by Rachael Hoffman
Working from home while caring for toddlers can be an extreme challenge. Trying to find the time to work on your business, without depriving your toddler of the love and attention they need can be hectic. Often times, work at home moms find that either their toddler is spending too much time in front of the TV or that the business is neglected. So, how do you get your business thriving while still being a good mom?
The first thing moms with toddlers need to do is be realistic. Unless you can find a way to add more hours to the day, you simply can not work a full time 40-hour workweek from home on your business with a toddler under foot. If you need to work your business full time for financial reasons, you may want to look into daycare or hiring a mother's helper to come to your home.
But working part time with doesn't mean you can't work your business and make it a success. What it means is that you need to set a realistic goal for how much time you can spend on your business and be creative for finding time in the day to do it. Below are some ideas you can use.
1. Give your toddler his own office.
Most moms find that their toddlers want to be like mom as much as possible. So, set your toddler up with a table and chair next to yours. Make sure you have good office supplies for them. A coloring book, a few sheets of paper, crayons and a pencil are basic essentials. If possible, an imitation computer and play phone would be ideal office equipment. Then sit at your desk and work beside your child. Remember that a toddler requires a lot of praise, so be sure to look over at your child's work and compliment it from time to time. Also keep their attention span in mind. Keep your child's office time limited to a half-hour and only do this once a day. It keeps your child from getting bored with the "game". Be sure to reward your child for working and allowing you to work with some quality time afterwards.
2. Choose your activities during their
wake time wisely.
When you toddler is awake, you'll often find that you can't get long periods of time strung together to work. So, use their "awake" time effectively. Doing the dishes requires a lot less concentration than optimizing your webpages. Work on the household duties while your toddler is awake keeping them involved. Pull up a chair and let your child watch you do the dishes while singing their favorite songs to them. Chase your child around while vacuuming. Sure, you may miss a small inch of the living room while running down the hall yelling "I'm gonna get you!" but your kids will love it. Let your toddler "help" you fold laundry and ask them to tell you who each piece of clothing belongs to. This allows you to get some of the household duties done while having fun with your child. And more importantly, while giving your child some time and attention from you.
3. Use naptime productively.
If you can get basic household chores done with your child while they are awake, it should free up naptime for you to work on your business. Set aside 1-2 days a week to use naptime for large household cleaning jobs such as bathrooms and mopping floors. On the other 3-4 days, spend it working your business. Most toddlers will sleep between 1 and 2 hours a day, giving you some solid time to work uninterrupted. Also use this time to make any business phone calls you may need to make. Be sure not to get distracted. It is easy to have a friend call and eat up your work time, or to sit down and get drawn into a TV show. Be sure to stay focused.
4. Let your toddler go on an outing.
Once every two weeks or so, try to get a day to yourself to work. You can have a family member take your toddler for the day if you have a family member available to do this. Grandmas are usually the top choice. If you don't have family nearby or family who are willing and able to do this, try swapping alone time with another mom and offer to exchange play dates. One week you take her toddler for the day and allow the kids some playtime. Do not try to work on this day. Make it fun and head for the park or fill up the baby pool in the backyard. Be prepared to spend the day chasing kids. Then, the next week she can take your child for the day and give the kids another special and fun day of playing. Meanwhile, you can spend the day working without interruption at your business.
Above all, remember that your child won't be a toddler forever. Being a mom only comes once in a lifetime. Be sure to cherish your kids and work your business around them and not spend time with them around your business.
In ten years you won't remember your exasperation at only being able to work your business 20 hours a week until they entered school. But you will remember the day they wore that strainer for a hat and sang to you on that kitchen spoon as they run out the door and ride their bike out of sight.
Rachael Hoffman is a work at home mom and affiliate
marketer who owns and operates a successful telecommunications
website - Discount
Long Distance Rates, among others. Rachael can be reached
through her website at http://www.discountlongdistancerates.com
or via email at [email protected].