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Balancing Work and Kids

CollegeCoachCollegeCoach subscriber Posts: 8
edited February 2007 in Home-Based Businesses
I have been really thinking about the advice offered about How to Manage Kids in the Home Office. The blog offers a lot of tips on how to make things work, but I really wanted to hear some comments from members here about what they find works and doesn`t work with running a business and having small children.
I am particularlly interested in how you handle the phone situation. The blog article mentioned just telling customers that you have a child and move on. But I was wondering if that could turn off potential clients. I know sometimes there is no way around it, and in an ideal world your darling child will be quiet everytime you are on the phone, but we all know that is not reality.
Thoughts anyone?


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    CollegeCoachCollegeCoach subscriber Posts: 8
    Nhgnikole and CraigL you have no idea how much weight you have taken off my shoulders. I am so glad to hear your responses. All this time I have been trying to figure out how to "sound" more corporate, but the reality is I am not. I am a stay-at-home mom with a small business who still can do what I say I can do, AND I can do it really well.
    Of course, I am still going to take every precaution to keep the background noise to a minimum. But there are just going to be times when things happen.
    Thank you again for sharing your thoughts. I am so glad I found this forum!
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    stonesledgestonesledge subscriber Posts: 608 Silver Level Member
    Hi! I have a 4 year old daughter. I work from my home. My daughter is enrolled in full time dayschool but i only have her there 3 days a week. These 3 days allow me to have meetings with clients, travel and make my client calls. On the days that she is home, i still work but try to limit my calls. It really depends on the persons opinion you are dealing with, if it is appropriate. I have encountered times when it was definately uncomfortable. I also have 3 dogs who love to bark, so it can be nervewracking when i here them starting to bark when i am on a call. There are definately pro and cons when you work from home. I have to say i had hired a women to do some work for me. Everytime i would call, the kids were screaming, or she would have to put me on hold to help them with something. I am a Mom so I understood. This happened every time though and it started to intefere w/ communication, b/c she would always have to get off the phone. when i visted her office from time to time to go over the projects, it was a mess. Her 1 year old was everywhere, getting into everything, crying and almost falling down the stairs...i always had to step in to babysit or she would excuse herself to deal with her older daughter and her toys and crafts etc. We would never get to the job at hand and she would always say "next time". Well our projects were never completed and she closed her business. I was not the only one that had this situation with her. I like her but there is a right way and wrong way to working with your children. I think I have a good situation. Halla comes with me when i go to our evening events for business and she loves it, she wears a suit and has her own litle business case. She shakes hands and says "How do you do, We can help you solve that problem". It is really cute. or " we have a solution for that!" Anyway, this environment is ok and the group of folks are ok with it. She doesn`t intefere. As long as being a wahm doesn`t intefere with the job at hand I think it is a plus and I feel fortunate to be able to spend more time with her.
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    EllayEllay subscriber Posts: 6
    I agree with all of the post and I have also worried of such a thing happening because I have not yet gained a client as of yet but I was thinking about how noisy my kids get just as soon as I pick up the phone. The good part is, is that they both go to school all day (3 and 5 year old)...but I have a new born on the way. I only pray that he is not fussy! But I think that scheduling client meetings on those absolute child free times is a way to cut down. That I am going to try. Or another one is using IM (AOL, YAHOO, MSN) for meetings and info sessions for some people. If out of 25 calls, one or two get a noisy child, I think that is cool.
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    CollegeCoachCollegeCoach subscriber Posts: 8
    CraigL and nhgnikole I think you are both right. There really is no right and wrong answer, just personal preferences. Actually when I asked my own brother what he thought he said he wouldn`t want to do business with someone where he heard children in the background. Sounds cold, but for some people it is the truth. Some people will care and some people will care less.
    But I think it good to talk about such things, because it sounds like from the responses here that more than a few have had to just deal with it the best way they knew how. So at the bare minimum, it helps to know I am not the only trying to tackle such an issue as I get my business off the ground.
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    10stepmarketing10stepmarketing subscriber Posts: 1
    I`ve been a work-at-home mom on and off for the past 17 years - my kids are now 17 and 14. I`ve seen the whole WAH thing relax from where it was when I first started. Back then, you didn`t tell people you worked from home, for fear they might not take you seriously. Now, I think it is so accepted it is not a big deal.  My clients all know I work from home and many of my local clients have met my family. They ask how they are doing on a regular basis, and the fact that I have a family and work from home is just part of who I am.
    I will say that it is somewhat easier now that my kids are older, but they still yell at me from the other end of the house when I`m on the phone, or barge in my office talking.
    Once my kids were old enough to understand, we created "rules." We explained to them that in order for mommy to be home with them she needed to do her work and that these rules were part of that arrangement. For the most part they were good about not interupting me, or at least not verbally. MANY times I have had a note shoved under my nose while on the phone!  But there were also the times they barged into my office when I was on the phone and I had to turn and put my hand out like a stop sign, to signal that I was on the phone and to wait until I was done. I`ve learned to not get too uptight about it all and just handle it the best I can.
    Now, I would have to say I have more trouble with my dogs barking than my kids interrupting!  I was recording a podcast interview with a very well known Internet marketer a couple of weeks ago and my dogs decided to start barking. We both joked about the dogs never being quiet when you need them to and it actually added some personality to the interview.
    These days with cell phones and mobile Internet connections even my friends who work out of the home are always "on."  So I think it is understood that life will interrupt sometimes.  I think the bottom-line is if you do a great job for your clients and don`t constantly put them on hold for your kids, they will understand. And I`ll bet the kids and dogs and other interruptions probably bother us more than the person on the other end of the phone.
     10stepmarketing2007-2-13 13:6:28
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    BusyAllieBusyAllie subscriber Posts: 0
    Debbie, your advice is great!  I have three kids and I handle the situation very similarly.  The kids appreciate that I am able to stay home with them so when I tell them that Mommy has an important phone call coming in, or I am about to make a call, they usually will keep it down.  I too get notes slid under my nose while on the phone.  Also, if I know I am going to be on the phone for a long call or two, I will tell the kids that when I am done we`ll play a game of cards or some other quality-time activity.  This incentive can keep even the longest business call event free.  Notice I used the word "incentive" and not "bribery".  Quality-time should not be considered as a bribe.  I have used the quality-time tactice time and time again and it works like a charm.  The dog, on the other hand, is a different story.  If you are on an important call...lure the dog into a back bedroom until you are done! 
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    10stepmarketing10stepmarketing subscriber Posts: 1
    Good suggestion about the dog BusyAllie!
    Actually, I was teaching and recording a teleclass last week and because I expected my kids to arrive home from school during the call (they`re in high school now so they drive themselves to school), I called my daughter on her cell phone and told her to come in quickly and quietly when they got home from school AND I put the dogs in the back yard. It worked like a charm.
    Like you said, I think being a work at home mom, just requires a bit more advance planning! 
     10stepmarketing2007-2-20 11:26:56
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