When we first decided (my husband and I) that I would work from home while he went to a real job that required actual pants all day long, it seemed like a great idea. I mean, I hated my former occupation -- nursing -- and having the kitchen a mere 10 feet away from me at all times? That's winning.

I could nap whenever I wanted. I could sleep in as late as my body would allow. I could work without pants. I could do my work whenever. Really, there seemed to be no downside! This allowed my husband, the work-a-holic, to work as much as he wanted without having to take time off for sick kids.

Double win!

Until, of course, I realized that the one thing I'd neglected to think about was that I'd be WORKING at home -- not just watching reruns of 90210. And that I'd be forced to balance it all.

Here's how I do it.

After I cleared the cobwebs of dissolution out of my head, I realized that working from home is great and all, but it requires a lot more finesse than I'd previously imagined.

Soon, I realized that I needed to get organized -- and now. I didn't have time to wait for someone else to help me, I had to do it and I had to do it in a way that I could handle. That meant that I bought myself a day planner. (I know, I know, Google calendar is like the sweet nectar of the Gods, but I can't use it. I've tried.) Paper and pen, that's what I needed to get my ass in gear.

I started with marking down all the important dates for school. Gotta know if the kid is gonna be home that day so I can properly budget my time. When you work from home, you still have to WORK even if the rest of the world stops. There's no reason to be unreliable when you can plan ahead.

I make sure to get my freelancing done ahead of time, whenever possible, when the kid has something going on. Being a mom comes first, but being a reliable freelancer is a very close second. I have some -- and am working on finding more -- backup babysitters for those pesky sick days, the sort of thing that cannot be properly scheduled.

When I can't find someone to help with the kids when they're sick, I try to work around their needs. It's not probably my most amazing work, but it's done, and it's passable. Sometimes, that's all I can do. Working from home doesn't afford me sick days, so that's what I do when I'm sick, too.

When the guilt seeps in -- why can't I be a room mother? I'm home after all -- I remind myself that I do work, and I work hard. I'm planning to free up some more time to spend with the kid at school when I can. But I don't beat myself up over it like I once did. I work from home, but I DO work.

How do you work-at-home parents do it? Any tips for me?

 

Image via junkmonkey/Flickr