[A]s a new single parent, you face unexpected obstacles and changes to your life. Personal relationships could suffer, even if you have won custody of your children. You may have to downsize your lifestyle. You’ll make new friends, and likely travel in different social circles.

In an attempt to put your former life behind you, you also might look at a new career, one that allows you to work from home. Advantages are obvious. You eliminate commuter time, and you can spend time with your children.

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And while working from home sounds great, if you don’t understand and confront the downsides, you could find yourself in an unexpectedly disastrous situation.

Ask Yourself, Is Working at Home Right for You?

Know your qualifications. Make a list of your unique skills and talents. For example, if you’re looking into companies that “homesource” their customer service representatives (that is, they hire individuals who can do the job out of their homes), then having a smooth, pleasant, and clear phone voice is essential.
Know what you are looking for. What interests you? What are your scheduling and income needs? In a perfect world, what would your ideal home-based job look like? In what fields have you worked? Playing off that could give you a head start with professional connections.
Make sure you have the discipline to really work at home. Working at home sounds glamorous but it can be harder than you think. Some of us need to go to another office in order to stay in routine or stay on task. Is working at home right for you?
Have realistic expectations. It might take you months and years of working with a legitimate organization reach the point where you’re earning the equivalent of full-time work.
Realize that you may still need child care. Working from home while taking care of your kids can prove unexpectedly demanding. You may need to hire sitters for at least part of the hours you’ll be working from home.
Be honest about your capabilities. Don’t sign up for a work from home job that requires computer skills you don’t have, or one that demands a quiet, peaceful atmosphere in the background if your kids will be present during your work hours.
Avoid jobs that require extensive, unpaid training. In general, stay away from “opportunities” that would require additional credentials or unrealistic amounts of unpaid training time.
Avoid jobs that require you to spend money in order to apply. A legitimate work-from-home company will not ask you to pay money up front for training or application processing. This is a sure sign of a scam.

Working from home can prove an invaluable situation for the new single parent, especially if small children are involved, and it won’t work for everyone. As a software designer, it worked for me. It made a tremendous difference in gaining full custody. But work-at-home success requires planning, the right skills, temperament, and the appropriate job.

But if it works, it can not only greatly simplify your life, but give you a more rewarding one.

Do you work at home? What are the pros and cons you have seen from it?

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