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The Balancing Act: Getting Things Done With Kids at Hand

     This month, I celebrate my six-year anniversary working at home as a medical transcriptionist. I transcribe dictations from doctors and other health professionals into medical reports for patient files and I do it at my own computer in my own home with my three children here with me. 

     I’m incredibly thankful that God allows me to work and contribute a little to my family’s income while still being home with my children.

     Women make so many decisions when it comes to work and family.  Each one has its pros and cons.  Each family situation is different and each woman is different.  You may have decided to be a stay-at-home mom, a work-outside-the-home mom, or, like me, a work-at-home mom.  Regardless, all moms find themselves at times trying to get things done with children at hand.

     I remember crying while holding my first baby (also crying) in my arms, rocking her when I should have been working, and thinking “This is impossible.  I can’t do this.  I cannot do this job and be a mom at the same time.”  Now, when my older girls are both out at school and it’s just me and my youngest at home, I think, “Wow!  This feels like a vacation!  Doing this with one baby is so incredibly easy!!”

     I don’t have the balancing act between work and family figured out, but I have learned some tips over the years, often from my fellow transcriptionists who are great at helping a “newbie” learn how it’s done.  Here are some things they’ve taught me and some tips I’ve discovered along the way on how to work at home (in any capacity) with young children.


  • Keep your priorities straight.  This is the hardest issue for me!  I’m a task-oriented person, who always needs to make sure I’m putting people first.  When work is inside the home, it’s not easy to partition work from family time. 

    I find my kids clearly communicate with me when work has wrongly become my top priority.  Even my youngest---just one year old---climbs up into my lap, removes my headphones, takes my hand off my mouse, and pulls at my shirt to make me stand up away from the computer.  She knows, even when I don’t, when Mommy needs to stop working. 

    The whole reason I am working at home is so that I can be with my kids.  If I fail to put them first, then the reason for doing this job is meaningless.  Keep your priorities in check at all times and know when it is time to stop working.

  • Find a schedule that works for you.  I’m blessed to work at a job and for a company that allows for flexible schedules, including an evening shift and overnight shift.  Some moms find it easier to work from 7 p.m. to midnight or even midnight to 7 a.m., which works best with their husband’s schedule and leaves their days free to be a mom.

    I prefer to work during the day because so many of my evenings are filled with other activities, but it means I am often working with my kids playing at my feet.  When my kids are young enough to nap, I do a lot (but not all) of my working during naptime, and as my kids get older and start school, much of the work will be done while they are out of the home. 

  • Make your work time productive time.  In order to minimize how much time I spend working, I need to be as productive as possible in the time that I do work.  The faster I get my work done, the more time I can spend with my kids.  That’s great motivation! 

    • Establish a work environment.  When you are working at home, it is easy to be a little too relaxed.  Know yourself and what you can handle.  Some people can work in their pajamas, but I can’t.  I find that when I’m up and dressed neatly, I feel like my mind is engaged enough to work. 

    • Make sure friends and family know you are actually working at home.  Many times people don’t understand that you aren’t free all day for drop-in visits, walks to the park, or long heart-to-heart telephone conversations.  You may need to tell people, “I can’t talk right now; I’m working, but I’ll call you after 3:00.”  After politely telling them once, they usually don’t forget.
  • Rotate toys: For moms who just need some quiet time on the phone, a small box of toys and activities that are only for “Mommy’s on the phone” time often works.  Novelty helps!  Some work-at-home moms keep all the toys in Rubbermaid containers and they rotate which tub of toys is out for play and which is packed away for another time.   

  • Give kids a definite raincheck time.  There are times that my kids want to play Candy Land with me right now, right this minute!  That’s not always possible for me.  If I can take a break, I do, but there are times when a break isn’t possible immediately.  So, I have to “take a raincheck,” but I give my daughters a definite time when I can play with them.  “I can’t play right this minute, honey, but I will play that game with you” before dinner, or in 30 minutes, or at 3:00.  Just remember that they will hold you to your promises.
  • Become a master Crockpot chef.  I have learned to love my Crockpot!  If I know I’m in for a long day at work, I plan ahead for a Crockpot meal, leaving my evening time less hectic and freer for kids-time.  Here’s a fantastic blog with lots of Crockpot recipes for you to try: http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/
  • Set reasonable expectations and show yourself some grace.  I know that if all three of my kids are awake, home, and playing while I’m at work, I will work more slowly.  It’s a guaranteed fact.  As long as my kids are young, I will never be the fastest transcriptionist in the business.  What some can do in 2 hours, may take me 3---or more if it’s a really hectic day!  You need to plan for that and set reasonable expectations of productivity.

    You also need to expect difficult days and look forward to easy days.  Some days my kids are ideal.  They play together nicely, don’t even watch TV and allow me to work efficiently and be productive.

    Then there are the days where I don’t get to sit down for more than five minutes at a time before I’m needed by one child or another  . . . or both if they are fighting.  My youngest may be teething.  The older girls might be sick.  My kids watch more TV than I’d like.   These days happen.  I can’t give up because of one bad day.  I may cry a little that night because I’m tired and stressed, but I have to get up the next day realizing that God’s “mercies are new every morning” Lamentations 3:22 (NIV).

    There are also tough seasons.  I find that six months until a little over a year old is a very difficult age for me to be productive at work.  But, then, one day I wake up and that little one is cheerfully playing by herself or with her sisters and isn’t getting frustrated all the time and is taking great naps, and I think, “What was so hard about this?”  Then, that little one turns two years old and----well, we all know what can happen then!

    Remember that no tough time lasts forever!!  Just give yourself some grace during the tough seasons and have hope because it will get better and God will equip you for the job He’s given you, each day, moment by moment.


Copyright © 2008-2015 Heather King

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2012-03-10 07:06:15
"All people deserve good life and personal loans or just term loan can make it much better. Just because people's freedom depends on money. "
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