How to succeed when working from home (with kids around your ankles)

Kinderling News & Features

When my kids are sick I’ve always loved having a job that can pretty easily transfer to home.

But that doesn’t mean I get much done.  

Toggling between sick child and laptop works for an hour or so, but once the movie fun has run out, I start struggling with the questions, and the noise and the work. All at the same time!

Mumpreneuer shares slice of life shot

So, nothing makes me more in awe than parents who work while their little kids are at home with them, every single day. 

American entrepreneur Jessica Jobe made it look easy peasy in a recent email to subscribers.

Home for the summer holidays, she describes watching her 10-year-old son sit through her (two-hour) webinar, while patting his hungry tummy.

"Here’s what my webinar guests saw," wrote Jessica.

"And here’s my reality:"

As Jessica goes on to write, the balance of her day suits her perfectly most of the time. 

“Not everyday is easy, there are many days when I feel like I've chosen the easy path and others where I feel like this is harder -- "Mom, I'm bored." "Mom, I'm hungry." "Mom, the cat barfed." But, I get to be a mom and I get to build my own business -- neither of which ever feels like a job.”

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What's the secret to work from home success?

But what about all those parents out there busy running a business or working from home, while their kids are around them most of the day?

I once had a job where one of the best writers on the team, managed to spin off four stories a day while working around her very inquisitive three-year-old.

Another friend ran a travel business for four years at home, toggling between her office floor, TV and nap time. And she was terrific at both her job and being a mum. 

But what’s the secret to this kind of success on all fronts?

Sheer organization?  A large dash of crazy? Lots of outsourcing?

All of the above and whatever works for you, according to writer, Lisa Druxman.

Here are Lisa's five excellent tips for managing your work from home life with kids in tow.

1. Work on the fringe hours of the day. If your goal is to be home with your kids, then you'll need to work some extreme hours either in the morning or at night. It's not uncommon for mumpreneurs to send e-mails at 5am or in the wee hours of the night.

2. Take advantage of nap time. Good sleep habits are non-negotiable for the mumpreneur. You need to be no-nonsense about naps and diligent about making them happen. I swear by the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I probably get more thank you's for recommending that book than I do for my business.

3. It takes a village. You're a super mum, but you're not Superwoman. You do need help. Consider a baby-sitting co-op with a friend or another mumpreneur. I figure if I'm watching one kid, I might as well watch another. Or you could do what I did when I started Stroller Strides: I had my mother-in-law come to the house two days per week so I could get in a big chunk of work.

4. Supportive spouse. Your spouse has to value your being at home with the kids. Your partner also has to realise that you'll need some help. Maybe they can go to work later one day or come home earlier one evening so you can get some child-free work time.

5. Kid Space. Depending on the age of your kids, consider setting up some child-friendly office space. Maybe your youngster has their own computer with kids' games, colouring, etc. Give them some projects and make the supplies special. For instance, they can only play with those toys during 'work' time. Do not expect to get phone calls or schedule any meetings during this time. But it's a good time to go through the mail, inbox, etc.