The internet age has opened up a wealth of opportunities for single mums to balance childcare, work and maybe, just maybe, fitting in a little bit of life for themselves into the mix. Being able to work remotely, either for yourself or as a salaried employee, from the comfort of your home while your little bundle of joy plays happily close to hand sounds idyllic.
Unfortunately, the reality does not always live up to the hype, as you attempt to juggle feeding with typing, and become an expert at effective ways to remove baby formula from a laptop before the keyboard dies forever.
There are no two ways about it – even when you are working from home, you need a demarcation between work and home life, whether it is an office in a spare room or simply a desk in the corner of the living room. Here are some ideas that will help you make the reality of being a working home-based mum a little closer to the ideal vision.
A base doesn’t have to be a tie
Juggling work and motherhood means you can’t just lock yourself away in an office all day. The beauty of a laptop is that you can work from anywhere. Some people say you have to be sitting at a desk and that’s just nonsense. If it is more convenient to work from the sofa or even from the garden in nice weather, then do it.
The important thing is to have a “work base” where you return everything, and you avoid trying to juggle. Have that desk in the corner with the filing cabinet, the printer and all the supplies you have bought from Printer Inks. When it’s time to stop being worker and start being Mum for half an hour, put the laptop back in the “office” and take half an hour out. It’s not going anywhere.
Grab those working hours with both hands
If your little one (or ones) go to nursery for certain hours each day, that is your opportunity to really get into work mode. There will always be other distractions, but they can wait. If the laundry needs doing, sort it out later when junior is home and under your feet. If the dog is dropping hints, let him out in the garden for now, and give him, and the kids, a proper walk later. The fresh air will be good for everyone. Avoid distractions and get some serious uninterrupted work done while you can.
Embrace the unconventional
The biggest advantage of remote working in the modern age is flexibility. The whole idea is to be able to shape work and life in a way that works for you, so don’t feel that you have to follow the models set by other people.
There will always be someone trying to convince you that their way is right. If you work best curled up in a foetal position on the sofa with Judge Judy as a TV soundtrack to your work, then go for it!