I am rapidly approaching year 11 of being a work from home mom.
Overall, it has been an awesome blend of being home with my kids as they grow up, while still being able to do what I love as a career.
I have the flexibility to make my own work schedule and also drop off and pick up kids at school. I can attend their events at school during the day and bring them to appointments, without having to worry about taking time off from a job.
Don’t get me wrong, being a work from home mom comes with plenty of struggles, learning experiences, and odd hours, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.
Here are some of the tips I have learned over the years as a work-from-home parent.
Tips for Work at Home Parents
1. Have a Schedule
I make semi-scheduled days for our kids. Taking time to schedule the meaningful things throughout the day: mealtimes, limited times for screens (which allows time for me to get work done), outside time, time apart from each other (to read, draw, hang out by themselves, not drive each other crazy), and then time together as a family.
I find time to work during the quiet times, squeezing minutes in here and there throughout the day. And I almost always get some work done after they go to bed at night. With a semi-scheduled day in place, it allows me to prepare the best times to accomplish my own work tasks.
Day-to-day life with children is unpredictable but I try to do my best, alongside the chaos, to provide a semi-scheduled day.
2. Be Mobile
Also, I am able to use a laptop so I can be mobile. During the day I end up working upstairs, downstairs, in bedrooms, or even outside.
You have to be pretty creative when to get the work done with kids surrounding you. And my kids have learned to be flexible because of my schedule. They know when I need to get work done and are helpful (for the most part) when they know I have deadlines to meet.
3. Be Organized
Being organized is very important when balancing kids and work. On Sundays, I make note of all of the activities the kids have that week, what meals I will make each night, and what deadlines I have for my business.
Communication with my spouse is also very important. We make sure we are both aware of events for the upcoming week, who will be in charge of transportation, appointments, and other activities.
And making lists are essential for our family. I handwrite everything along with plugging it into my phone, which helps me remember things better. I have a list for things involving the kids, my work to-do list, and a household chore list. In addition, I also have a list of all those extra things that need to get done throughout the week.
Plan Out Snacks & Meals
How many times do your kids ask you for food when home all day?! Here is a fantastic tip from Dr. Karla Wolford with EHP Performance about giving kids healthy options and some control in their snacking. When I can find the extra time, I make homemade snacks as well but obviously with time constraints it is important to just have other healthy snacks on hand like fruits, nuts, yogurt, etc. As mentioned, I plan our evening menus at the beginning of each week and purchase all the ingredients for each recipe. This saves time for grocery visits and planning each day.
4. Take Time for Yourself
TRY to make time for yourself — even if it is just five minutes. I am very lucky to have a supportive husband who is willing to take on the chaos for awhile. I make it a priority to get outside and walk for 15-30 minutes each day by myself, which gives me time to think and recharge.
Whenever possible I try to squeeze in a workout, whether it is hauling the kiddos to the gym with me or doing an at home work out in the basement. Exercise has always been my saving grace mentally.
I also try to find some time to do daily faith exercises: watching a video, reading the Bible, sitting in quiet and writing prayers in a journal, or reading the daily readings. So, find the things that helps you clear your mind — exercise, cooking, prayer, favorite TV show, reading, or maybe just a glass of wine in the bathtub!
5. Make Family Time a Priority
If being a work from home mom has taught me one thing, it is that I need more peaceful time with my family.
Our lives are so busy! We have so many baseball games, school events, birthday parties, etc. And we are always being pulled in every direction, on top of managing to have a career and maintaining our home from day to day.
It is important for me to take time to talk to my kids, help them with school work, be silly and do fun things together, and to snuggle up and give big hugs. Some days it can be hard to peel away from my work, but I never regret it when I do.