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If you work from home one or more days a week, you know how it goes: do some quick washing, doing the dishes in between, cleaning the bathroom or vacuuming, … there’s no harm in that, right? Wrong!
During working hours you should focus on work. Get up at the same time and have the same morning ritual whether you stay home or go to the office. Work the same hours and don’t needlessly extend your lunch break.
But it goes both ways: when your working day is over, close that laptop and focus on your family.
What we actually mean is: avoid bathroom and kitchen rush hours in the morning. Put out all of the required clothes for the next day. Make sure schoolbags are in order, with checked and signed school agendas for instance, with all the necessary school stuff and snacks for the next day. Set a bathroom schedule and set aside the ingredients you want to use for next day’s dinner.
Don’t assume everything will come crashing down when you’re not around. Dare to delegate to others. Send that pile of clothes to the ironing shop, get a cleaning lady or ask you neighbour’s kid to do the garden. And, before we forget: is everyone in your household pulling his/her weight?
A lot of professionals can’t go without their trusted to do list. Have you planned a task for every minute of the day? Wrong! Free up some time for contingencies, for a child with a morning fever, a car that won’t start or for urgent new business at work. Each day potentially has thousands of possible urgencies in store for you. An overloaded planning is the last thing you need on those days.
Are you expecting or have you recently given birth? Congratulations! Don’t forget that, as an entrepreneur mom, you’re entitled to 105 free service cheques. Make sure you use them. There are some rules, however: you need to be an independent entrepreneur, you have to apply to your social security organisation, you have to have given birth and you need to take up your independent profession again.
Perfect moms don’t exist, so there’s no need to strive for perfection. Yes, it is perfectly OK to neglect your household for a day or so. No, you can’t do everything exactly as planned. And yes, there will be times when you’re two minutes late picking up your children from school. And no one every died from the occasional frozen meal.
As an independent, professional mom, there’s no harm in admitting things get too much from time to time. So why not ask family, friends or even other parents to help out. Perhaps the grand parents can pick the children up from school, or a good neighbour could watch them for half an hour. And try to get a rotation going with other parents to deliver the right kids at the right hobby at the right time: ballet, horseriding, boy/girl scouts, swimming lessons, etc. Those are the moments when a good social network proves its valour.