Monday, November 14, 2005

Babies and Home Businesses

More and more mothers are choosing to work at home. If you already have a home office from where you run a business, be prepared for some things to change after your baby is born. It doesn't make a difference if it is your first child or not, because the same changes happen with each new baby.

One area where you will begin to see changes is even before the birth. Often with a pregnancy, the mommy-to-be becomes more fatigued as the pregnancy months go by. This is actually an area where working from home is a piece of good fortune because when one makes their own schedule for a home business, it is very easy to take 30 minutes for a rest time and then just make it up later in the day or even after dinner if needed.

So enter a brand new baby. Suddenly things change because an infant has to have 100% of every need met by a parent. While a 3 year old may be able to grab an individually sized juice carton and a cheese stick from the refrigerator, an infant will need to be breast or bottle fed on schedule and you can no longer say "can you get a stick of cheese for your snack, please?"

The major change with a baby in the house for a family with a work at home business is that time needs to be switched around. For many, perhaps most new moms, the trade off is something they would never want to change. They are able to stay home with the newborn and still help the family finances by supplementing with whatever cash their business is bringing in. It will not be able to be "9 to 5" with an infant in the house, but maybe more like "7 to 8:30" and "9:15 to 11:02" and then "12:12 to 1:30" etc.

Newborns sleep for much of the day, but when the baby gets a little older, he or she will need as much of mom's attention as is possible to give. This is when juggling your hours will become something that you will need to think very carefully about. Chances are that it will work out just fine.

If your work is very demanding or time sensitive, you may want to consider hiring an older child or teen to come by for a few hours in the summer or after school. If you run an ad for this, the term would be "mother's helper." You will be in the house, so a younger child (within reason, of course, I'm talking about maybe a 12 or 13 year old) may work well and not need to be as old as your regular sitter. The "job" would be to spend time with the baby, maybe by reading or playing or just keeping the baby content. It will free you up for some of your work and you will be close by if any questions or problems arise.

Working at home with a new baby is certainly possible with a little juggling of your work schedule at times. You will most likely find that you are the envy of some of your friends who need to get back to "the corporate world" a lot sooner than they may have liked after having a baby.