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November 2013
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Working At Home ——- With Children

The very sound of “working at home” is music to the ears of so many people nowdays — with gas prices soaring, costs of daycare, food, clothing and every necessity going higher and higher it’s no wonder the idea of working at home is something we would all love to do.  In addition, with cut backs and layoffs at many work locations, finding something to do as a work at home job may be the only alternative.

OK, so you’ve been sewing for years and years and you can now finally start a sewing business of some kind at home.  Perhaps you’ve been into crafting and creating unique items is your specialty.  Perhaps your children are a little on the plump side, so you can say that you’ve been sewing for plus size children all the years you’ve sewn for your own children, or you’ve been taking home clothing alteration work from fellow employees where you used to work, so you already have a little “business on the side” going.

Another highlight in working from home is the prospect of being able to spend more time with your children.

HOLD ON!  Are you planning to “work” at home, or “spend more time with the children”, which means not much work will be done.

The very FIRST thing that needs to be done is to set a schedule and stick to it!  The children and spouse have to realize that you’ll be needing time to get your work done – whether you’re sewing, doing alterations, making crafts, whatever it is, will take time to get completed.

My daughter has 2 1/2 year old quadruplets, and an older son who is 3 1/2 (gonna be 4 next month).  She has a very strict schedule for them — babies (quadruplets) take a nap at 9:30 in the morning — sometimes they sleep, sometimes they play for an hour, but they are in their rooms.  Then at 1:30 all five of the children are down for a nap.  They sleep until 4:30 or 5:00, which is her “quiet baby time” as well as WORK time.  After naps comes supper, playtime outside, bath, snacks and the babies are in bed at 8 pm; the older brother in bed at 9.  There is never a squabble or fight – it has been this way since the babies turned 6 months old.   She then can work from 9 pm until around midnight. I’m constantly amazed at the amount of work she gets done during those seemingly small periods of time.

If you have older children, plan to do your work while they are in school, then work out summer camps, etc for during the summer months when they aren’t in school.  If they are old enough to be able to help you, give them some little “jobs” to do, otherwise perhaps you can have a small desk on one side of the room where they can be coloring, reading, etc while you’re working.

The second item of importance is to have a designated work area.  The location is up to you – it might be setting up an office or work area in the garage, or in a spare bedroom.  Wherever the work area is, the children must be taught that it is indeed a work area, and they are not to go in and rummage around unless they have permission from you.  In addition, they must not disturb you while you are working unless there is an emergency.

Working from home with children in the house can be very tricky, however it CAN BE DONE!  I’m sure there are thousands of “work at home” moms that have figured this out, and I’m also sure there are many more that are struggling every day trying to get work done in order to get some money in to help pay the bills.

If you are just now contemplating working at home, make a tentative schedule ahead of time and make sure you, your spouse and your children are prepared for the adjustment.  It may take some getting used to, and the original planned schedule may need to be altered a little, but with patience and perseverance it can be worked out.

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Pattern Maker, Instructor & Author

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