I've been a work-at-home-mom for seven years, but it wasn't until pretty recently that I had regular childcare. For the most part, I fit in my work during nap-time and late into the evening, which seemed like a really convenient situation, but in actuality, was not ideal at all.
Whether you're thinking about working from home or you're doing it already, heed my advice: Get childcare. Here's why I think it's so important.
When most people research childcare, it comes down to money, and yes, it can be extremely expensive. Nannies and day-cares are not cheap and if you're just working to pay them, it probably doesn't make sense to use them.
However, childcare doesn't always have to be expensive, especially if you really only need coverage for a few hours a day, like I did. There are plenty of affordable Mom's Morning Out programs at local churches, heck even certain YMCAs will let you leave your kids for an hour for a nominal fee. What it does is force you to make good use of the time you do have and just you wait; you won't believe how productive you'll be in a such a short amount of time.
But honestly, the money part isn't even the most important one in my opinon. It has to do with your ability to give your children your full, undivided attention. I'll admit that for many years, my kids didn't always get a lot of quality time from me. Sure, I have four kids so giving my kids individual time, even if I had tons of it, wouldn't be easy. But because I was trying to cram in all my work during their nap and bedtime I was stressed and tired. And I would check my email and take calls when they were awake.
Thank goodness for the DVD player.
A couple of years ago I observed a few of my work-at-home-mom (WAHM) friends in action and noticed how efficient they were when they had childcare, but more that they were super engaged with their kids when they were "off the clock." They put their phones away, they locked down their computers, and they just were moms.
I can't believe what a life changer having help has been, from giving me more time to myself in the evenings (hobbies, remember those?), to ensuring that my kids are getting all of me (or almost all of me) when my work day is over.
I realize that it's not financially feasible for everyone, though even a babysitter exchange or a grandparent visit (free!) might afford you enough time to get a little more work done. But if it's possible, I can't tell you how amazing it has been.
You'll thank yourself. And I bet your kids will thank you too.
Working moms: What's your childcare situation?
Image via Rancun76/Flickr