Working at home can be a great thing. It can give you the freedom to work how, when, and where you want, as well as make for some fantastic money saving opportunities. However, when pairing working from home with taking care of a child or children, it can be a challenge to keep your productivity level up while still making time to spend with the kiddies. And it can be depressing when you have the chance to stay home with the kids, but not have the ability to make available time to spend with them.
Over the last four years, I’ve had the opportunity to work from home while also raising my son. While I have to say, there have certainly been challenges along the way, I can come out the other side saying it’s been a rewarding experience, and one in which I was still able to get my work done and make time to spend with him. Here are a few of the techniques that I’ve used to allow me to free up time for fun with him as well as work.
Pack a Lunch
You’ll have to prepare lunch, if not for you, at least for your little one or ones. And if that’s the case, why not pack a picnic to enjoy some quality outdoor time. If you don’t have time to go to the park, just hitting the backyard for something different and special can make lunch a time to be enjoyed together.
Put Yourself in His or Her Shoes
Consider if you were the three or four-year-old and had the opportunity to spend time with mommy or daddy, but all he or she did was stare at the computer all day, giving little or no attention to you. Would you feel a little disheartened? I know I would.
Putting yourself in your little one’s shoes can help pry you away from your work, even if it’s just for a little while to do something special with your child. And remember, these years won’t last forever. Before you know it, they will be all grown up and will have flown the coop while your work will likely still be there, so enjoy the chance while you have it and before that sweet cherub face becomes that of a raging punk teenager.
Friends, family, and events at the local library, community center, and similar spots can be great babysitters when you’re in a crunch to get some work done. While this won’t make more time for you to spend with your children, it can make you feel better about not neglecting them and provide the opportunity for them to have fun with people or at events with which you are secure and comfortable.
For special events or at certain locations, you might even be able to take some work with you so that you can work while you wait for your child.
A Little Exercise
Many of us take a little time out of our work-at-home day to do a few calisthenics, exercises or take a brief walk. Since we are no longer walking to and from the train or hiking from the bus to work, our at-home work environment can lead to a more sedentary lifestyle.
A little exercise time can be good for you and your child and give you a little extra time together in the process.
Break Time Won’t Be at the Water Cooler
At home, you won’t likely be taking your breaks around the water cooler, gossiping or talking about last night’s American Idol episode. When working at home with a child, you will probably instead find that your breaks are now spent playing and interacting with your little one.
While this might not be the most relaxing of 15-minute breathers, it can still be a nice step back from work, and make you feel better about spending a few quality minutes focusing on — and only on — your precious little one.
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