Work-at-home moms tell how they do it


Wednesday, August 01, 2018

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SOME moms either don't have the luxury of maternity leave or wish to spend more time bonding with their little ones after their leave expires, and they often want to explore the option of working from home. It can be a risky endeavour, but the moms below were able to make a success out of switching to working from home after their babies were born, even though they got off to a wobbly start.

Bridget, 37, communications specialist:

I had my first child at 35. I had a rough pregnancy and recovering was a huge challenge. Four months after delivery I was just gaining enough strength, but, of course, with medical bills and taking care of a child with barely any support from her dad, I had to make the decision to work from home. Many of my challenges centred around my daughter. I was breastfeeding exclusively, she had become clingy, and I couldn't work in noise. This meant if I wasn't feeding her I was just doing something else for her. I had to make a decision to put her on a system — breastfeeding was timed, I gave her toys, played music she liked, and sometimes turned the TV on, and left all the chores until evening when I had finished working. Otherwise I wouldn't have gotten anything done.

Andrene, 31, data entry specialist:

When I was ready to go on leave I had to resign the job because maternity leave was not a benefit. My income ceased and I knew it was going to be very hard even with the savings I had. When I got the opportunity to work from home, I was happy. But there were things to consider like noise levels around me and so on since I share a house with my sister and her three kids. Isolating myself was hard and my sister didn't always have the time to give an eye on my daughter while I was on the phone with clients. Thankfully, though, 99 per cent of the time with a pacifier she is well behaved. If you have the support, though; it can be much easier; and even if you live in a place like me with many people, just warn nieces and nephews when it's not okay to interrupt you. My sister has helped me with this a lot.

Gillian, 29, marketing consultant:

Have you ever heard that procrastination is the thief of time? Well I have proven it. It is easy to keep putting off things when you don't have a supervisor or your boss breathing down your neck. I generally work faster in my own space so I was grateful, but it also meant that I put everything before the job and my first two deadlines passed before I submitted. I had to pull up my socks and that meant that I had to acquire some sort of discipline by first creating a schedule and holding myself accountable. And if I deviated I had to stay up and catch up. I didn't like the idea of staying up or being without a job, so I was motivated by those.

Michelle, 33, freelance writer:

My biggest challenge was that I just couldn't get off the phone — from searching for adorable outfits to looking at pictures and videos, to reading literature about babies. I just couldn't put down the phone and that spelt doom. Then when I wasn't doing that I was tending to the little one, and by the time I realised my other child would be home and I knew that meant a wasted day and a deadline a day closer without progress. So I had to turn off my phone. I asked my hubby to block Amazon and other sites from our internet system until I became more disciplined, and I asked family and friends to e-mail me in the case of emergency because I would still see them immediately. I realised that this way I was getting things done much sooner because I had the motivation of being rewarded without the use of my phone.

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