Two words: day care.
“But you’re home all day!” she exclaimed. “How could you do that to your kid?”
I’ve heard this before, of course. If I had a nickel for every time someone said this to me, I wouldn’t need to work at all! There’s this strange belief that because I’m physically at home, my child should be with me, an idea that no one would ever even consider if I worked in an offsite office.
Even though I hear it regularly, I remain mystified that anyone would seriously think that I could get anything done with a preschooler in the house.
In my view, day care is the best solution for both my child and my business. This isn’t just rationalization on my part. Children require almost constant attention. So do my clients. It’s not fair to either of them to be constantly distracted and unfocused as a result of the other.
I’ll be the first to tell you that I have an extraordinarily well-behaved child. We say, only half-joking, that he’s a 40-year-old man trapped in a 4-year-old’s body. And even with a kid who is mature well beyond his years, I can’t get anything done while he’s in the house.
He goes to day care (now preschool) to learn social skills, like listening and cooperation, as well as the pre-academic skills that he’ll need in kindergarten. He’s a happy, healthy, mature 4-year-old boy, one who knows that at the end of the day, Mommy will give him her undivided attention.
Similarly, my clients know that when they call during business hours, they get a business. They have my undivided attention and won’t hear a preschooler shouting, “Mommy! I have to use the potty!” in the background. (Non-parents read this in disbelief; parents are chuckling.)
That’s why my first advice to all parents, but particularly those who work at home, is this: find yourself a good day care. “But it’s expensive!” they say. That’s absolutely true. But imagine how much you can accomplish in a single, uninterrupted block of time, how much money that can generate for you, and how quickly that care can pay for itself.
No, I’m not with him for every waking hour of his day, but the time that I spend with him is high quality. We cook together, read books, tell stories and play with toys without interruption. That, to me, is worth every penny.
Do you send your kids to day care, or do you try to balance kids and clients during business hours?