My wife and I reverse the traditional arrangement. She has a career-type job, 40-50 hours per week, and brings in reliable income and insurance for our family. I work from, writing. At this point, I do bring in a respectable income. I also take care of the house, the kids, the cooking and our budget.
I love it. There are days I don’t love, full of sick kids, frustrating repairs and tight deadlines. But my time is my own and I go to work each day with my baby in my lap. In another post, I’ll go into detail on work-from-home tricks that aren’t scams – ‘cos seriously, this is awesome and you should try it. Today, let’s talk about a few ways to make full-time daddy and full-time work not add up to full-time crisis.
Act Like You’re at Work
I don’t mean stand by the water cooler and make passive-aggressive remarks about the other people in the house. I’m talking about setting goals and holding yourself accountable the way your boss and team would in a work environment. Without this in place, you will not make enough money to sustain your work-at-home lifestyle.
Organize, Organize, Organize
I came to this lifestyle after years of running a small business, so it’s possible I’ve gone overboard on this. I have job descriptions for my cleaning tasks, profit and loss sheets for my budget and a pretty solid schedule organized by week, month and year. You don’t have to get that detailed, but the more systems you put in place, the less energy you’ll spend on figuring out what to do. Energy is at a premium as a work-at-home dad, so do what you can to save some.
Get to the Gym
Make a workout every day or two a priority. There’s a host of research indicating this will make you more productive, resourceful and patient. It doesn’t matter if you run, lift weights or play some pickup ball – but it does matter that you get out there. Most health clubs these days have a child care room, so you can get a short break if your kids are under school age.
Go to Lunch
The hardest part of being a work-a-home dad is the sense of isolation. Sure, you’re with your kids, but you need to interact with other adults. Make plans to grab lunch with friends – especially working friends on their lunch breaks – two to three times each week. This will keep you grounded and hedge against the depression that often hits stay-at-home parents.
Take a Day Off
For me it’s Thursdays – a day I found myself tired and frustrated during my business management days. This doesn’t mean you actually take the day off from responsibilities. Just avoid scheduling any tasks for one day. This gives you a chance for guilt-free relaxation and provides a window for catch-up on any projects that ran long.
There are hundreds of other little tricks for managing home, kids and time. These broad-stroke guidelines form just an introduction. I hope somebody, somewhere found them helpful
Thanks for listening.
- The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
- The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steve Covey
- Getting Things Done by David Allen