Parenting and running a home-based
by Chuck and Sue DeFiore
If you work from home, chances are you know it can be
tough balancing work and family under one roof. Home-based
business owners Chuck and Sue DeFiore offer some tips to
ease some work-at-home stress.
Two jobs under one roof
A syndicated columnist recently wrote about parenting and it
not being a job for the weak at heart. It caught our
This article is of special interest to those of us who
work out of the home. Seeing this column made us think about
why so many of us wanted to work out of our homes. One of
the big reasons is so we can spend more time with our
families. Balancing a family life and a home-based business
can be a delicate one, especially when you look at all of
the duties we have as a parent. Truthfully, it is amazing we
get anything done at all.
If both partners and spouses are running the business,
there are some very different and other important factors to
Here are some good rules to help you balance family and
Rule No.1 -- This is one of the most important
rules. Yes, this is your home, but it is also my office.
What that means is the things you use in your business (like
computers, files, fax machine, business phone, supplies,
etc.) are off limits to them.
Rule No.2 -- Set office hours. This lets your
family members and friends know when it's OK to disturb you
when your day is done. This will avoid them taking you away
from your work.
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Rule No.3 -- No one but you answers your business
line, and if your office is in part of the house, there is
to be quiet when you are on the phone. I know sometimes
pandemonium breaks lose. Well on those occasions it does,
don't answer the phone, let it go into voice mail and call
back as soon as you can get away or get the situation under
control. Almost all phones today have a mute button, use it,
especially with young children who cry and scream.
Rule No.4 -- Establish rituals. Just like when you
worked an outside job, if you dropped them off at the
daycare, their bus stop or school, even if you don't leave
the house, when you are ready to go into your office, tell
them good-bye. When you are done for the day, say, "I'm
home," or if you take a break say "I'm back for a bit", but
be sure to tell them when you leave again, so they know you
can't be interrupted.
Rule No.5 -- Follow the other rules. Be sure that
the above rules are followed. This is the most important
rule. Rules not only help you, they help your kids, family
and friends draw the line between your work and your home
1. Keep a stash of kid stuff in your office. Get a
variety of things like paper, stickers, crayons and games,
in case your children are in your office and you need to
take a call.
2. Get a cordless phone as an extension to your business
line. When you enter the "home" part of your house, take the
phone with you. If it rings, answer it and walk back to your
"work space." Let your children, family and friends know
that when this happens, they should try to be quiet until
you are out of earshot or ask the person to hold, and press
your hold or mute button until you are back in your "work
area" or quiet space.
3. Understand it may not be easy, but if you train your
children, family and friends to respect your time, space and
need for concentration, both your work and family life will