Mom Mode When Working at Home

Come the weekend, or when heading home for the day, I’ve heard corporate women talk about switching to “mom mode”. One of the things about working at home is that that switch has to happen frequently, quickly and effectively. And sometimes it’s hard.

I can be in the middle of a detailed e-mail to a customer when my ten year old blurts out a “pressing” question. I will ask him to wait until I finish what I’m doing before I answer his concern, but then, while I shift into mom mode, the creative juices that were stimulated by that client communication are shunted into the holding arena, where they seem to slowly dissipate. So, when I return to entrepreneur-status, the ideas aren’t as sharp, aren’t quite as quick to take form, as before the mom activity. I had had a great idea of a next step in my business, but now it seems slightly fuzzy. Does that ever happen to you?

Am I aggravated? Maybe – just a little. But that is exactly WHY I choose to be a work at home mom, and I’m well-served to remember that. I want to be the one to address my child’s concerns, and I forgo a traditional career where I can focus during work hours more exclusively on the advancement of my business because I have consciously made that choice.

Of course, some work at home situations lend themselves to this switching back and forth more readily than others. In fact, one of my early work at home endeavors was doing professional research from home. But it required long stretches of deep concentration and uninterrupted work. So, with young children, it wasn’t feasible unless there was someone else available to provide childcare. It just wasn’t the work at home fit that I wanted, and I was very happy to later find an option that allowed the transition to mom mode as needed. These interruptions still impede the flow of work, of course, but I’m very happy to have found work at home that can survive these interruptions.

I know one mom with a busy, active home-based business who even posted this above her desk: “Interruptions Are My Job”!

Working at Home Can Offer Solutions

Can you identify with some or all of these major temporal concerns of women?: their health through the various stages of life, the health of their children, a fulfilling life, actively helping to make a positive difference in the world.

Did you know some work at home options offer solutions for all of these issues?! (Yep, mine does :-) …and yours can too!)

Work at Home Mom Fears

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882) is quoted as having said: “He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.” I sometimes think it would be better not to have so many fears to conquer! But I do appreciate the wisdom of recognizing that conquering fears is key to a full, rich life.

If you’re a work at home mom, or think you’d like to be one, do you think there are any fears involved with that?

Oh, yeah…there can be a big fear factor in “stepping outside the box” to be “just” a WAHM. Will your professional colleagues think you’re crazy? If you have a college education or beyond, what would your former professors think?

Then what about the fear of failure? A home-based business enterprise requires a lot of initiative and, of course, there is risk and the potential for failure.

Or even the fear of success?! (deep topic for another whole post sometime ;) )

Sure, there can be fears in situating yourself as a work at home mom. But, as Emerson posited, the life rewards from conquering those fears are great!!

Work at Home Mom Overload

A couple of weeks ago, I had one of those weeks that was just too full. I was way behind on my home-based business tasks, there were lots of “extras” in the children’s lives needing time and attention, the taxes and financial aid forms were waiting…well, you get the picture. I felt like I was on overload.

I am so very blessed to be able to tell you that I reached out to my husband for help. And he stepped right up to the plate. He took on ALL the evening driving for a week (taking kids to events), did the grocery shopping, ran my errands and responded promptly to all other requests for assistance. He knows I don’t expect him to do this every week on top of his own more-than-full-time work, and he was willing to help me out of a tight spot by temporarily putting more on his own plate.

So, I’d encourage you to allow loved ones to help you when you are in danger of overload. Sometimes a short, temporary reprieve can allow you to get things under control again.

And what if you don’t have any family or close friends to ask? It may be in your children’s best long-term interest to hire some short-term care (or, even better yet, temporarily hire out some of the work at home tasks especially if they are things you don’t particularly enjoy…every position has some of those ;) .

Overload can happen for the work at home mom. Don’t let it become a permanent state!

National News Supports the Work at Home Mom

It’s so encouraging to see the work at home mom powerhouse acknowledged and acclaimed. And that happened this week on national news!

Monday’s The Early Show on CBS featured “great turnkey companies” for women, examples of ready-to-go companies that are ideal for busy women who want to get started in a business with minimal initial investment and most of the set-up work taken care of. Sounds just like us work at home moms, doesn’t it? ;-)

As long as it remains in the online archive, you can see the CBS video on these “turnkey companies” (including the company I represent!) here.

At Home With My Family

Just being at home. That’s the glory of being a work at home mom. I was visiting with other moms at home yesterday and we were sharing with one another examples of precious times with our children…times that we would have missed had we not been at home.

