Carving Out a Real WAHM Work Space

Every freelancer needs a real work space –a place to tackle your projects and assignments without wrestling with your child’s latest play dough creations and free from the risk of any crayon incidents on important contracts. It can be a trick to find the ideal space for a work-at-home mom or any other freelancer as many of us don’t have the luxury of our own offices.

Location, Location, Location

If you’re working at home without any company, you can likely work form any room in the house without distraction or disruption. If you’re working from home with small children nearby, you need to be mobile, and if you’re working with older children or other adults in the house, having a quiet corner to retreat to can be a lifesaver.

Before planning a desk and computer layout, spend time contemplating locations. Should you be in the center of the home to better listen for tears and emergencies? Is a quiet corner of your bedroom perfect for the after-hours desk? Can you make a full office somewhere in a space crunch?

The Mobile Office

A laptop can be a huge advantage to a busy WAHM. The laptop with a simple backpack carrier can travel with you to the carpool lines in front of the elementary school. It can go to the two-hour soccer or football practice. It can even go to the indoor play areas for toddlers. Working mothers of young children already know that they can get a lot done in a dozen ten-minute intervals throughout the day. Hauling around that laptop along with a pad of paper and a few pens might be all you need for working during the day.

The Central Office

Bedroom offices are popular, but often the corner of a bedroom is removed from the action of the household. While this might sound like bliss, many work-at-home moms would much rather be in the center of the chaos to better hear and reach their children. To facilitate this, you’ll need a central office. You can do this easily by purchasing an inexpensive stationary desk that fits neatly into the corner of your living room, family room or breakfast nook.

A small desk can house your laptop when you’re able to sit normally and work and can also hold the household bills, scissors and whatever pens you can manage to hold onto with little grasping hands about. If your children are old enough, you can even make this small desk off-limits to any and all other family members giving you peace of mind in the midst of your other-wise crazy life.

Creative Office Solutions

Some moms have gotten creative, especially in small spaces. If a small stationary desk won’t work for you – perhaps your computer is too large or you need more room to work, consider finding a creative solution. One increasingly popular option is to transition a shallow closet into an office. Simply remove the sliding doors and replace with bifold doors. Hang inexpensive shelving from a home-improvement store and you have an office that is easily hidden away when company appears.

Another option is to use the formal dining room as an office. Many families with young children make this room a playroom as it’s rarely used as a dining room at this stage of life anyhow. But if you have a large table already in your dining room, simply push it against a wall and settle in with that as your desk. It might even feel like an office…until you turn around to see the colorful bins of toys and inevitable mess that follows your children wherever they go.

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Rebecca is a full-time everything. She teaches English and reading to her much loved, if challenging, high school students during the day and is a freelance education writer in the evenings. With almost ten years in the classroom and advanced degrees in business and information science, Rebecca specializes in materials that inform, educate and entertain. Rebecca indulges herself by pretending to have spare time and writing about the ups and downs of being a freelancing mama whenever she gets a chance.

3 thoughts on “Carving Out a Real WAHM Work Space”

  1. Hi Rebecca,

    It is all location. My office is like a church. The silent environment allows me to concentrate. Simple and orderly to; a desk, chair, laptop, pen and pad. Physical clutter leads to mental clutter and vice versa.

    I also wake at 5AM to get the most work done before daily distractions ensue. It’s a little after noon and I’m wrapping up my day, just when most people are hitting the mid-day point of their daily activities.

  2. “It’s a little after noon and I’m wrapping up my day, just when most people are hitting the mid-day point of their daily activities.”

    That’s similar to how I work most of the time. Up at 4, working by 5, done around noon. Isn’t it the greatest feeling when noon rolls around and you know you’re finishing up? Nothing like it!

  3. Interesting to see other morning people. I always figured I was an outlier!

    As far as the desk space, I worked in our bedroom when I first went solo (1999), and it was pretty much a nightmare–annoying for my wife and too much ruckus for me, particularly when the kids were toddlers. After we added on a bedroom for our kids, I took a spare bedroom, and that was a major upgrade in peace and productivity. My two best purchases were a used Herman Miller Aeron chair (perfect for the Phoenix climate) and a antique drafting table that’s the size of an aircraft carrier deck.

    I wish I could be clutterless like you, Ryan, but it’s not in my genes.


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