HOW TO SURVIVE AS A WORK FROM HOME MUM

Working from home sounds perect but you have to be so focused, especially when you have to work around the kids. Here's how to survive as a work from home mum

Running a business or working from home is an amazing opportunity, I love my job as a cake decorator & I love that I can run my business from home. But…

I really have to work hard to balance my professional responsibilities with family responsibilities. Archie is at home with me three days a week and has a special needs place at nursery two days a week, I really need to balance my work commitments with his needs and the needs of my almost 14 year old. Given, the teenager is pretty self sufficient but there’s still the housework, the cooking, the cleaning, school uniforms etc etc, you get the jist!

Some weeks I can end up working pretty long hours, this week I have five cake orders so with Archie at nursery 15 hours that doesn’t give me anywhere near enough time I need to finish all my orders so I have to get focussed & organised. So here’s my tips on how to survive as a work from home mum.

1. PLAN YOUR TIME

For me this means working out exactly what needs to be done that week and deciding when I can get each task done & sticking to it. For example, baking is something I can do during the day when Archie is home. I’ll plan a kitchen activity for Archie that will keep him occupied whilst I get my bake on. This is usually drawing or painting as I can sit him in the high chair with his activity & chat & play with him whilst I’ve got my mixer on. As soon as I have some cakes in the oven we can move onto another activity, playing in the garden or living room etc. I can then pop back into the kitchen to check on my cakes without it affecting Archie.

This then means that whilst the cakes are cooling during the day, I can start covering them with buttercream & fondant as soon as Archie has gone to bed. By the time Wednesday & Thursday comes around and Archie is at nursery I can then start to do the detailed decorating where I really need to sit working solidly for a few hours.

2. DON’T EXPECT TOO MUCH OF YOURSELF

This is something I’ve really had to work on. I seem to think I’m Superwoman and that everything should be perfect all the time. I’ve had to realise that if I’ve got a particularly busy week with work then something’s got to give, I can’t do everything. The laundry may have to stack up that week or we might have to have a ‘freezer surprise’ for tea a couple of nights instead of a proper home cooked meal. But this means I still get my work done without affecting Archie and the time I need to spend with him to continue working on his progress with his Autism.

3. CALL IN THE REINFORCEMENTS

This doesn’t happen very often as we live about 60 miles away from my family and the hubby’s parents both work but sometimes I need to ask for help with childcare so I can catch up with work. This is something else that has taken me a long time to build up to. It’s not that I don’t like to ask for help, I don’t but I will if I have to, it’s just that most of the time it just doesn’t occur to me to ask for help. I’ve always been very independent, I left home at 16, was a single mum at 19 and spent six years at college & Uni so I’m very much a ‘do it myself’ kind of person. But I’m getting better at asking for help when I need it.

Working from home sounds perect but you have to be so focused, especially when you have to work around the kids. Here's how to survive as a work from home mum

4. SWITCH OFF AT LEAST 30 MINUTES BEFORE BED

I know this should be longer but I just don’t have the time, especially as in my business there’s no changing deadlines or getting extensions. Cakes have to be ready for collection or delivery at a certain time on a certain day, but I try to give myself at least 30 mins to sit down before going to bed otherwise I just lie in bed not being able to switch off which just makes me much less productive the next day.

5. IF YOU FEEL YOURSELF GETTING FRUSTRATED, WALK AWAY FROM WORK.

This is one I’ve had to learn the hard way. Let’s face it, sometimes I am being pulled two different directions by a work issue that needs my attention and a toddler that needs my attention. I’ve learned that if it’s at all possible, to go to the park, out for a walk or put together that train track instead. I’m not helping anyone when I’m getting stressed out & frustrated and it definitely doesn’t help me get my work done, I’ll just come back to it as soon as I can.

All in all, the challenges of working from home as a parent are worth it to me as I am to be able to stay at home and pursue a career, the boundaries of home & work are well and truly blurred but that’s why it works for me. I think I’ve finally figured out how to survive as a work from home mum, I just have to keep putting my own advice into practice!

What about you? What are your tips for working from home with kids?

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65 Comments

  1. April 30, 2015 / 12:56 pm

    My tip is to try to be one step ahead with work and meals if you can because you just never know what your day will be like when you are looking after children at home. I try to be ahead of my deadlines just incase my daughter decides to be clingy one day and I can’t get much work done.

