I’d always dreamed of being my own boss, naively thinking that working from home meant getting lots of work done while the baby slept, and having a spotless house with all that “extra time” I’d have. It wasn’t long after my first baby was born that reality hit me – the baby would only sleep if I was holding him, he had severe colic and screamed 8 hours non-stop every day and night making it impossible to get any work done (I was lucky to squeeze a shower in most days!)
After speaking to other work-from-home mums, it quickly became obvious the challenges of balancing work and family life that I’ve faced over the last 3 years are not unique to me. Here are the 3 biggest surprises that I wish I had been more prepared for, being a work from home mum.
1. You’ll need childcare
I really had no idea how draining it would be to take care of a child 24/7, let alone keep up with housework and run a business! Whether you hire a babysitter, use daycare or have family that can help, this is really the only way to ensure your business continues to grow (or at least is maintained), especially during the newborn phase.
2. Outsourcing is a necessity, not a luxury
Before making the change to work-from-home-mum, I had this notion of having more time to do things myself. “I’ll cook healthy meals and get the washing done at a leisurely pace”. The challenge with owning your own business is that there’s no one to delegate work to, so I often found what little spare time I had doing urgent work and the housework always came last. Outsourcing has been a sanity saver for our family, we use Hello Fresh to deliver fresh groceries, have a weekly cleaner and monthly gardener. I also outsource as much of the business as possible, to free up my time for things that I want to prioritise.
3. You’ll Learn To Say No
Having such limited time will force you to prioritise like you never have before. Instead of trying to do everything, I’ve learnt to cut back and only take on things that I really want to do to avoid being overwhelmingly busy and feel a sense of control and calm.
While it’s certainly challenging, and about to get even busier with baby number 2 on the way, I wouldn’t change it for the world!
Dominique Perri is the Co-Founder and Head of Marketing for Baby Dino, an online department store for children’s fashion and interiors. With a Bachelor of Business degree from UTS and 8 years in media planning and buying roles, Dominique set out in search of a new challenge and launched Baby Dino. Her ability to take calculated risks and continually embrace her core values of integrity, growth and innovation have enabled Baby Dino to develop a loyal worldwide customer base and grow into one of Australia’s largest online stores for children’s fashion, www.babydino.com.au