Finding Balance Between Work and Family Life

Updated on February 25, 2010
A.Z. asks from El Cajon, CA
11 answers

As a parent working from home (or wanting to) what is the hardest part of creating work life balance?

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Wow Moms! Thanks so much for responding! You have given me some powerful feedback based on your personal experiences, and way more information than I expected. It's going to take me a while to digest everything that each of you have shared. You must know that I am so very thankful to all of you!!!! Until next time...

Believe well!

A. Z.
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More Answers



answers from New York on

It's keeping separation! I know that working from home sounds ideal, you are working and with your child(ren), but really I found I was at my most effective when I kept definite separation - sitter or preschool and myself in a closed office where I'm not tempted to do bits of this and that around the house. Work time was work time, otherwise I'd be "working" too many hours. Set aside a specific block of time in which you are working, and during that time, have someone else on childcare duty and don't do anything but work. Then, when work time is over, don't keep going back when you have a "free minute" and check email or start projects. Good luck

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answers from Detroit on

if your kids are young you really cant work from home if they are home..

the minute you start to work.. someone will need something.

I work during naptime and after bedtime.

I do log on in the morning and try to answer a quick email.. I go to the office 2 or 3 days a week. the kids go to day care.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Richmond on

I think the hardest part for me is the fact that I work 7 days a week, so even when the kids are home on the weekend, on top of housework, there's work-work... so for me, I have to actually schedule in 'family time'. While I have pretty flexible hours, there just doesn't seem to always be enough time in the day to get it all done! Something I've come to realize to cut myself some slack, and this is totally true, it's not the QUANTITY of time you spend with your family, it's the QUALITY of the time you do get to share together. No matter what, family comes first, bottom line. Once you get into the scheduling, it's pretty much a breeze and a blessing to work from home and maintain a healthy family relationship. Good luck! btw, I disagree with the ladies who say you can't work from home with young kids... I've got a 6 y/o, a 4 y/o, and a 2 month old... like I said, once you get past the adjustment period, it's smooth sailing. Having the kids around is my motivation to work harder!! :)

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answers from Los Angeles on

Although I love parenting and I love (to a much lesser degree) working from home, this was a struggle for me as well. After our home burning down last summer, I also found myself homeschooling two of my four kiddos. They needed to feel more secure and not try to fight the classroom in addition to the drastic changes in their lives. Needless to say, this made working quite a bit more challenging. Finally, I have learned to set aside specific hours for work and protect the hours for family/home life. Yes, it takes a little more determination, and there are times when I have to alter the plan, but overall, it is a great way to find balance in the midst of dual responsibilities.
May you find the balance that works well for you!
T. Anderson

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answers from Los Angeles on

I work from home full time and actually my entire company is virtual; no office, and everyone works from home all over the country.
I think it's great and I have a nanny come take care of my daughter. since it's all we've known, she knows that mommy goes to the office to work, I say good-bye to her and it usually is without fuss. occasionally she has melt down days when it's hard for her to say goodbye to me and I spend some extra time with her, tell her what we'll do together after nap but in general she's great.
I love that instead of taking a break and hanging out in a co-workers office for 20-30 min in the middle of the or going out to lunch, I get to take work breaks in my own house, read a book to my daughter, throw in a load of laundry, defrost something for dinner.
I do tend to do a little bit of household/chore stuff during the day as well and check emails in afternoon/evenings. I've been at the park with my daughter, pushing her on the swing while coordinating an important meeting on my phone via email. great life really, the best of both worlds and I'm so glad I get to do it.
key for me is schedule; my husband gets up early and leaves the house, we both get dressed and head to work at the same time. I get some work in before my daughter wakes up, then we do breakfast together and play a little, the nanny comes and I work until nap time ends. there are times when I need to finish a project at night after bed time on or the weekends, but then my daughter is with family and having quality time with dad so it balances out.
good luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

For me, the hardest part is resisting the temptation to do personal stuff while on work time. My little one is in day care so I can work during the weekdays, and that's the time I have for work - so I need to be disciplined about focusing on that, even when the house is messy, the laundry needs to be done, bills need to be paid, etc. So overall, I try to use the time she is in preschool exclusively for work, and just do some of the personal things as a break at lunchtime or if I need to stretch my legs after being on the computer too long.

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answers from Orlando on

Missing the adult interaction!! There are no office parties or even just conversations about the TV show you watched last night. Depending on your job there will be other things, too-- like I work part time from home but there are full time employees at my company who work from an office and they all have meetings and I am never completely in the loop with what's going on because they forget about me. Also, it's nice to work from home because you don't have that communte to work or have to get dressed up, but you can NOT work when your kids are actually home with you. Even with a sitter or your husband helping to keep them busy, they WILL want mommy and have a full on screaming meltdown just when you are trying to make an important phone call. Plan on doing 90% of your work while the kids are not at all home or when they are asleep.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Treat your business like a business (job like a job). One of the benefits of working from home is that you can set your own hours. It helps if the whole family has a "business plan" and agrees to it ahead of time. Sit down together as a family to make the plan.

Here are some ideas that have been shared with me in the 9 years that I've been working from home.

1. Make your business a family affair "everyone" is working together. So, when mommy is working the kids have a job too. Their job is to play quietly "or do another activity until mom is done". Surprisingly it works with little kids too. If they understand that it's a short duration, you need their help and there is a reward in the end.

2. Have two signs for your office door a smiley face and a stop sign. Put up the smiley face when it's ok to be interrupted and a stop sign when it's not. Your kids will support you.

3. Two sets of toys - bring out the really good stuff for when the stop sign is up and put them a way when the smiley face is up.

4. Art projects are good for stop sign times.

5. Having a neighborhood baby sitter, elderly person, etc. is an inexpensive way to have some stop sign time.
6. Learn to use the mute button and speaker phone function - sometimes when I'm on a conference call I'll have the speaker phone on with the mute button - vacuuming, doing dishes, taking out the trash.
7. Short term sacrifices pay off in the end. Be creative.
8. Listen to training calls on your cellphone with the headset, in the car, at the park, in the backyard ......
9. Pay a neighborhood teenager to help with household chores - they are less expensive than regular cleaning people and they will play with the kids too.
10. Shop online whenever possible this saves lots of time.

It takes a little bit of time and consistency but everyone can learn to work together on the "family business"

If everyone understands that if mommy works quietly for the set amount of time there will be more family time, trips to the park, playing ball in the yard, book reading - they will rise to the occasion.

Good luck to you. Email me anytime if you need help.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

That is the million dollar question. I am a stay at home, working full time mom of two. The hardest part for me is setting boundaries with my work. I have my own business and the work piles up so I feel like I have to constantly work so that I do not become overwhelmed. However, the work will always be there and I have to force myself to stop. I also have my girls help out when they can. I stopped answering my phone during dinner, I stopped answering my phone before 6am, and I structured time to be fully present with my girls as they grow up way too fast. I also let go with the notion that my house will always be in perfect order and that the laundry will get done. With all the glass balls we busy moms have to juggle, I am careful with the ones that I know i just can not drop and that is the quality time with my girls.

Hope this helps.


Founder/Mother of Two
Nature's Baby Organics

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

It also depends on how old your child/children are... because that will determine if you can work at home... at length, without disruption.
So you have to fit in "working" around your child's needs and routines... and not the other way around.

My friend, got a Nanny, to help her at home, while she worked. Otherwise, she could not work.

All the best,



answers from Los Angeles on

School. I go to college online as well and it's like working from home; it's almost impossible. I think when you have to do your work you have to separate yourselves from the children. My husband takes over when I have homework and I resume mommy duties once I'm done.

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