Getting Real With Shadra Bruce
When I escaped the corporate jail I was serving in when my kids were young, I was determined not to go back into the corporate world in any capacity. I was exhausted from the 60-hour work weeks and felt like I was missing in action from my children’s daily lives. I was lucky enough to find work to support our family from home, but not without a bit of budget-tightening (my husband was a full-time student with one semester left, so we were one income).
The easiest – and biggest – bill in our budget to remove was the daycare bill, so shortly after I started working full time from home, my then-5-year old daughter, Anika, joined me. I quickly discovered that being a full-time work-at-home with kids at home mom was a challenge, so I designed a home school preschool for her.
There would not be much point in having a work at home job if I couldn’t be near my daughter, so the first thing I did was make my home office kid-friendly. I emptied out a cupboard in my office that she could reach and filled it with paper, crayons, pencils and blocks. Anika is the youngest of our five kids, so knowing what she needs to be prepared for to start kindergarten was the easy part; making her feel like she could do things without mommy’s help was a bit more difficult.
What finally worked was to explain my work and make her my business partner. Each day when I had to be focused on my work, she would sit at her little table right next to me and work on preschool workbooks and printouts (available online in a number of places). Her quiet concentration helped me work, she felt like she was mom’s big helper, and I kept my sanity and the extra money we would have otherwise spent on daycare!
Best of all, on days when the work was light, we spent time doing wonderful things together, making the wahm-sahm combo the best of both worlds for me.