I am fairly new to being a work at home mom, but after about 6 months, I feel like I am finally getting the hang of it…..most days. I will admit, it hasn’t been exactly what I expected. Does that mean it hasn’t been great? Definitely not, but it has been a lot harder than I expected. Splitting my time between work, my kids, and my to – do list, means that something often gets neglected (spoiler alert, its usually my laundry). It has been a good amount of trial and error, but this is my guide to surviving as a work at home mom.
Set A Schedule
The first big mistake I made was thinking that I would just work in the quiet or slow moments of the day. Ha! The joke was definitely on me. There have also been days that I was so wrapped up in getting work done, that nothing else got done. It can be hard to turn off once you get in work mode. So set aside a certain time to work, to play, to tackle chores. For me, working in the morning and after bedtime has been the solution. That way I know afternoons are free to schedule appointments, meet up with friends or whatever else we may need to do. One benefit of being a WAHM is that my schedule is totally flexible and I can adjust as needed. But the one thing that doesn’t change is setting specific time blocks for work.
Give Yourself Space
Having a dedicated workspace has been crucial for me! Similar to setting aside time, it gives me a place to “leave” work. I don’t have an office, but I do have a little corner in my room. I have filled it with things that motivate and make me excited to reach my goals. Do I always work here? No, sometimes I sit on the couch or answer emails on the go, but knowing I have a space helps me keep balance.
Make Activities Accessible
I have learned that having activities that my kids can do, where they can easily get to them, while I am working makes a huge difference. This will vary depending on the ages of your children, of course. We have coloring books, stickers, paper, play-doh, board games, and books available and my kids know they can grab those things and use them as they want. Of course, there are other activities I may set up for them, but having a few that are at there level is helpful in a couple of ways. One, it limits interruptions for me – I want to add that I am never bothered to stop working, my kids are my number 1 priority – but when I can have a mostly quiet hour or two, it’s easier to limit my work to that block of time. Two, it gives my kids some independence and they feel empowered in the ability to select and set up their activity of choice.
This one is still really hard for me, and a work in progress. But there are days or moments when I just have to say No to work or to taking on extra work so that my kids have what they need from me. I am lucky to work for myself and have that flexibility, but sometimes that makes it harder to stop when I can technically work all day. Being attentive to my kid’s needs, and finding balance will be an ongoing learning experience, but saying no to things that overwhelm me is a good start.
Don’t Be Afraid of Childcare
Just because you work from home, doesn’t mean you can’t hire childcare. It is totally up to you how you go about it, but hiring a babysitter a few hours a week, or even every day can be a game-changer. I know other work at home parents who also take full advantage of day camps, childcare at their local gym, or something like a moms day out. If hiring childcare is not in your budget, it can still be beneficial to work away from the home or have your kids away from you for a few hours. My husband or my kid’s grandparents will often take them to the park or a movie or I will take an hour or two in the evening and work from Starbucks. Even a few hours a month can put me ahead, which makes this balancing act a little bit easier.
Squash the Guilt.
I think this statement applies to all parents, no matter what your work situation is. Guilt will chew you up and spit you out, but you have the power. Choosing to work, as a parent, can be a really great way to show your kids they can do anything they want. And if it makes you feel good and empowered, then it only benefits your parenting. You’re going to find what works best for you, and it may not be what works best for me, or the next work at home parent. That doesn’t mean its wrong!
I have learned so much from the other work at home parents I have connected with, too! I am linking up with some of my favorite ladies, who are also sharing their work at home tips!