    I also get migraines a few times a month that means I can’t work much either on those days so they are another reason for me to try to be prepared. As much as I can!

    It’s hard work!
    A Mum Reviews recently posted…ALDI’s Mamia Baby Wipes Review – Fragranced and SensitiveMy Profile

  2. April 30, 2015 / 1:07 pm

    you have some great tips here. I need to stop a half hour before bed too. This past month my mind has been racing with blogging thoughts, it can be hard to sleep. x

  3. April 30, 2015 / 2:22 pm

    What brilliant advice. Love that you have summarised down to the really key points.

    Having once worked from home (we have now moved to a studio) your points 2 & 4 about not expecting to achieve everything and switching off before sleeping really resonated. Both are so important!
    Parul recently posted…The radiant Julia Bradbury wears OAK on the cover of Hello MagazineMy Profile

  4. April 30, 2015 / 2:39 pm

    Great post. I often struggle to ask for help too. It just never occurs to me either! I should do it though.

    I’m not a stay at home parent however I do find trying to get things organised at night when the kids are in bed easiest I.e. all the school stuff ready for the next day. Doesn’t always work out that way though haha!
    The Breastest News recently posted…Review: AirMotion Pro HairbrushMy Profile

  5. April 30, 2015 / 2:50 pm

    I’ve been doing more and more work at home, trying to set up a business with an 8 month old. That and trying to get 3 blog posts out per week has been challenging so this is some good advice. Thank you 🙂 #brilliantblogpost
    K @ Eat.Love.Live recently posted…Review: The Grove – Sequoia SpaMy Profile

    • April 30, 2015 / 3:51 pm

      I set in business when I pregnant with Archie, I feel your pain! It’ll be worth though when they are at school and we have established businesses we can work on. Good luck!! 🙂 x
      gymbunnymum recently posted…Recipe | Homemade Gluten Free PizzaMy Profile

  6. May 1, 2015 / 4:07 am

    I so struggle with #4!
    I also have just come to terms with realizing that there will ALWAYS be a new skill, or a new task that will take my business to the next level, a new challenge or change, etc, and that I just need to be okay with what I’m doing in the moment and not constantly feeling ten steps behind and racing to catch up!
    Jennifer Tammy recently posted…7 Ways to Learn & Play with StrawsMy Profile

  7. May 1, 2015 / 8:00 am

    Really great tips hun, I’m just at the start of my working from home life and it is difficult, especially because if you’re working within the main home (not in an office or separate area) all you see are the things that need doing re housework!xx #TheList
    Hannah Budding Smiles recently posted…My Top 10… Blogging TipsMy Profile

  8. May 1, 2015 / 8:14 am

    Great post and great tips! I definetely need to lean to switch off before I go to bed!! It really does help so much if you do! #thelist
    MOMM recently posted…Happy One Year of Motherhood to Me!My Profile

  9. May 2, 2015 / 1:11 pm

    Definitely some things I need to take on board. It’s so easy to get tangled up with all the things you need to do but could do with stepping away from the situation.

  10. May 3, 2015 / 11:08 am

    Its hard being a work at home mom as one myself I do find it hard to get the house work all done, healthy meals cooked, kids taken care of and all my work done every single day. I think my sleep is lacking just to fit it all in and I don’t think I have ever worked so hard in my life. But I also think its amazing to be able to be home with the kids and work from home and I wouldn’t ever take it for granted what I do now. It’s a catch22 sometimes but in the end very rewarding. great tips hun. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme
    Jenny @ Let’s Talk Mommy recently posted…Interiors // Copper Home AccessoriesMy Profile

  11. May 4, 2015 / 2:13 pm

    This is such a fantastic post, I definitely need to organise my time better! Bookmarking to look back on! #maternitymondays
    Kate @ Family Fever recently posted…Bump watch: 32 weeksMy Profile

  12. K's Mum
    May 4, 2015 / 3:04 pm

    Basically, prioritize, time management, discipline and knowing when to ask for help. This is a very good read. I only have a 1 year old toddler and yet I still feel like I am not able to do anything most of the time. I definitely have to work on this harder. 🙂 #mummymonday

  13. May 4, 2015 / 3:49 pm

    Some great tips, toddlers can be incredibly demanding of your attention at times can’t they!

