I often get asked how did you cope with newborn twins and the answers is…I just did! When there are two babies that need you, you find a way to make it all work. I’m very lucky to have a great family around me who I could call on when I needed extra help. The next challenge came when was time to think about working with twins at home.
I went back to work full time when they were nine months old and found it so difficult. At work I felt guilty for leaving the boys, at home I couldn’t switch off from all of the things that needed to be done at work.
As the boys grew, I knew I needed to make a change so that I could be there for them more. I wanted to be able to take them to and from school, attend sports day and parents’ evenings without worrying about conflicts with my work schedule. I started hunting for a local, part time job but soon realised that none of the options would give me the flexibility I needed. At this point I decided to set up my own virtual assistant business.
Here are some things that I have learnt since running my business and looking after twins…
You still need childcare
Working with twins in the house is hard, well it is with my twins anyway! I’m sure this depends on the child’s age, but I know I wouldn’t be able to work with two energetic boys in the house all day. I use a mix of nursery, family and a childminder.
It’s even harder to switch off
Unlike being employed, you don’t get paid unless you do the work. It’s hard to say no to an extra project or few hours work, especially when you are starting out and want to build your reputation. It’s so important to know your limits, it’s better to ask a client to wait than do a job badly. Remember that you also need to make time for your own business admin and marketing.
Not commuting makes a real difference to your day
I used to commute for 1.5 hours each way every day, this meant leaving the house at 7am and returning home at 7pm. I can now drop the boys at their childcare, complete a few chores and still be sat at my desk by 8.30. In the evenings, I’m around for bedtime which gives the boys a consistent routine that was missing.
Just because you are working from home doesn’t mean you can do it all
When you work from home it’s often assumed that you will pick up the majority of the domestic chores. It might be easy to throw a load of washing into the machine between emails but when you are working to grow a business you won’t have time to do everything. I’ve taken the pressure off by having the shopping delivered and dividing the rest of the domestic chores with my husband.
You need a quiet space to work
Some days I can sit happily working at my dining table. Others I get distracted by the slightest thing and need to take myself off to a quiet space to work. I’ve got a desk the spare bedroom and it’s great to be able to separate work from home a little.
Want to find out more about me, take a look at my website www.helenporterpa.com.