Mixing Kids and Work: 
Finding the Right Mix
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Supporting Home Business
Start a homebased business and you feel the thrill of starting your own company. After all, why not start a business from the ease of your own home. The advantages are many. To name only a few, no rent for office space to pay, no long commute and most importantly, you set the hours and days you work. 

Bob M. of Collection Services started his homebased business three years ago for just those reasons and one more."I was at work when a family crises erupted,"says Bob, a single dad of two. "I always had to check with my boss to see if I could leave. I had to wait to be replaced,  and it would delay my being with my family during an emergency for four or five hours. 

The joy of working from your home is that you have a business and a family. You can blend business and your personal needs, but it does not happen by chance. You have to learn to balance both and be flexible. Nowhere does this show up more than in that messy love triangle, you, your business and your kids. 

Virginia S. of Telemarketing Services, was knee-deep in a phone call with a prospective client she had been courting for months. Suddenly, Virginia's two screaming daughters came into her office. Their pet turtle and just bitten the five year old.  

"On the returned phone call, " Virginia reports, we talked for 45 minutes about the challenges of being a parent and working from home.  

I can relate to these situations myself. The other day I returned home to find my four year old son Zachary seated at the computer and typing away. When I walked in he said, "Daddy, Daddy,look what I can do". I glanced at the computer screen and realized Zachary had moved several icons to various locations. I was lucky, he could have done much more damage. But the stories are many, where kids sometimes delete files and much more. 

Some parents who have small children at home hire a baby-sitter.  This can assist in getting  down to business. These parents feel that by being a stair flight away from their child, who is being cared for, is better than being in an office and giving their child to a daycare center. 

Another approach to help cover both the domestic and business fronts involves the adults in a tag-team approach to sharing responsibilities. The method ensures that at least one parent will be available to take up the slack at work or play. 

Establish your business schedule. Customers have to know when they can reach you. You need time to focus on your business and its daily activities. If hiring a baby-sitter will allow you a regular part of the day for you to do business, then do it. Most importantly,  you must be flexible, because your kids regardless of age do not understand a schedule. Keep in mind that the interruptions are  your kids telling you that they want to be a part of your life. 

Create a separate office space. You can concentrate on your work more easily if you're not invaded by the sounds of the  doorbell, the family telephone or the children squabbling over television. 

Take time out. You now have a more flexible schedule. Take advantage of that and spend some of that hard won time on your family. 

Reduce disappointments. Treat your children as if they were customers. Don't say you'll be there when you know you won't. Follow through when you say you will be there. 

The decision about whether or not you should work at home is complex. The success of that business depends largely on your personality. If your business requires that you spend 12 or more hours a day  working, then you might do better setting up shop away from the house. 

If on the other hand, you're willing to give it a go, remember that the most dangerous part of working at home might be the pleasure of having fun with your children. 

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