While it may seem like only semantics to you, the reality is that the way you view yourself will have an effect on the way your business works out. Trying to work while your baby is napping is a difficult way to work on your business. As a work at home parent, I understand the frustration. I definitely use my baby's naptime and morning before he is up to work, but it is imperative that I spend other time working as well.
Some people view themselves primarily as parents who have a business on the side. Other work at home parents, though, view their entrepreneurial efforts as important in and of themselves. If you have a baby, now is the perfect time to make the move working from home, and you should begin to view yourself as a parent who works from home.
I am one of the latter parents because my business is a crucial part of my identity. As much as I love my husband and son, they do not form the basis of who I am. They are only part of the whole that makes up who I am. That means that my business takes priority. There are times when I miss an afternoon at the park because I am trying to get work done. I have skipped a trip or two to my in-laws' house to finish up work. (While that may not seem like a big sacrifice to you, I actually enjoy visiting my in-laws.)
Those trade-offs are worth it in moderation for me because I understand that my business is important to me. While I am not being critical of moms and dads who drop everything when their toddlers want to head out to the library, I do want to point out to moms and dads who are considering a work from home lifestyle that there is a difference. The reason you should make your leap now is that one of the common complaints of parents who work from home is that they are unable to get their children to respect their hours. Babies will know no life except the one you present to them, and if you make the transition now, when your baby gets older, he or she will understand that you work. It will seem natural for your family.
Some work at home moms (WAHMs) and work at home dads (WAHDs) have jobs that bring in fun money, meaning money that is not considered part of the household finances. If you are not that kind of WAHP, however, if your money goes into the family pot (or will when you get your business off the ground) and is an integral part of your family's life, then you will face a separate set of battles.
Working around the life of a baby can be difficult as your baby will be changing constantly. Just when you think that you have a schedule mapped out, your little one will change again. You will be back to the drawing board, which is why working at home with a baby requires a flexibility that everyone does not have. If you are interested in the idea of working from home, then when your little one is still an infant works well because it will be a natural transition. It will not mean that you will have to put your baby into daycare only to take him or her out. You will not face any difference. You simply will come home from the hospital with your baby and begin your new life as a work at home parent.
You will need to find ways to make all of your work goals happen despite your need to be with your family. In that way, your task will be the same as if you were working outside the home. In many ways you will face the same tasks as someone who works outside the home - only you have a whole new set of problems to consider! You and your baby can make it work if you begin making the transition now. Prepare for your life at home with your baby, and these days will be very happy for you and your little one.
By Julia Mercer