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6 Ways Work-at-Home Moms Can Find Temporary Childcare

by Brianna Bell

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In the last decade, there has been a rise in a new type of workforce, the work-at-home mom (WAHM). The mother who works from home typically has her children home with her while she works from home in a myriad of industries from insurance and freelance writing to running her own at-home daycare. Unfortunately, there are no statistics for the work-at-home mother (or father), and even if statistics were available, they would be skewed with missing data from those who do not claim their income.

According to a Pew Research Centre study, stay-at-home mothers are on the rise, peaking at 29% in 2012. This analysis of government data uncovered trends in the workplace concerning mothers of children less than 18 years of age. Perhaps the most interesting discovery was related to part-time work, where Pew Research reports that 42% of the general public say that part-time work would be the preferred choice for a mother.

The work-at-home parent typically represents both the option to stay home with their children and work part-time.

Arguably the toughest challenge for a work-at-home parent is balancing the responsibilities within the home, including child care and managing work tasks. Huffington Post writer and mother Melanie McKinnon says:

"Balancing work and family is a physically staggering and emotionally exhaustive undertaking. With every new and exciting opportunity comes a whole host of different positive and negative responsibilities. I've found I must maintain strict boundaries in order to delicately balance each highly important area of my life, and it's a struggle."

Many parents choose to work at home to avoid the expense of daycare. Still, there are days when having someone to help with childcare duties will prove more effective for everybody.

Below are six ways work-at-home moms can find temporary childcare. These options would typically not be permanent or long-term solutions, but they would provide respite during a busy day and could lead to a few hours per week of peaceful and quiet work.

1. Swap days with another work-at-home parent

Connect with other work-at-home parents in your community, consider starting a Facebook group, and swap days with other parents. Perhaps you will watch Billy on Thursday afternoons while your neighbour watches your daughter Sally on Monday mornings. The benefits abound. You receive free childcare, and hopefully your child has a fun play-date.

2. Hire a high school student who requires volunteer hours

Most high schools require their students to complete a specified number of volunteer hours prior to graduation. Consider putting up a poster at your local school's guidance office requesting for a few days of childcare in exchange for their volunteer hours.

3. Trade services

Are you skilled in cutting hair, or do you have the ability to change the oil in a car? Perhaps you have a closet full of clothes that could use a new home? Whatever your skill set, consider trading your services for another's baby-sitting services. Make sure that the exchange is fair. For example, trade a hair-cut every eight weeks for four hours of childcare every eight weeks.

4. Make use of close family members

If you are lucky (or unlucky) enough to have parents, in-laws, or siblings living nearby, consider requesting that they come and help for a few hours per month. Depending on your relationship with your family and their availability, you may be able to get more or less free childcare. Make sure you are always show appreciation and are generous with them as well.

5. Drop your children off at a local community or church group

There are some local community and church groups that provide free childcare. Depending on the age of your children and what is available in your area, you may be able to arrange for weekly free childcare, keeping in mind that you may need to keep your schedule open or be willing to work at a local coffee shop.

If circumstances have put your family in debt, find out how to conquer your debt by creating a plan personalized to your family's budget and lifestyle.

6. Use the gym's childcare for work

If you are a member of a gym that offers free childcare, consider using their services while you work. Even if you spend 30 minutes exercising and one hour working, you will still be maximizing the money you have already spent. Many gyms now have areas with couches and Wi-Fi where you can comfortably and quietly work.

As always, make sure that you trust the people you leave your children with and know they are qualified and capable.

The face of the working world is changing, and as the work-at-home industry grows, the challenges faced by the workforce will increase too. Hopefully with some creative thinking, we can problem solve together and find new solutions to the unique issues surrounding the work-at-home workforce.

Reviewed August 2017

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