We WAHMs are a pretty overachieving group as a whole. And how could we not be? We're expected to be productive, working members of our society, and at the same time be responsible for our little rugrats and their welfare. We have to find that perfect balance between great employee or boss, great wife, and great mom. We don't get to take sick days, and we laugh maniacally when the clueless among us say, "You're so lucky -- you get to stay in your pajamas and/or go shopping all day!" Truly, some of the only people who can understand what it's like to juggle work and home at the same time are other WAHMs. And that's why I've come up with a list of products I've found invaluable in helping me stay on track with both my home life and my working life.
1.) Baby Enclosure: Also known as a Baby Jail. This invention has made my life so much easier. Gone are the days when I'd have to let the machine answer my client calls. Now, I can just stick my crawler in his baby jail, er, enclosure, and take my phone calls in another room, reassured that he won't be (a) chomping on an electrical cord when I get back or (b) harassing one of the cats and dangerously close to losing an eye.
2.) Video Monitor: To be used in conjunction with the baby jail. If I have to go upstairs to my office to type up a quick email or make a phone call that can't wait, I can watch my son in his play area. It's almost as if I am right there next to him. This is just a double assurance for parents who are extremely anal-retentive about safety (yes, I am one of them -- how did you guess?).
3.) Babysitter: I know I have mentioned this in my previous articles, but get a sitter, even if for only a couple of hours a week. This will increase the time you have to yourself, to make calls, send emails, even run work-related errands without having to worry about your little one (and OK, occasionally you might even sneak out to get a mani-pedi -- hey, after all, you're only human). The cost of a few dollars an hour will be well worth the return in productivity and more work.
4.) Laptop computer: If you don't already have one, get one. There are great deals on laptops everywhere, and they make working from home so much easier. If my son feels like playing quietly in his room, I can go in there and work with him. If he wants to be in the living room, I am portable. I have also worked on writing assignments while waiting in the car at various appointments. My only caveat would be to get a 15-inch or smaller monitor. I bought a 17-inch thinking the wide screen would be better for my eyes, but it's almost too heavy to really serve its purpose (but that's OK, because it's a great reason for me to get a newer model!).