The Work-at-Home Dad: Finding Balance – By Daniel M. Clark

by Shawn Collins on May 19, 2010

I’ve spoken with a lot of people about their work situations at events like Affiliate Summit, in forums and on blogs. In my informal polling, the number of people in our industry that work at home far exceeds any other industry I’ve ever worked in.

Many of us have kids of various ages, which can make for some interesting work days.

Working at home when kids are around can be a challenge. If the kids aren’t of school age, they’ll certainly want your attention during the day, and finding a balance between work and family is paramount to a healthy, stable life.

I’ve worked at home and been the primary caregiver (we never utilized day care) for over four years, and these are a few of my suggestions.

1. Blow off work
We generally like to brag about how our sites make us money while we’re sleeping, right? If your sites are giving you an extra six to eight hours of income, take advantage of it! Spend an extra half hour having lunch with the kids. Leave your home office at 3 or 4, instead of 5 or 6. You’ll still come out ahead with a few hours of extra “sleep time” income.

2. Make your living room your office
Who says you have to work in your home office? My home office currently has my son’s crib, his changing table and 15 boxes of comic books in it. The corner desk has no chair, and the monitor has no computer attached to it. My printer is in there, wirelessly networked to my laptop, which resides on my living room coffee table. My office isn’t my office; my living room is my office. I get work done and get to hang out with the kids.

3. Let the kids interrupt you occasionally
The work I do allows me the freedom to be interrupted—something regular listeners of my podcast can readily attest to. Never has my business suffered due to an interruption by the kids. Welcome it! They can be a great stress reliever during a rough day.

4. Make the kids part of your work
Depending on the kind of work you do, this might not be possible for you, but I know several affiliates that incorporate their kids into their business efforts. Kids are great at offering unfiltered feedback and coming up with ideas; they’re great at jumpstarting your creative juices, too.

5. Don’t forget your spouse
Make time to spend with your spouse without the kids. This is often easier said than done, but it’s vital to a healthy relationship.

I’ll occasionally read something on Twitter, usually from someone that likes to post “motivational poster” one-liners, to prove that they’re not wasting time watching TV. They’ll say that that they’re “a winner” because they’re “killing it” by cutting out all the so-called fluff in their lives.

If you’re not working to have time for fun with your family and friends—yes, even occasionally watching TV—what are you working for?

Daniel M. Clark is a blogger ( and one half of the Geek Dads Weekly podcast (, a show aimed at dads dedicated to raising kids in a digital age.

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