Sunday, July 14, 2013

The joys of working from home- with a toddler

"No one looks back on their life and remembers the nights they had plenty of sleep"


I have always loved the idea of working from home. 

The last company I worked for offered for me to do this if i stayed in the state and kept my position. I was flattered to say the least but knowing what I know now, it would have been impossible! I was a Case Manager and that meant tonnes of paperwork.The reality would be I wouldn't  have needed a confidential file shredder, my son would have taken care of all that and more with his paper obsession!

Some days getting the laundry and dishes done deserves a " Homemaker Of The Year" award when you have a little one. Especially if like mine at the moment, they have teeth cutting left right and centre and cannot be put down for more than a few minutes. 

Your days are spent having company each time you go to the loo ( sorry for the over-share) cold coffees and a drool covered collar. Sounds like a blast right?

If you read my previous posts you would know I am an incredibly busy person. Writing this blog is one of many things that I do.  Here is my "Work From Home" resume and how having a child affects it.
  
Homemaker/Mum
Initially I took to this job with full enthusiasm. I kept a sparkling house, learned new recipes, baking up a storm and began cooking in bulk. When my son was finally born we had about three months worth of meals in the freezer (I am not kidding, I was nesting BIG time.)

I did find though, that there were big gaps of "nothingness" while my son slept during the day and I would be HANGING for my partner to get home so I had someone to talk to. I'm pretty sure he got over the "Bold and the Beautiful" highlights.Oh yeah and all that baking to fill the time, was making us fat and me miserable. 

It made me realise that while I didn't want to go back into a 9-5 job and leave my son, I still really craved challenge, earning my own money and being ridiculously busy. I can't help it, it's like a switch I can't turn off. This is particularly annoying at night time when I should be sleeping but all I can do is make notes on the iphone in the dark because my brain is going a million miles an hour. Funny, my old boss said he knew I would go stir crazy if I wasn't working. My personal drive  when I was passionate about something was exactly the reason why he wanted me to stay.

 Homecare Catalogue Delivery
This was my first venture into my own business.The profits were good when you made sales but if you didn't, you sure wasted a lot of time trawling the neighborhood and picking up stupidly heavy piles of books. The products weren't things you could get repeated sales on either so your customers were pretty much a once off. 

Taking a infant,became too hard. Running my stroller all the way up to a strangers door was more than a little impractical, particularly if there was a car blocking the driveway.   Who wants to park their kid on the street while they race to drop a book at someone's front door?(company requirement) 

Steep hilly area,average footpaths,cars backing out driveways, you get the picture, it's not really child friendly. Combine that with needing a super-sized stroller to carry the A4 sized books in, i decided to throw in the towel and move on to Avon.

 AVON
GREAT for stay at home mums. I must admit the profit levels aren't fabulous once you pay for your own books, count your time and buy your own products from the colourful brochure (such a sucker initially but have become much more restrained now!) You do get to meet the people in your neighborhood though and there are weeks you hit the jackpot if you market yourself right. Taking your child along helps build a more personal relationship and great rapport so it's kind of a bonus rather than hindrance.

Because the books are small, you can just pop them in the letterbox. If someone didn't leave their book out for collection I would write them a note saying I had missed them and to please phone if they had an order. This meant I spent less time going back for a book for no extra money. 

Deliveries are pretty quick. I have two territories and can usually get my deliveries done and dusted within an hour and a half. The most time consuming part of the job is probably bagging your books and packing orders but as far as a home business goes it's not a hard job and definitely kid friendly. Well the packing part is interesting because the little man is fascinated by all the new "toys" so i generally do this once he has gone to bed.

Online Work
Trying to get a blog or anything else online done is a bit of a mission and requires late nights and early mornings. When my partner is at work it is unlikely ill go to bed before midnight, furiously typing away or googling information for my latest brainwave. Oh yeah and then packing the dishwasher so little monkey hands can't unpack it at the same speed, or folding the sky high pile of laundry.

When I am not blogging I'm usually on Gumtree looking for Freebies that we can pick up and resell for extra cash. It's something I have only starting recently but already realising how lucrative it can be. Hiring a trailer costs us $50 but we pick up several items from various local homes for free during the 4 hour hire and then sell them on to cover costs and make a nice little profit. 

Lastly I am always looking for more ideas on how to make money from home or messing around with website building programs.

Buying/Selling

It's definitely a challenge loading up a trailer when you have a child that wants to do anything but sit still. Most of the time I'll try to time it when he's due for a nap, so hes asleep in the car seat with all the windows halfway down and the car locked while we move furniture, one staying at the trailer to play furniture tetras and listen out, while the other negotiates heavy items across the yard with the helpful seller/give -away-er. 


These trips mean that we will also be feeding  and changing him in the car (so much fun when its packed to the hilt with sofa cushions) and on the way home it's a quick trip to a park to have time out on the swing set so we can justify the time spent in the car!

Top it off when people come to look at/buy the stuff you are selling, just as you  have popped bub down for a nap only to have the dogs bark furiously and waking him up. Sigh.


In between all of these things I am on Mummy Duty
  • Changing nappies 
  • Making bottles 
  • Wearing baby food
  • Running a bath/ supervising a bath
  • Dressing/Grooming
  • Being a human kindergym/ rocker/child chaser
  • Building lego and playing musical toys that i wish had dead batteries
  • Cuddling and soothing
  • Medicating teeth  and more....
 and Housewife Duty
  • Preparing meals
  • Cleaning the house
  • Feeding the 3 dogs
  • Walking the dogs
  • Washing sorting clothes
  •  Mowing
  • Picking up dog poo (over-share again sorry but it's part of the day!)
  • Paying bills
  • Grocery Shopping and more.......

So before you go thinking it's "easy" just remember, these little things
  • When you are home, that makes you are available to have your attention demanded regardless of whether you have a deadline or not
  • Don't expect to have  coffee break. Well, not a hot coffee break at least
  • Multi tasking, list making, adaptive to change and eyes in the back of your head are pre requisites
  •  Late nights, early mornings. It's how you roll
  • Endless patience is essential
  • You must be self motivated, passionate and willing to push through the exhaustion. 
  • If you don't take your job seriously, no one else will.
  • Remember why you chose to work from home. If you are strung out with the up and down of it all, re-evaluate if it's really for you.
  • Learn to clock off and set aside quality family time.
 
What advice do you have to keep sane in a working from home parenting environment?