I am now 3 months into working from home after setting up my own business as a Virtual Assistant and it is time to reflect on, well is it working out? Is it working out for me (business is going great). This ideal world of working from home, is it really as good as they say? The main reason for me starting my own business as a Virtual Assistant was to be able to have a balance of working life (using all my years’ experience working as Personal Assistant) and still being here at home with my 4 children. The best way to figure this one out is do a simple pro’s and con’s list. No fancy lean thinking principles to work this one out…maybe at a later stage I might apply the 7 wastes of lean to another blog task.
PRO’s to Working from home with your own business:
I am at home
Able to bring kids to and from school
Having dinner (lunch on the busier days) on the table for the kids when they get home from school (apparently according to my eldest daughter’s principal this was one of the main requirements kids want from their parents)
Able to address any calls I get from school to come collect them, etc. This can be done at the drop of a hat
Not tearing home from work to collect kids, do homework and put the dinner on at the same time. Oh and to try and give them all equal listening time for all their woes after their long day at school
Not having to pay for childcare (School system is technically free and pre-school is 100% free)
Cons to Working from home with your own business:
You never leave your workplace
Work nights (10pm writing this), bank holidays (just had my first one) & the odd Sunday too
Children love pressing buttons on your keypad and sitting on your lap while you are trying to work (As I am typing my 3-year-old is sitting on me), a new skill set I am learning. Typing with obstacles…. must update that one on my LinkedIn page
What to do with children in the house when you are working, the mid-term really gave me an insight into what the summer holidays are going to be like…ahhhh
People like to drop in or phone for a chat because I am at home
Housework can keep staring you in the face…
No jokes or Monday morning stories from the weekend to share
Can’t pop to the canteen for food already prepared for you or the nearby shops for a few bits on your lunch hour /tea break (I live in the countryside)
I don’t have a lunch hour or half hour (like in some companies), it is usually a bite at the desk or on the go as I prep food for the kids to come home too.
The long and short of it is, being a working mother is hard. Working from home is hard and working in an office is hard. Your work has to be completed no matter what and so does the housework, kids homework and it is just a matter of what works best for you.
It is tough going but the pleasure (remember Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – see diagram →) and the drive I get from starting and running my own business makes the sacrifices worth it.
Working for me would be the top two grids on the above pyramid. Working gives me self-esteem and self-actualisation. Being a mother and having a family around me allows me to have love and belonging. The two elements of working and being at home allows me to have safety & security and having physiological needs.
But there is no right or wrong combination to it all but what works best for you and your family’s needs. I admire all mothers, those who work away from home, work from home and those who stay at home to care for their kids and loved ones. I have done all three and they are all equally hard and challenging and they all come with their own pro’s and con’s.
Here’s to mothers everywhere. We are brilliant. Remember us women should support each other more. We are all in the same boat no matter what.
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