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EP Dad FAQs
by Jeffrey D.
Q. As an Entrepreneurial Dad, how can I work at home with kids?
A. Can you say "juggle"? It's
important that you re-prioritize your life's goals and work habits
when a child comes along, or when you decide to head home to
work. This is true for the self-employed as well as the teleworker,
who's employed by a company and empowered to occasionally work
from home. You'll lose those days filled with the quiet solitude
that fosters concentration. As I say in Home
Office Know-How, my tips book on home office, we need to find
that balance in our personal and professional lives. You -- and/or
your wife -- will have to find your quiet time whenever you can.
Before the child rises, after the child settles, nap time, play
Q. What tools are there to help me work while the
kids are around?
A. Early on, infants should be "trained"
to enjoy the playpen. All three of our kids were introduced to
the playpen, and grew to enjoy -- not loathe -- it. That makes
it easier for an at-home parent to work. Your friends will tell
you kids won't sit in playpens. Hogwash. Kids are like big people
only smaller, and they can be trained to do anything. Including
to enjoy playing in a playpen. Just make sure not to rely on
the playpen for extended periods of time.
naptime for your child. It's more true for naps than for a playpen
that kids have their own internal settings for whether they'll
take to napping or not. That said, our kids always were long
nappers, which was wonderful for the "day job" of working
at home. Also, solicit support from family capable of helping
out (parents, inlaws, siblings, etc.), and hire neighborhood
kids (especially 9-15 year old girls) who will help watch the
baby as a "mother's helper" while you're working. This
is exceptional for your ability to focus. They can be found at
the local middle or high school, the YMCA, girl scouts or brownies,
Q. What do I do as my kids get older?
A. Have plenty of projects around for preschoolers
and elementary school kids. Let them help around the office (as
best their capabilities will allow). Truth be told, the "electronic
babysitter" or TV helps, just don't rely on it everyday.
Instead, offer up books, playdates, family, etc., to divert their
attention and help you focus on your projects.
Q. And what if these things don't work all the time?
A. Then punt. Take an afternoon off to
be with the kids. Do some brainless work if their shenanigans
won't let you focus. Adjust your schedule to work earlier or
later hours, like when they're asleep, napping, at play dates
or extra-curriculars. As the Entrepreneurial Parent knows, working at home is a juggling act.