Successful Work from Home Mom
At Patrice & Associates, we have several women who have combined their business development with being a Mom. These women are an inspiration and testimony to what can be accomplished when one puts their mind to it.
I am proud and thankful to be the mother of two fantastic kids. I have an 11-year-old daughter, Donna, who just might be the next iCarly with her musical and computer talents. My 13-year-old son, Dominic, is just as creative, but he gravitates to the world of fantasy through computer games and books about dragons.
Dominic is joyful and loving but he doesn’t express the full range of emotions that other kids his age are able to show. I knew from the time he was 1 year old that he was different. I felt that he viewed the world differently.
Yet I did not know until he entered school that he has Asperger’s Syndrome, a high functioning form of Autism. He was originally diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. Today, Dominic is progressing through regular classes in middle school and learning how to make new friends…thanks in part to a wonderful therapist who’s helped us teach Dominic how to engage in two-way communication.
This challenging personal situation only increased my need — and desire — to work for myself from home. I’d taken a year off from my previous job of running a local marketing agency in Orlando, and I admit that once I was ready to return to work I briefly entertained the idea of working for someone else. It would be a dependable job, I thought, and I’d be around other people.
But once I realized that I needed the flexibility of a home-based business, and that I had to be available for Dominic when he needed me, my decision was made. I opened an office in my basement and began work as a recruiter of top management positions for local restaurant chains.
What I’ve learned to do is structure my day around the times when my kids are at school. After they have both left for school, I grab my coffee and my laptop and I start my work day. I continue working steadily until they come home.
Afternoons are spent wrapping up projects I’ve been involved in during the day. I rarely start a new project once the kids are home, but I do check my e-mails and make follow-up phone calls to clients. By following this routine, I have steadily added new clients since I opened my business.
Some working moms who choose to have home-based businesses for the first time soon realize that they don’t have that “line of demarcation” that draws a clear distinction between being an employee at an away-from-home workplace and a mom/businesswoman who runs a home-based business. Away from home, they don’t have a son running up to them asking for help with his math homework, or a daughter arriving home in tears from school who needs immediate attention. At home, you have to be both businesswoman and mom at the same time.
My computer and phone are on 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but when my kids need me I can shift from work mode to mom mode and tend to their needs. When I’m on the phone with a client and Dominic needs attention, the person I’m talking to often is a parent and has no problem with resuming our conversation after I resolve a home issue.
The biggest challenge to overcome is the “availability factor.” The perception among your family and friends is that since you work at home you’re available to swing over to a car mechanic and get the oil changed or run an errand for a neighbor.
The best way to ensure that you have a productive workday is to follow a few simple guidelines:
- Prioritize your day. You have to know when your kids will need you, so structure your tasks to make yourself available to your children on the days or times when their needs are greatest.
- Establish a clear line of communication with your family. Let your husband, kids or live-in mother-in-law know what your work hours are and that you need to be left alone to do your job.
- Adhere to a defined work schedule. Designate which days are workdays and which are days off and stick to the schedule to create a productive routine.
One last bit of advice: If you wake up on a designated workday, but you just can’t get it together and you feel guilty, you’ve just got to forgive yourself.
Lynda Gail Alfano is a Regional Recruiting Manager for Patrice & Associates, the nation’s leading employment search firm for the hospitality industry. Based in Orlando, Lynda’s clients include several well-known brands such as Smokey Bones, Freebirds World Burrito, Cracker Barrel and Ruby Tuesdays, which have hired her to find top talent for their management positions. Lynda can be reached at (407) 351-JOBS (5627) or firstname.lastname@example.org.Back