Different Environments = Different Challenges
I recently read an article that stated the author’s list of the top X number of mistakes women make in business. I was able to relate to some of it, but then, not really. It was more geared toward women in the workforce, something I was able to relate to in the past, but not now.
Which got me thinking, what are the top challenges stay-at-home moms, in particular, face in business? In order to address the challenges, let’s first look at the difference in the environment of stay-at-home moms compared to that of women in the workforce.
- Dress: Most work places would have some sort of dress code, right? It could range anywhere from casual or business casual to business suit or uniform.
- Schedule: You arrive at a certain time, take a lunch, a couple of breaks, then go home at a certain time. You may have a certain schedule or set of events that take place at the same time every day or every week; for example, a 9:00 staff meeting every Monday morning.
- Atmosphere: There’s a whole different atmosphere in the outside work environment that can be exciting and welcoming or downright boring and sterile. In any case it’s different than home and much more restricted and structured. You feel the change the moment you walk through the door.
- Attitude: Because of the atmosphere, there’s a shift in your posture that takes place when you get to work. If on your way to work you were listening to and singing along to your favorite CD (Am I dating myself here? Hey at least I didn’t say cassette!), it’s turned off and now it’s time to put your business face on. There are important things to do, people to meet with, projects to work on.
Home Environment with Young Children or Homeschoolers
- Dress: Pajamas for better part of the morning, then maybe jeans, sweatshirt, fluffy slippers; hair in ponytail, no makeup.
- Schedule: No clocking in or out. You try to make a schedule, but it’s pretty loose and usually completely unraveled by your second cup of coffee.
- Atmosphere: Very LIKELY to be exciting and welcoming; very UNLIKELY to be boring and sterile (“Sweetie, tell mommy where you put your diaper.”). And as far as structure goes…I try. Really I do. But things happen. Things like, my husband (the principal) walks in the room if he happens to be off and declares it a day off from school due to “It’s a beautiful day, let’s go do something.” Before I can protest, my daughter has jumped out of her chair with a squeal of delight and is out the door while I’m still in mid-sentence explaining the economy and agriculture of the colonies in 1739.
- Attitude: I don’t have an attitude. Why would you say I have an attitude?
Different Environments Pose Different Challenges
These different environments inevitably contribute to totally different scenarios and challenges. When you work outside of the home, it’s expected that while you are there, your job is your sole focus. When you clock out, you leave your work there and go home.
When you are a stay-home or homeschooling mom with a business, you have several responsibilities taking place at the same time: homemaker, caregiver, educator, business owner–all of these requiring your attention and focus. No clocking out; no going home–you live there!
Totally different challenges.
Challenges in the work environment usually have more to do with interpersonal skills, communication, and time management, whereas challenges in the home environment usually have more to do with mind-set and motivation.
Today’s post was basically the laying out of the differences in the environments and why work-at-home moms face a whole different set of challenges. In my next post we will actually look at what some of those challenges are and how to overcome them!
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