It is easy for the lines to become blurred between work and home life when both happen under the same roof. For your sanity’s sake and your family’s happiness, draw the line and avoid crossing it. Learn to set boundaries when working from home.
In a perfect world, working from home would get the respect that it deserves. Instead, there are misconceptions that can still hinder you from enjoying working from home. As a mom, you’re still expected to cook and clean because you are physically in the home even though you are actually working a business. Friends joke that you are “living the life of Reilly” because you get to lounge around all day in your nightclothes. Kids don’t respect the closed door and run in and out of the office constantly. Teachers wonder why you are not volunteering in the classroom since you have so much time on your hands.
What’s a mom to do? There are many reasons why moms pursue the dream of having their own business and it’s not to fuel speculation about what you do all day. Unfortunately, until the misconceptions are dispelled, work and personal life will swirl together in a mad soup of chaos.
Setting Boundaries for Your Home Business
It’s crucial that you draw the boundary lines from the very beginning. Why? So that everyone will know your expectations and will understand the validity of what you do and how important it is. Good communication is the key here.
Here are some tips for drawing those lines.
Dress for work – Get up just like the rest of your family and get dressed as you would for the office. This lets them know that you are in work mode.
Keep a calendar of family and business events – Everyone needs to add their activities to this calendar. Avoid scheduling family stuff during designated business hours and vice versa. If it looks like you are free when you are not, explain that it is work time.
Set the stage for work – Hang a sign on your door to let others know that you are busy. This sends a clear message to those who can read. For younger children, instruct sitters and older family members to handle anything that doesn’t involve a threat of imminent danger when you are in “Do Not Disturb” mode.
Be flexible – How many times have we heard this? Moms are multi-taskers first and foremost. When it is important to complete a project or talk to a client, try to do so when the house is quiet. You are fighting a losing battle at 5 pm but may have a better chance to get crucial business done at 5 am. Work around your family so that they don’t feel slighted and neither does your business.
Setting boundaries requires resolve and determination. Let others know that you are serious about making family and business work in harmony. Have the discipline to follow through and being firm with your boundaries. You get to enjoy the best of both worlds when boundaries are in place and everybody’s happy.
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