If you’ve got young children at home, it’s likely that childcare is one of your greatest barriers to working from home. After all, some days you don’t even finish your coffee in a timely fashion! How can you be expected to complete a project for a paying client?
Mama, I’ve got you!
I’m a mom of littles and I’ve been working from home (mostly as a Virtual Assistant) since my four-year-old was an infant. We’ve tried and tested a variety of childcare options that allow me to get my work done.
This post is for those who might be wanting to work from home, but are unable to consistently rely on relatives for childcare.
And one final disclaimer before I throw these ten ideas at you. Our belief at Moms Work Hard is that it is possible to make an income from home and still spend time with your family. What I love about these options is they are flexible, and can be increased or decreased depending on your unique needs. Dedicated working hours can be a lifesaver, especially if you’re tackling a major project or on a hot deadline. Maybe to protect your sanity and the quality of your work, you DO need to call in reinforcements to help wrangle your kiddos. That’s totally okay! (After all, even Wonder Woman doesn’t save the world alone! She’s got the Justice League, right!?)
If you’ve been pulling your hair out trying to keep your kids occupied, work well, and get dinner on the table – maybe it’s time to test out a few of these childcare ideas!
The idea of child-swaps sounds great…buuut, how do you make sure it’s fair? My Komae to the rescue! Founded by two moms, this tool helps you start a babysitting co-op among your real-life mom friends.
There are many sites out there that connect caregivers to those needing care. I include it in this list because I found our beloved nanny we used for well over a year through Care.com.
- Homeschooled Babysitter or Mother’s Helper
Another longtime sitter we’ve loved is homeschooler from our church. Due to her school schedule flexibility, for a season she was able to come to our house for a full day each week and I dedicated that time to getting most of my client work done.
If your child is older, preschool might be a great option to give you some childcare hours during the day!
- Part-Time Daycare
Believe it or not, there are part-time daycare options! It doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. Call around to see what’s available in your area. Securing just a day or two that you know you can have childcare available might really ease the mental load. (If you’re using a paid option, make sure that you can justify the cost with how much you’re bringing in!)
- Summer Camp
Summer camps are another great option for allowing you to get some work-time in. Especially if your VA work is seasonal.
- Bartering Services
There ain’t no school like the Old School! Could it be that you can barter or trade services with someone locally? Maybe a friend you know runs a little Etsy shop, she could watch your kids for a few hours a week and you could give her VA services.
- Evening or Weekend Hours
Another option that’s worked well for our family is for me to set up a work schedule around my husband’s 9-5. A few nights a week we would schedule for me to start working just after my husband got off; we also protected Saturday mornings as set working times.
- Structured Television (or Playtime)
TV doesn’t have to be the enemy! Some days I will intentionally use screen time while I put some time on the clock. This plan works well especially if you can give your children one-on-one attention beforehand. Also, I don’t recommend doing really heavy work during screen time since you might be interrupted.
This idea isn’t rocket science. Much like the idea of Komae, maybe you can set up occasional or reoccuring playdates with a mom friend to give yourself working hours. Allow yourself to simply make the ask without the pressure to repay in kind. Make sure you’re investing in those friendships, but it doesn’t have to be playdate-for-playdate.
There you go! 10 totally-doable options to keep those sweet darlings occupied while you put in some dedicated work time. What other ideas do you have that I didn’t mention here?