In today’s technologically advanced world, there really is no reason why stay-at-home moms or moms on maternity leave cannot work from home. Working from home has great advantages for women who want to dedicate time to raising their children and staying current with today’s fast-paced business world. While a laptop is usually all you need for some occupations, you could benefit from setting up a virtual office.
You will eventually need:
- a desk/workspace
- laptop or desktop (or both) I had an iMac and then purchased an ASUS. I actually had a couple of clients whose software would not run well on my iMac.
- Printer/Scanner. Color if possible, depending on what your trade is.
My current office is combined with my laundry room. While writing doesn’t seem as daunting a chore to me as washing and ironing, it was the only space in the house where I could pretty much ensure no one would bother me. After all, only around supper time does anyone venture over to the laundry room in search of Chef Mom. Its always been considered Mom’s room. From this space, I sit for hours writing and folding towels. I haven’t mastered the art of doing both, but maybe one day.
Setting up your workspace is important. It does not have to be fancy or expensive. You could work from your dining room table during the quiet times in your home, you know best what time that is. It helps though, if you look for the quietest place in your house, and set up shop there. But first thing’s first. If you are currently working, there may be a way to earn income at home.
More and more employers are becoming open to virtual work. While the concept is still in its toddler stages, it is up to us, the virtual foresighter’s, to demonstrate to employers the benefit of this work style. If your current employer is not set up for that, it’s ok, just think outside the box. If you are pregnant and working, enhance any technical skills you can while you are still working
I can tell you right off the first 6 weeks is going to be impossible working from home when you have the baby, even with help. You are after all working at “thee most important job”. But then as baby gets on schedule, and your body accustoms to the fewer hours of sleep, you will want to do some of the following:
- Ask yourself what it is you are going to want to do. Full-time mommy? That’s okay, but make sure that is what you want. Otherwise, try and figure out what you can do maybe on a part time basis, or to prepare for returning to work. Do you want to keep working in the roles you have worked prior to being a Mom
- Keep in touch with your colleagues
- Update your resume
- Keep your skills current
- Practice Interviewing
- Explore work from home situations, but be careful, there are A LOT of scams out there as it relates to this. Normally real work from home situations pay you, not the other way around.
My daughter opened a Mickey Mouse custom ears company so she could work from home. Her website MouseKrisEars.com has a lot of great Disney World custom ears and apparel. Her business is really taking off, and provides supplemental income while she is at home with her newborn. She makes a some money and is able to be with the baby all day. A win win.
When I had my kids, I took my maternity leave, but returned to work (legal field) after three months each time. Thankfully, I had my Mom’s help. Mom would come over in the morning and look after the younger kids and then picked up the older children after school. Many nights, she would leave after my husband arrived and I was still at the office. After she passed away, my boss and I worked out a schedule where I was able to pick up the kids after school, and then work from home. This schedule worked well for us for years. Not all bosses will do this, many won’t. But, if you are a valued employee and demonstrate that you can get things done, it may be an option. It doesn’t hurt to ask, or set yourself up for such an arrangement.
The bottom line is that women today are able to be both mother and employee. Figure out what works best for you in this scenario. I know careers are important, but never forget that the contribution you make in your child rearing is short compared to the length of time you will have to work in the business world. The most valuable and important work you will do is to raise a strong, independent, kind, considerate, compassionate human being. If you are able to do it, don’t think twice about it. It is the most important job you will ever have.
Stay tuned for next week’s Employable Mom Series – The Example We Give Our Kids.