- Win $100 in prizes!
Teaming Up with
Whether a home business
slows your life down (if your career has been on the "fast
track") or brings it up to speed (if your career's been
on a break), it can serve as a peace pipe between partners.
by Lisa M. Roberts
Parents who work at home to find a better
work-family balance rarely do it alone. Every couple who lives
with a home business works as a team to pull it off, whether
both are actually involved in the business end or not. Most commonly,
the spouse who works full-time and earns a steady paycheck with
comprehensive family benefits affords the other the time to work
at home without that pressure.
Couples who decide to accept
a home business into their lives generally unite on one of two
- To enable children to be
with their parents more often --
as in the case of the currently employed turning self-employed.
- To increase the family income
-- as in the case
of the primary caregiver adding self-employment to the household
Aside from more time with children
and/or more money in the bank, secondary goals that couples
turn to home business for include:
- To provide back-up career
development -- in
case the current primary breadwinner gets downsized.
- To invest in one's skillset -- instead of the unreliable stock market
(putting money towards one's own business instead of someone
- To enable both partners to
live a well-balanced life.
With united goals, most couples
set out together to make home business work. There are a few
spouses, however, who introduce a business into the household
through the back door without making a "formal" introduction
to their partners until it is a strong force. Either way home
business in a family takes both teamwork and autonomy
to make it a success.
Sharing the Rewards
Whether your spouse acts as a
some-time consultant to your business, is involved in its day-to-day
operations or wants absolutely no part in it at all, there are
always ways you can share the rewards of a home business with
Although they may not top your
list of rewards at first, professional alignment and intellectual
stimulation do rank high for most couples who live with a home
business. A young father immersed in his career to support a
growing family may be on a completely different professional
plane than his wife now immersed in child care and homemaking.
This vocational gap between spouses continues to be a great source
of conflict in modern relationships as it was 20 or 30 years
ago, perhaps more so now as traditional roles are on the defense,
women's choices are as abundant as they are overwhelming, and
upbringing involves higher expectations for both sexes.
Home business can help bridge
the gap between traditional and modern parental roles. Consider:
- The new father -- who chooses a home business
as a means to glean a more visible and active role in his child's
life than his own father might have secured.
- The new mother -- who might welcome self-employment
as an opportunity to keep professionally abreast in her field
without compromising the nurturing of her newborn.
- The couple -- who has chosen a more traditional
path during their children's early years but plan to embrace
home business as a way to close the vocational gap between them
later on in their marriage.
With home business a way of life,
dinnertime conversation can transcend domestic issues and touch
upon business concerns. Why is this important? For one, couples
are more likely to feel secure in their respective professions
when they have the knowledgeable understanding and appropriate
support of their spouse. Talk sales, talk vendor relations, talk
deadlines, talk career stagnation, talk career opportunity, talk!
Talk shop with your partner and see how much closer you become.
Equally important, talk within earshot of your children and they
might grow with a higher expectation of equality between the
sexes than you may have.
Finally, when a husband and wife
are professionally aligned, their life paths often run parallel
instead of crisscrossing in constant collision. This makes for
an easier ride and a clearer direction for all. To be specific,
- The concept of business relationships
-- Most professionals
know that networking and after-hours socializing can be crucial
to career development and promotion. Yet business relationships
might be hard to develop and maintain if they are abundant for
one spouse and completely null for the other. A home business
calls for just as many business affiliations as other employment
options and can quench that social thirst for the stay-at-home
- Business trips -- Here's another potential sore
spot for a couple, especially when both partners pursued active
careers until one dropped out of the business scene to take care
of children. Even if it's just once a year, attendance at a home
business or trade convention can not only lift the spirit but
bring in business as well.
- Overtime -- As companies slim down their
staffs, the employees who are still holding on are sometimes
upholding more responsibilities for the same pay. Even for those
who are not workaholics by nature, working overtime is required.
A home business helps fill those empty hours for a spouse who's
holding down the domestic front for long stretches of time.
A business of one's own can offer
more equitable opportunities for a spouse who's feeling "left
behind." Whether a home business slows your life down (if
you've been on a career "fast track") or brings it
up to speed (if your career's been on a break), it can serve
as a peace pipe between partners.
- © 1997 Lisa M. Roberts, all rights reserved. The above article
is an excerpt from How
to Raise A Family & A Career Under One Roof: A Parent's Guide
to Home Business, a title highly recommended by La Leche
League, Home Office Computing and the Family Christian
your own copy today!