Work at Home Moms Are Professionals
A big complaint from “work at home moms” is the idea that they can be room mothers, volunteers for field trips, PTA organizers, and errand “gals” for family members (their immediate and extended)…because “you don’t work.”
Their family and outsiders often consider that someone working at home isn’t really working and their time isn’t important. You can help change this by the way you think of yourself and your home business.
If you consider working at home as “mom’s little hobby,” then others will. If you treat it as a business, others more likely will. If they don’t, simply persist in being professional, and eventually they should get the idea. Even if your work is such that you can take it with you (carrying your laptop around as many writers do), still insist, “I’m working.”
*Set hours…and they may vary depending on your family schedule. However, be firm (with yourself and others) that you’re at work during this time.
*Dress professionally as you would if you’re at work for an employer. Some places are more casual than others. However, if you do go to the door in your bathrobe, hair array, unshaven (if you usually shave), or no make-up (if you generally wear make-up when out), and say, “I’m busy. I’m working,” it’s difficult for others to take you seriously.
Of course once you’ve established yourself and people think of you as a professional working at home, you often can relax a bit.
*Use an answering machine. You don’t need to answer every phone call NOW. If it’s a business call, deal with it. However, personal calls can wait until after your working hours, as they would (unless emergencies) if you were working for someone else.
*Get a second line…or cell phone. Use one number for business and the other for family and friends.
*Learn to say NO and be firm about being room mother, going on field trips, running errands during your working hours. However, when you work at home, you often can arrange your schedule occasionally (”Let me check my schedule book.”) so you can be a field trip chaperone, etc. Try to make it clear, when asked, that you must consult your calendar.
*How you think of yourself will come across when you talk with others. Realize you’re a business owner and have to maintain a schedule and set standards if you’re to succeed. If you begin to think and act this way, others will see you in that light, too.