From Dr. Jane's Notebook


In the quest to achieve super-motherhood, some women today have achieved the balance between raising children and managing their careers, by establishing their professional offices in their homes. This is a brilliant solution to a difficult problem. It offers many advantages in terms of childcare, travel time, and overhead office expenses...but also carries with it, a number of potential hazards. In an atmosphere where "the office never closes," the following ideas may prove useful...

I recommend establishing regular childcare hours when a babysitter can come to your home; or sharing childcare responsibilities with a friend. Having tried it both ways, I have found both to be successful.

Years ago, an attorney friend of mine and I shared childcare on half-day bases. I took care of her infant during the mornings; she took care of mine during the afternoons. This way, we both kept our part-time jobs, and our children had plenty of companionship. At other times, I have enjoyed the knowledge that my children were being entertained by babysitters in another part of the house, and I could be their visitor or "at work and off limits!"

The combination of motherhood and career require a complex juggling act. Working at home offers many advantages but is not simple. A friend of mine recounted a story of the morning when she intended to dress before starting her work day, but instead plunged right into her computer and the task at hand... in nothing but her nightie! All was going well at 9 a.m. as she smuggly enjoyed her work in the privacy of her office, just as comfortable as she could be... until the doorbell rang.

It seems that she found herself on the opposite side of a glass door from her clothes, such that if she made a dash for her room, she would undoubtedly be seen by the gentleman at the door. Keeping her cool, she decided not to respond to the doorbell. But the caller was persistent, knowing full-well that her car was in the driveway. An eternity passed before the unknown visitor gave up. When it finally appeared safe, my friend darted for the upstairs room, dressed and then ran back downstairs to flag down the Federal Express driver.

Slightly irritated, he once again carried the two large cartons from his truck, whereupon he asked for her signature... and politely asked no other questions. As luck would have it, he was delivering a gift of a dozen loaves of fresh-baked sourdough bread flown in from her Uncle in California. Even when working at home... timing is everything!

ęCopyright 1995, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.

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Last Updated September 27, 1998 by Gary M. Grandon, Ph.D.