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Tips for Work-at-Home Moms

6 May 2010 No Comment

“Mommy, I need you right now!!” Hearing those words when you’re up against a deadline is as grating as being in rush hour traffic. You thought working at home was going to be all gum drops and lollipops? Sorry, no. But there is help, seasoned entrepreneurial moms offer their work and home advice.

It’s 3:30 in the afternoon, so far your day has been an awkward but familiar mishmash of rice cereal and banana feedings, client e-mails, grocery store adventures, fax machine mishaps, skinned knees, torn knee-highs, letter head confusion, and you now look forward to bath time aquatics and dinner plan amnesia.

You must be a mom business owner.

Most people would agree that being a mom in itself is the most demanding job in existence; one can only expect that being a mompreneur requires an enormous amount of patience, planning, and creativity in order to end the day with more than just a headache.

Being a good mother is at the top of all of our lists; no one wants to imagine their child, 30 years down the line, having an epiphany in their therapist’s office, “It was my mom’s fault!”

While that sounds like a dramatic conclusion to ponder, many mom entrepreneurs struggle with striking that careful balance of managing their home life without letting their venture fall to shambles.

Elke Green, founder of WebMonkee design and self-proclaimed “crazed Monkees fan” is created her business while she was pregnant.

“Managing my time is probably the toughest thing for me,” shared Green, “There are just never enough hours in the day to everything I want and need to do so I’ve started setting time limits to keep me on track.”

Attacking the day without a plan is a surefire recipe for chaos. Writing out a plan the night before can save you in both frustration and Tylenol.

Websites such as the Organized Home (www.organizedhome.com) are great resources. Many of these sites offer free printable weekly and daily planners, grocery lists, and other items to help you stay on top of your life.

Now that we’ve gotten a schedule out of the way, what about those cute little creatures that love to test them? Kids and schedules are why the word “flexibility” exists. What happens when the baby needs you and the clock demands you?

“Baby wins of course,” said Erin McCormick of Henry’s Hearts, a charitable organization that creates specialty gifts for businesses, “but you can be creative. Take care of the immediate need. If your kids come in your office, even if you’re in the middle of something, give them your attention and a hug. Put boundaries in place too…and bribes!”

Everyone who’s been around a six-year old knows that the key to their cooperation is feeling authoritative. “I’ve found that the best thing to do is to have my daughter help me with my work; stamping envelopes or stapling papers together makes her feel big and important,” commented Green.

By the time she was three, Green had taught her how to professionally answer the phone with, “Please hold on one moment.”

“A client of mine called early one morning and my daughter Paris picked up…she was so polite than now whenever my client calls, she asks how my ‘secretary’ is doing.”

Getting the kids involved is a fun (and sometimes messy) way to bond while staying on track. An added bonus is that they’re absorbing important lessons in responsibility even though all they might care about is that they get to use the big stapler.

When you have a wee one that isn’t old enough to hold their head up, much less a pencil, one has to really get those creative juices flowing.

Working during your baby’s naps is common, just be sure to catch a few z’s yourself to avoid becoming a zombie.

Don’t be too shocked when your baby and business world collide. McCormick described a leakage incident during a meeting (think LaLeche).

“(I just) crossed my arms tight and tried to finish up as quickly as I could!”

A thriving home and business are what every mompreneur wants. The bumps along the way only make the destination that much sweeter.

“Seeing my daughter so happy and having a strong faith in God were what kept me from giving up on my dream,” said Green.

While you’re doing your best for your family and business, it is critical not to neglect yourself. McCormick shares her self-maintenance secrets.

“[I] get my nails and hair done regularly. I never did this before. [I] look good and feel good! Also, I regularly meet other working women for coffee.”

Good advice. What else do we mompreneurs need? McCormick sums it up, “I dream of the day when I can hire someone to come every week and clean my house.”

Ah, don’t we all.

-Maya Dela

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