Diane's Atypical Typical Working Week

Diane Stafford

Diane Stafford

Diane Stafford describes herself as ‘Simply A Complex Woman’ due to her varied interests.

She is a Work at Home Mum, a part time Artist and Small Business Coach helping mainly women clarify their small business goals.

Diane shares her atypical typical working week with the3rdi.
Welcome to the3rdi.co.uk. I’ve been asked to share with you some insights into what a “Typical Week as a Work at Home Mum” is like.

I’m a Mum and I work from home, just like many other Mums, perhaps like you too, yet is there really a ‘typical’ week for most work at home mums? With this question in mind, as I write, we are virtually at the end of August and I’m still ‘technically’ on holiday. I say technically, as although we are not physically away on holiday for the whole time, July and August are the main school holiday months which changes anything that may have previously been ‘typical’ about my working week into anything but typical.

The memory of an organised schedule of work pre-July faded into the background quickly as the two months of family focus took priority.

I recall my frustrations of last Summer and subsequent school holiday periods, where my work at home schedule experienced some disruption. Let’s face it, if you’re on a deadline to produce a training video recording or a presentation for a client’s website, the last thing you need on it is the sound of your eldest child’s rock band rehearsal. Yes, they may be practicing in another room down the hall, but boy, how sound travels. Locking myself away in a secluded sound proof box may be a good idea, but it’s not really an option right now!

This year I’d made the conscious decision not to accept any new ‘one to one’ small business clients during these two months and I’m carrying that into all school holidays from now on. Work life balance is just so much more pleasant when you don’t create unrealistic deadlines and frustrations for yourself or your kids. After all, you can’t be telling the kids to keep quiet every five minutes when they are on holiday.
Besides, the main factors in my choosing to become a work at home Mum were:

* To be at home to be there for the children
* To ‘work’ in order to create an income
* To ‘work’ hours that suit those needs
* To obtain flexibility and freedom
* To do something(s) I enjoy

Whilst these may be ‘typical’ reasons for many, if not most Mums choosing to work at home, every Mum’s individual circumstances will inevitably be different and therefore, your ‘typical ‘ working week may be similar to, or maybe nothing, like mine. We all have different family profiles, different time commitments and different business models.

The words ‘Typical Working Week’ for me, even after all this time of home working, still conjure up visions of the Monday to Friday, 9 – 5 j.o.b.. That very thing which work at home mums are normally escaping from for the above listed ‘typical reasons’.
After much reflection over my typical week, It’s fair to say that, right now, I don’t actually have a typical week.

That which was my typical working week last year was very different to the year before and this year will be very different to last year and no doubt next year will again be very different, especially as I am about to implement changes from this September onwards.

The need to adapt and change
I’ve been self employed for a number of years, and one thing I can say about myself is that I am certainly adaptable, with change being a continual process. When the kids were tiny babies I was running my family business and had the luxury of being able to take them with me, with the caring helping hands of Nan and Grandad to mind them when necessary. When they were a little older, there followed a child-minder and then a nanny was employed in the home which helped me concentrate on then two ‘physical’ businesses. She stayed with us until the kids were into their early school years. Like many Business Mums, my typical working week at that time was very organised, revolving around working outside the home, our child care arrangements and school times, which keep getting shorter, but that’s another story.

As the kids got older, their needs constantly changed, our family circumstances changed, our business interests changed, the country we lived in changed and changed again a few years later. Nothing stays the same forever, kids keep on growing up, life evolves and with each changed circumstance comes the need to adapt and change your life, possibly your business model too, as it was in my case. My three kids are now maturing teenagers in their 6th form years of school. It’s fabulous to watch them growing into well balanced, independent individuals and to know that they have successfully survived all the changes we have encountered, so far! Together we have learned a lot about ourselves and a great deal about life.
Learning to reinvent your typical working week.

I’m a great believer in positive change and learning, no matter how challenging that might be on occasion. Life certainly does have a way of presenting you with plenty of learning opportunities. And, as all things change you learn to adapt and, when and if necessary, you learn to reinvent your life, yourself and possibly your business focus along with your typical working week.
How positively exciting that can be too!

Apart from learning from many general life changes, becoming a work at home Mum and being a single parent in particular, has brought many challenges along with opportunities for change and reinvention. Which continues now as the new school year is set to begin. We have really enjoyed this year’s summer break. This relaxing period has allowed me the opportunity to again re-evaluate the needs of my kids, our family life and my business focus. Whilst my overall long term goals are relatively unchanged and are still based on the typical reasons I chose to work at home, I’ve planned out what will from next week onwards be my new typical working week.

If you are a work at home Mum and you are battling to create your typical working week, remember that achieving your individual successes doesn’t have to be a solo journey.
Here are some support suggestions that I find beneficial:

* support from kids/family
* realistic clear personal and business goals
* planned ‘working’ hours
* personal support/business coach (as needed)
* Joint Venture partners
* networking with like minded women
* taking action (one step forward is better than none)

I’m very excited about achieving even more of my goals this year. I’m very excited about putting in fewer hours whilst increasing my already growing passive income and of course I’m excited about the joint venture projects I have with like minded work at home mums.

What will your typical working week look like for your future success?
Diane Stafford

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