away from the home and am well-versed in this. Doing 2 jobs simultaneously (caring for kiddo and doing a job for someone who pays me) is a new challenge!

    I'd love to hear how you've made it work. Some particular questions are:
    When in your child's day you are able to work (naptime, after bed)?

    How is your office set-up within the general layout of your house (are you isolated in the basement, do you work in the living room where they play)?

    And any other helpful advice you can share!

    Thanks for reading

  • #2
    I am not currently working from home, though I have before (it was volunteering work, but very much work) and I found the best time to work was when the kids were playing on their own, when one was napping, or late at night.

    When I worked in marketing full time, before kids, I worked with a WAHM that did graphic design for us. All of her work would come in late at night. I'd look at the email or the fax she sent and it was sent like at 1am or something really late like that. Zzzzzz....tired just thinking about that!


    • #3
      I currently work full time from home, and my dd is in full time daycare, but she home with me at least part of the time for her first 18 months. Some days she's still home now if daycare is closed, or sick days. My office is in a separate room off the living room, but when we're both here, I usually take my laptop out into the kitchen or sit with it on the couch. She goes through phases when it's really easy, she'll play by herself for hours. And then there are phases where it's just impossible unless she's napping.

      If you are only working part-time, you may be able to keep some special toys that are just for work time, or even pull out something new on those days. Definitely take advantage of naps. I'm also not opposed to a well timed TV show or video here and there.


      • #4
        Thanks for the ideas! I definitely don't want to be working at 1 a.m.

        I like the idea of having special toys or activities for Work Time, and it really could work since I'm only expected to work 20 hours/week. And I could do half of that time when my husband is home with her if I could just squeeze in the rest while he's working.

        I'm reading Playful Parenting and really liked his idea of Play Time. My daughter might be a bit young to really get it, but I think I will definitely start the routine - balancing Work Time-with special activities or toys she can play with by herself-with Play Time-where I completely devote my time to her and let her do whatever she wants (within reason).


        • #5
          When I was working from home I found that after bedtime was the best time for me to get any work done. But I'm kinda a night owl, and my daughter isn't a reliable napper.

          I'm doing almost entirely computer based stuff so I just sat with my laptop in the livingroom.

          Ultimately I found that I needed to be at an "office" away from home in order to be efficient. But that's a personality thing more than a kid thing.


          • #6
            I was a failure at working at home w/ my dd. I did it from the time she was 4 months old until 13 months and the ONLY time I got work done was if she was asleep at night (not a reliable napper) and if I had my husband or mother over for a full day on the weekends and even then it was difficult because our office is just a sectioned off part of the living room. My daughter could see me and not understand why she couldn't come over to me and have me to herself.

            Thankfully, my contract work had an end date and I politely declined any further work.

            I think if I had an office that had a door and I could close it off then on those days where there was another caretaker, I would have been able to work more efficiently.

            Sorry that I'm not more help!


            • #7
              I am a photographer, and i have 3 kids (2 little one's..) so i just mainly schedule all of my shoots in the afternoon when my husband is home, and on weekends.. my studio is in my home which makes it a little easier to work with too..

              all of the photo fixing/enhancing, etc i can do while the kids are napping, so it works out pretty well for me.


              • #8
                Sounds like the key is to keep my expectations realistic! I think a back-up plan will be helpful. I'll talk to my husband about a plan that if I'm unable to do a certain amount of work when he's away, then he'll watch her for me later so that I can leave the house or whatever I need to do to get things done.

                Thanks for sharing your situations!


                • #9
                  I've been working from home for one month now. Previous to this my DD was in day care 3 days a week and with daddy one day. I was in the office 4 days a week.

                  Working from home is hard! Much harder than I thought it would be. I live in really tiny house. My work computer is on a corner of the kitchen table. (Our main computer is in an armoire in the living room but I needed a desk to spread out). Our table is large so the computer and monitor don't take up too much room. The rest of my stuff is on top of my computer armoire and in a tote bag I stash under the table. I am a bookkeeper so most of my stuff is reciepts, invoices, etc.

                  I work for about 1-2 hours in the morning depending on how my DD's behaivor is. During that time she is sitting at the table with me doing play-doh, paint with water, puzzles etc. The living room is right next to the dining room so she'll play in there with her toys and sometimes watch Sesame Street.

                  I can't really work during her naptime because it usually coincides with the time I need to pick my older DS from preschool. Sometimes I'm usually able to squeeze in a half hour of work while she is napping.

