If you’re a working mom, you may jump at the opportunity to work from home. You’re able to spend more time with your children, you can work at your own pace, and you can save on daycare and commuting costs. But working at home with children isn’t always a walk in the park. And if you’re not careful, you might make any of these ten mistakes.
See also: How to Avoid the Work from Home Scams
1. Working in Sloppy Clothes
If you’re juggling caring for your children with working, you might feel it’s pointless to get dressed. However, hanging out in your bathrobe and flannel pajamas all day can make you feel sluggish and reduce productivity. It’s okay to be comfortable, but make sure you start each day with a shower and fresh clothes. This gets your mind geared up for the day and it might increase productivity.
2. Being Unrealistic
Be honest and consider whether you’re actually able to work with your kids in the house. With everyone home, your morning routine might be easier. However, explore daycare options if you can’t accomplish anything due to noise and interruptions.
3. Not Having a Set Schedule
As a work at home mom, you’ll probably get off schedule from time to time. But this doesn’t mean you don’t need a schedule. If you don’t have a schedule, it’s harder to stay focused and your days may seem chaotic and erratic. Go to bed early and get your day started at the same time each day.
4. Thinking You Don't Need a Home Office
Even if you don’t have space for an actual home office, you need a dedicated workspace. This is where you keep your computer, documents and supplies. If you’re constantly moving from the kitchen table to the coffee table or your bedroom, you might lose focus or find it difficult to stay organized.
5. No Self-Discipline
Not only do you need a schedule, you need self-discipline. It doesn’t matter if it’s a beautiful day outside – you can’t always blow off work and head to the beach with the kids.
6. Feeling Guilty About Getting Behind on Housework
Although you’re working from home, your job may require six to eight hours of uninterrupted time, so don’t feel guilty if you can’t vacuum the floors, start dinner early or finish laundry before the evening hours. The same way a mom who works outside the house can’t complete housework until after hours, you may need a similar schedule for chores. Sometimes, there just isn’t enough time in the day for work and chores, so don’t feel guilty if housework has to wait until the weekends.
7. Not Scheduling "Me" Time
Juggling work and kids gets exhausting, so make sure you schedule time for yourself each day. Even if you only walk around the block for 20 minutes or sit on your porch and enjoy a cup of coffee while your children nap. This should be uninterrupted time with no work or kids.
8. Never Taking a Day Off
Whether you run a home business or telecommute for an employer, you need breaks — in addition to your daily “me” time breaks. Discipline and hard work are excellent traits, but you need a healthy work/life balance. If you’re a single parent, you might be tempted to work long hours to make ends meet. But it’s crucial to schedule days off to avoid burnout.
9. Being Everyone's Backup Babysitter
Since you’re home during the days, friends and family may think of you as their backup babysitter. If their regular babysitter’s sick or if schools are closed for the day, they might give you a call. However, you and your children probably have a perfect, airtight routine. And, unfortunately, a visiting child in the home can disrupt this routine. Set boundaries and limit how much assistance you offer others during the workday.
10. Relying on Friends and Family to Support Your Business
You might offer a useful service or product. But avoid the pitfall of only marketing your business to friends, family and neighbors. Don’t expect them to buy your products or use your services just because they know you. You might get some support from your inner circle, but it’s not their responsibility to fully support your business. Learn different ways to market your product or service.
Working from home with children is a juggling act. But if you can avoid these common mistakes, it’ll be easier to find a happy balance.
What work at home mistakes are you guilty of?