For instance, even though I may be working in another room, when my brood cracks up about something funny, I don’t miss the moment. I can slip into the living room and check out the cause of the mirth. Or when one of my boys has a question about something that seems important to him, I am there. Even if I can’t answer it at the moment (because I’m working), I can note it and address it at a mutually workable time.

Yep, I love being at home with my family. And I’m so grateful for the work at home option that makes that possible!

Starting a Business for the Work at Home Mom

I’ve been involved recently with an area Foundation committed to creating assets and wealth among low-income people in an eight-state region. One of the Foundation’s programs has been created to “help low-to-moderate-income business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs create strong businesses.”

The program’s sessions cover “all the essential lessons of starting a business, from figuring start-up costs and profit goals, to marketing and developing a business plan to acquire a loan.” There is, indeed, a lot to cover in the nuts and bolts of starting a traditional business. Many a work at home mom has done it, and quite successfully. I enjoy reading those feature stories about a mom who took a simple idea and catapulted it into a thriving business venture working from home.

I also greatly appreciate the work at home option that does NOT require that kind of investment. One that comes with built-in infrastructure, manufacturing, and professional expertise, with minimal start-up costs and overhead. That was the home-based business option that was the best fit for this mom who wanted to work at home. Sound appealing? It’s available to you too….click here to learn more.

Fallacious Fraud Alert

So, the United States Postal Service sent me and likely everyone else a brochure in the mail (addressed to “Resident”), which asked “Do You Know the Warning Signs of Fraud?”. The brochure proceeded to tell me how to avoid becoming a victim of fraud. Stuff like: “Buyers want to overpay you for an item and have you send them the difference” and “Your bank will never e-mail or call you for your account number”. Yes, check, good advice.

And then I came to a “Fraud Fact” listing that discredited the entire brochure. I couldn’t believe it. This is what I read: “Be cautious of work at home job offers.”

What?! Doesn’t the federal government know that upwards of 60% of Americans want to have a home business?!

Should you act with discretion in aligning yourself with a work at home company? Sure! Are you wise to exercise due diligence in evaluating work at home programs? Yes! Are there some out there who market work at home jobs that are not valid? Of course! But it’s not the work at home element that makes these suspicious.

I would have thought the USPS would have a little more savvy than that. At first, I was thinking of this is a fraudulent fraud alert, but then I decided that may be a little too strong. But a fallacious fraud alert for sure. We’ve come a long way in accepting the growing emergence of the U.S. home-based business. But apparently we still have a ways to go.

Quitting Points

I reached a quitting point today. You know, one of those super frustrating experiences where you just want to throw in the towel! I focused most of the day on some internet and computer projects, using new applications that I had to learn as I went. And there was one thing I just could NOT get to work right. I read the training manual. I experimented more times than I care to count (or recount). I tried and then I tried again. Grrrr!!

If I worked in corporate America, I would have called in the IT department, or picked up the phone to talk to a trainer. But I’m a work at home mom. I AM the trainer. And the IT department. So, do I quit?

Not likely. First of all, who knows whether IT personnel or trainers or manual writers or application designers really could have done any better. Boy, does it feel good to remember that. Secondly, I am not going to let a little (OK, a big) bump in the road detour me from this terrific path as a home-based business owner. And, of course, these kinds of difficulties build character (or some such positive quality!) and I will endeavor to find the good in this situation.

Quitting points for us work at home moms (and all the rest of us!)? Sure, we all have them. But what do we do with them?

Get Work at Home Support

I recently returned from a fantastic Conference sponsored by other home-based business owners who have businesses like mine under the same parent company umbrella. It was so helpful, so encouraging, so inspiring…and so fun! It reminds me of the definite need for the work at home mom to have support in her income producing ventures. If you don’t have access to a similar event, seek out support in other places. Here are some ideas of where to look:

- a number of industries have free “Mastermind” groups, where a number of business owners from across the country get together, either by phone, or in person, to support one another and brainstorm

- some blogs and forums whose subject matters are not at all specific to this topic have “communities” specifically for those who work at home; this can be a good place to meet with other workers at home with whom you share something else in common as well

- there may be business networking groups (like BNI) in your area that at least indirectly support those with home-based businesses (alongside the more traditional business people)

- consider general conferences, workshops and inspirational speakers, even if they are not specific to your industry

- And, of course, allow work at home mom blogs to provide information, encouragement and inspiration ;-) .