                  The rest of my work is done in the evenings after the kids are in bed. They are usually asleep by 7:30-8 so I have plenty of time. By nature I am a night owl so it is no problem for me to work in the evenings. The hardest part is the loss of my personal evening time. I used to spend nights on the computer, catching up on house work, watching tv, reading books, sewing, etc. and now I am working. So I make sure to give myself a night or two off for myself. It's hard because I usually want to work every day.

                  Anyway, it is very hard. I wish you the best.


                  • #10
                    i have to admit, i am starting to feel slightly overwhelmed.. i recently launched a second business, and between making wraps and doing photo shoots, editing, and all that other stuff, i'm just getting tired! but i try to NOT work during the day when i'm alone with the kids (which is nearly impossible..) so that i am not totally wiped out, but i am still managing, so thats a good thing, right? :lol:


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by amyflowers View Post
                      i have to admit, i am starting to feel slightly overwhelmed.. i recently launched a second business, and between making wraps and doing photo shoots, editing, and all that other stuff, i'm just getting tired! but i try to NOT work during the day when i'm alone with the kids (which is nearly impossible..) so that i am not totally wiped out, but i am still managing, so thats a good thing, right? :lol:
                      HI Amy,
                      I know just how you feel. I many times feel overwhelmed too. I have had a couple of different work at home opportunities, but have had to quit them because for me it always got to be to much and I was forgetting about the reason I am home, to be with my kids. Its tough to be a mom who is involved in many things. I now do a lot of volunteering, and the nice thing about that is that its "volunteering". I do it when I can and I don't have to feel bad about not doing it during the day, if I can't get to it.

                      I love principal tips for maintaining balance that are posted on the API website. Here
                      I am always trying to remind myself to "not be afraid to say no, avoid overscheduling, and to take care of myself" These are my personal biggies because I always find myself falling into the trap and trying to get myself back out of them.

                      I hope you find your balance and are able today to sit back and take a breathe...even if it means 5 minutes later you are off again.

                      hugs sister,


                      • #12
                        Great links, thanks!

                        I am realizing that being a mom is another full-time job. I have always been a workaholic, so it was bothering me that I couldn't do as much - but, when counting being a mom as a job, I am doing more!


                        • #13
                          Hi All,

                          In response to working from home - I'm still on maternity leave from my out of the home full time job. However we also have our own business and so while I've been home I have attempted to work.... before out little one was born - we thought that I would get a lot done while baby was sleeping etc.... it never happened!! He has never been a good sleeper, now as he gets a bit older (he is 19 months) it is a little easier.

                          However, it pays to be really flexible, while he is happily playing and occupying himself, I can get work done. Once he wants my attention though, I really need to stop and spend time with him. I can also get work done while he is napping in the afternoon. Other than that we have our mothers helping out and we've also employed a nanny part time too. The best bit about this set up for us is that we still get to spend a lot of time with our little boy - while still being able to run our business.

                          That said it is really difficult to balance everything.... although I'd rather be doing this than working outside the home.... this i'm not looking forward to - but I will be returning to my employment outisde the home in just a few weeks!!!




                          • #14
                            I work from home full time, and the only way I was able to make it work was to hire a nanny, which of course may negate what kind of money you're making by working from home. It did happen to work for us, and I still got to nurse DD (sometimes while on conference call)s and be available as needed when she was little. Once she turned two we'd really spent all our money on having a nanny, so I went a more economical route and put her in a PT, nurturing in-home preschool and then worked with my employer on flex time so that I could pick her up at 2:30 each day, M-Th. We also had a sitter come twice a week to be with her in the afternoon and on Fridays. Now that my daughter is 3, she's in another in-home preschool that goes until 3:30. It's not easy to make that schedule work (my DH and I take turns with pick up) but I'd rather do that than have her in school 9-5 or 9-6 every day. But it is stilil hard to this day to get much work done if DD is at home. It might be easier if you have more than one child and they are older, so they can entertain each other for longer periods, but it's tricky with an only child who is young. I guess much depends on how focused you need to be on the work at any given moment as well.

                            Wish I had more encouraging news for working from home, but I just always felt like I wasn't being present enough with my child (and causing much frustration for us both) if I was trying to work during non-sleeping times without a sitter to care for her. If you could find a mother's helper, that might work for you, however. Or, you could wait until your child is a little older to attempt working from home if possible...?