Work-at-Home Mom

Hello, Mommy. Watcha doin'?

In an early blog, I alluded to me working from home. Well, I managed to do so for seven days while my sitter was in Ireland. She had a backup, but I figured I could use a week off from a daycare bill. Plus, it was a good opportunity to see if I could pull it off in the event the option came up again. With the help of a laptop and lots of time management, it worked out fine. It is possible. It’s not for everyone and not all jobs are conductive to working at home, particularly with a child, but for some, it can work. I go back to work tomorrow after seven productive days working from my couch office, listening to indie rock podcasts with my little guy while he explored his toy world below. If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, by choice or chance, I’ve listed a few tips that helped me:

1. Create and follow a schedule. It might take a few days to get a routine down, but try to create one. I followed my regular morning routine, made sure I got a shower and got out of my PJs, etc. I think dressing the part helps you take your work more seriously. While the vision of doing work in your sweats sounds cushy, getting a shower and putting on a clean pair of jeans and a shirt just makes you feel more on your game and prepared to “do it all.”

2. Make your important phone calls when baby’s napping. Nuff said. I still ended up on two phone calls with Ollie squeaking in the background, but I’m lucky to work at a local magazine with a bunch of family types who “get it.”

3. Be prepared to work harder and longer than 9 to 5. In order to justify working at home — no matter how cool your boss is or cushy your job is — working at home is a luxury that is not owed to you. What that means is that you might we working after baby goes to bed for the night and before he’s up in the morning. I certainly did.

4. Be Super Mom. My attitude has always been, hey, I decided to be a mom, so no matter what, I’m going to be a damn good one. When you’re a work-at-home mom, it’s easy to lose sight of Job No. 1 when the one that pays the bills is on the line. Baby comes first, though, when you’re in charge. And that explains #3. Everything else can wait.

5. Take a break. You have to get down on your hands and knees and play with your kid, read to him, talk to him. It’s good for you to get away from the computer and it’s good for him to have some face time.

6. Stay in touch. Check in with your boss and colleagues often and prepare to give everyone and their brother access to your cell and e-mail. Remember to answer unknown phone calls with “Hello, this is …” or let them go to voicemail.

7. Overcompensate. This kind of goes back to #3, like man of these tips. The luxury of being a work-at-home mom means you might have to go above and beyond. If you’re willing to take on the duties of mom and full-time employee, you probably already do.

I’m going back to work tomorrow for a lot of reasons. From a mother’s perspective, I like the fact that my child is socializing with three other little kids while I’m working. He can’t get that while I’m on the clock typing away on my laptop. And from an employee’s perspective, I really need to check my voicemail. I still haven’t figured out how to do that remotely. Haha! Really, though, I need to get back into the office.

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