Whether you've been a stay-at-home mom for a year or ten, it can be a tricky transition for you--and your family-when you start working at home. Score a successful transition from a SAHM to a WAHM--and get your family excited about it!--with these tips.
Talk to your family. When you land your new telecommuting position, sit down to tell your family about it. Explain that while you will still be home, you might not be as available as you were before. But be sure to celebrate your success--go out to dinner or spend some quality family time together. That way, your kids will view your newly employed status as a good thing.
Create a dedicated space. It's hard to explain to a two-year-old that Mommy is busy working when Mommy works a little in the kitchen, a little on the couch, and a little bit in her bedroom. Create an official office space so that the kids know that when you are there, you're officially on the clock.
Set your office hours. Even if your position offers flexible hours, try to stick to a schedule. This will not only help you as you transition to working at home, but it will also help your children get used to the new routine.
Give your husband a reminder. While your partner is on board with you working at home, he might be the first one to "relapse" and forget that you are actually working. For example, he might ask you to take the car in for a tune up or pick up some extra steaks for the BBQ this weekend--during your working hours. Luckily, this is most likely a habit. So gently remind your sweetie of your work schedule and that house responsibilities now need to be split down the middle.
Hire a sitter. If you think you can type juggle your new job responsibilities with a newborn without assistance (or losing your mind), think again. Every job will have a learning curve which will be harder to grasp if you try to juggle it all alone. So as soon as you get hired, hire a sitter (or three) of your own. This will help you to be as professional as possible in your new position--and keep the kids busy while you work on meeting your deadlines.
Find time for yourself. Between getting your family settled, adjusting to your new routine and trying to balance household duties, you might get lost in the shuffle. Take some time for yourself during the day, whether it's a walk or letting the sun hit your face for fifteen minutes. It will rejuvenate you and keep you centered as you balance work and motherhood.
Get your family involved. Your family might feel left out of the excitement of Mom's New Job. So keep them involved in the process. You can go office furniture shopping together and let your little ones pick out the supplies to help spruce up your new space. Or over dinner after you start working, everyone can take turns talking about how their day was, and that means you, too. Talk about the fun or interesting things you're doing or learning in your new job. When the kids see that you're excited, they'll be excited, too.
Do practice runs first. Before you officially start working, do a dry run of what your day will be like. Pick a weekend day to do this and pretend that you're officially working. See how many times the kids try to interrupt you for a glass of water or how often you have to stop working to break up a fight over the last cupcake. Use this opportunity to explain to them how you're now working and can't be interrupted. This is an easy, less stressful way to break the kids--and yourself--into the new routine without the pressure of actually being on desk duty.
Get advice. Reach out to other moms who work at home to see how they made the transition. Chances are, each one will have advice that she'll want to share. You can talk to friends or even reach out to moms on community boards for their words of wisdom. Learning from these experiences will better prepare you for the challenges--and joys--that lie ahead when you start working.
Be flexible. Despite all your planning, things will go wrong. A babysitter will get sick--and so will your child. Your Internet might go out--right before a company-wide Skype call. Don't panic. These things happen. Try to plan as much as you can but don't be disappointed when you hit a bump in the road. Let it roll off your back and learn how you can do better the next time. After all, like many moms who are working at home, you should never lose sight that you are doing great things for your family--and for yourself.
Jennifer Parris is the Career Writer for FlexJobs, an award-winning service that helps job-seekers find professional opportunities that offer work flexibility, such as telecommuting, freelance, part-time or alternative schedules. To learn more about Jennifer, visit FlexJobs.com or tweet @flexjobs.