Even the most organized work-at-home mom faces the issue of what to when work conflicts with kids' schedules. It happens from time to time, because of deadlines, client meetings and other business tasks that must get done during business hours. Those times can be stressful if you don't plan ahead. Knowing what to do, and having the resources in place will help you make swift decisions and accomplish the tasks that need to get done.
Your priority is to ensure that your children are taken care of. Each situation is different and deserves a response that makes sense, but the principle that you are a mother first and an entrepreneur second applies. The first thing to do then is to assess the situation. Figure out the best solution that will ensure that your kids' needs are met. That's different from finding a solution to give them what they want. Your child needs to be picked up from violin lessons, but he doesn't need to go to his favorite restaurant. Allocate your resources, including your time, energy and money to make sure that your children are taken care of in the situation where there is a conflict. If you can't do both, then put your children first.
In most cases, you can find solutions to resolve work conflicts. Sometimes, your clients and customers are more than accommodating, as long as you have a reliable track record to date and are honest in your communications. If you've committed to delivery work on a certain date and have met every other milestone to date, but work conflicts with your kids' schedule on the day that you're supposed to deliver work that's unavoidable, then you should contact the client or employer immediately. Be honest about what's happening and ask for a reasonable extension. Don't choose this option unless you're really in a corner and have no other alternatives. However, many people will accommodate you, as long as you've proven yourself to be valuable to them.
Work conflicts should not occur frequently, but when they do, then try these tips to improve the situation:
- Change your work hours, even if it means starting work earlier or working late at night.
- Be more productivity while you work, so that you don't have to work longer than necessary.
- Meet deadlines earlier rather than later as much as possible, so that you you're not always making a choice between work and your kids' schedules.
- Limit your kids' activities. It's hard to keep your home running smoothly and meeting your spouse and kids' needs when you're running all over town for extracurricular activities.
- Pick one or two days a week only for kids' outside activities. If
it's more frequent, then you're guaranteed to have work conflicts with
These are proven ways that moms working at home with multiple kids have been able to avoid problems with conflicting schedules. Brainstorm additional ways that you can avoid the problem in the first place, and take the steps to do it now, and not later.
Don't schedule major meetings or deadlines when your spouse is not available if possible. If work conflicts with any of your kids' schedules, he can be home or close by to help.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.