I frequent several message boards for mothers, and one message board concerns working from home.
On this board, mothers post questions and advice for other mothers who are working from home. I´ve seen numerous posts on several topics, such as questions that pertain to certain companies and whether they are on the up and up, but I´ve seen one question time and again: I want to work from home; what should I do?
To me, the answer to this question is simple: Find something that you love. And if you are not yet sure what it is that you want to do, start researching, and don´t settle on a work at home job until the doubts that you have about what you should be doing are gone and replaced with a definitive answer.
Working from home seems as though it would be easy, but it is not. You might tend to look at the perks (staying at home with your children when they are small, not commuting, having a more "flexible schedule´) without taking into account the actual work that is involved.
Don´t get me wrong; I did the same thing in the beginning. I looked at the pluses and overlooked the negatives, which include never having a moment of downtown and trying to accommodate a child, a spouse, a clean house, hot food, and a work schedule into just 24 hours a day.
If you are considering running a business from your home, or opening your own home-based business, you need to make sure that what you are doing is something that you are passionate about. I advise against running into a job without doing an enormous amount of research, soul searching, and talking with your spouse first. Your schedule is going to change. You will no longer have naptime, early morning, and late night hours to clean, cook, or even to sit back and relax. You´ll find that you work at every available moment, which means as soon as the dinner is cleaned up and the kids are in bed you are in your home office taking care of business. Also, weekends become a time in which you can get a large amount of work done because your spouse is around to help out with childcare.
And while you will be at home with your young children on a daily basis, it is very easy to let the lines between work and home blur: to handle phone calls while playing with the kids, to pop online to take care of business while sitting down and eating lunch with your toddler. So before going into a home-based business you should make sure that it is something that you can finish while your children are otherwise occupied, as you don´t want to take away time with them, which is, for many women, a main reason for working at home.
Of course, you can play around with creative scheduling so that you still have a lot of time left for your family, and you can look into hiring a mother´s helper, nanny, or babysitter a few times a week that can help with childcare and, perhaps, cleaning and cooking and running errands.
But still, you will be spending a great amount of time starting up and then operating your business, whether you have decided to work for someone else out of your home or to start your own business from scratch. Therefore, make sure that what you are doing is something that you passionate about.
Don´t get me wrong-you will experience burn out from time to time. All mothers do. But at least if you are doing something that you enjoy, you´ll be able to sit back, take the circumstances into account, and understand why you are working so hard, so that when you get back into the daily grind you are happy with the job that you are doing.