Balance Earning a Living with Raising Kids Under One Roof By Larry Alton Updated August 28, 2015 In tough economic times, m...
Balance Earning a Living with Raising Kids Under One Roof
By Larry Alton
Updated August 28, 2015
In tough economic times, many households decide that two incomes are necessary; and yet, childcare is often unaffordable. The solution? One parent works from home and watches the children. It’s a challenging proposition, for sure. However, it’s also doable.
According to survey numbers released earlier this summer by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 23 percent of all employed persons do some or all of their work at home.
That’s up from only 19 percent in 2003. And as telecommuting and working from home become more popular within traditional businesses, that number is likely to rise even more.
That begs the question, how can you simultaneously handle the responsibilities of being a parent and an employee – without compromising either role? It’s far from easy, but certainly possible. Here are some important tips to consider:
1. Set a Firm Schedule
The first step to being efficient and successful at home is setting and keeping a firm schedule. Everyone in the family should know that you have a schedule, and that it must be respected at all times. Sure, accidents happen, internet connections go down, children get sick, and project deadlines get pushed back. The best way to add organization to the chaos is through a schedule.
2. Make the Most Out of Quiet Times
Aside from setting a schedule, making efficient use of ‘quiet times’ is the single most important thing you can do.
Quiet times refer to the segments of the day when your children can’t bother you. This could be when they’re at school, at a friend’s house, taking a nap, or early or late in the day while they’re in bed. You can even schedule a activity to keep them busy. Build quiet-time into your schedule and use them wisely.
3. Get Children Involved
If children are old enough and responsible, you can get them involved in your work. This is beneficial for three distinct reasons. (1) It may allow you to increase productivity and production. You essentially have another employee working for you. (2) Teaching children about something can improve your understanding of it, too. Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” The simple act of explaining a concept to your child may spark a revelation. (3) Involving your children in your work fosters their own sense of learning and instills valuable life skills.
4. Have a Dedicated Office
There’s no way around it – you need a dedicated office or workspace that’s 100 percent yours. For one, the IRS requires that your office be used regularly and exclusively to qualify for the home office deduction. Beyond that, a separate space is where you can retreat and focus. Ideally, this is a room with a door and a lock; however, you may have to get creative depending on your living arrangement.
Working on the kitchen table may be practical when you’re simultaneously cooking dinner, but it doesn’t make much sense when the kids are screaming and your spouse is watching television.
If you don’t have room for an entire office in your home or apartment, find a way to place a desk in a spare bedroom or hidden nook. Whatever you do, make sure your family knows this is your workspace – not a play space.
Find Out What Works For You
Each of these tips will enhance your chances of being a successful work-from-home parent. It should be noted, though, that working at home requires a lot of trial and error, and testing of what works for you and your family. Have patience and be flexible, which will help you determine what does and does not work for you.