    Helen – #maternitymondays #mummymonday
    Helen Gandy recently posted…Elarna – Birth & Beyond UpdateMy Profile

  14. May 4, 2015 / 9:06 pm

    what a fab list. I will def be printing that out. you sound very organised. I still need to sort our desk out. Great post #MaternityMondays
    farmerswifeandmummy recently posted…#MaternityMondays Week 18My Profile

  15. May 4, 2015 / 9:34 pm

    Thanks for the advice. I’ve just decided to get back into work after 3 years at home on a career break. Problem is – I’m not sure what I would like to go back to work as- should I retrain? Look for something with the skills I have? Anyway, when it hopefully all comes together f or me, I’ll remember your advice! #mummymonday
    Raising Mighty Girls recently posted…Loving The Summer Clothes at #HeatonsKidsMy Profile

  16. May 4, 2015 / 10:43 pm

    Wow. I just wanted to say you are amazing for doing what you do. I haven’t worked from home before, as i still go into the office and am lucky to have help from my parents for childcare. I always admire parents who have to do everything themselves – it is hard work! Your tips sound great, if I had to work from home (which I probably will have to in the future), then I would definitely try to plan my time. #mummymonday
    Sabrina xx
    Sabrina (The Mummy Stylist) recently posted…My Top 8 Toddler Clothes at Zara – Summer 2015My Profile

    • May 5, 2015 / 7:18 pm

      I’ve had to learn the hard way there’s only so many balls you can juggle hence why I’ve had to really work hard to find a way that works for us x
      gymbunnymummy recently posted…Sunday Sweets Linky | 3rd May 2015My Profile

  17. May 5, 2015 / 9:10 am

    Great tips, I wish I could work from home, that sounds like a wonderful business you have – creative and prodcutive! #TwinklyTuesday
    Eimear recently posted…DIY Family Tree PrintMy Profile

  18. May 5, 2015 / 12:11 pm

    Great post. I find it’s the guilt about not playing with the kids which is hardest. I gave up a full time job to have my kids and have taken up blogging to give my mind something to do! But it always feels like something I’m not supposed to be doing! You’re right about planning time though; I’m pretty rubbish at that. #TwinklyTuesday
    linda hobbis recently posted…5 Life Lessons To Share With Your KidsMy Profile

  19. May 5, 2015 / 5:47 pm

    I am a work at home mum too, and I agree wholeheartedly with all your tips, especially the don’t expect too much of yourself bit!

    I would also add ‘Remember to see people’!!!

  20. May 6, 2015 / 5:32 pm

    Organisation is key. I’ve learned this the hard way, I’ve struggled for years and often become ‘blocked’ because of it. Since getting more organised things flow better. Great tips for work at home mums there, I don’t have reinforcements but that’s okay these days because my boys are both at school all day. Good luck with the cake decorating. Sounds like a yummy job! 😉
    Morgan Prince recently posted…Positive ChangesMy Profile

    • May 28, 2015 / 12:49 am

      Thanks so much. I’ve totally found that when I get overwhelmed I just need to get back to basics & plan & organise my week properly otherwise I end up doing lots but not actually achieving much! I’m sure once my youngest starts school it’ll get easier to manage too 🙂
      gymbunnymummy recently posted…5 Ways to Make a Small Bedroom Feel BigMy Profile

  21. hannah mum's days
    May 7, 2015 / 2:13 pm

    Dude, great post! I find myself getting frustrated regularly and always expect far too much of myself! I definitely need to get better at planning, I seem to flounder around quite a lot, which doesn’t help!

    Thanks for linking up to #TheList xx

  22. May 11, 2015 / 1:23 am

    So lovely you’re making working from home work for you. All fab tips that I could do with implementing. I especially need a more structued approach in the planning of time; and I need to learn to walk more away from blog work, and just be more accepting that I can’t do all I want to do as quickly as I’d like. Thanks for sharing 🙂 and for dropping by my site. #MaternityMondays

  23. May 13, 2015 / 11:21 pm

    Hi a great post and it’s good to hear how another mum does it. It’s a proper challenge! I’ve started keeping diaries. I have a main wall calender with every main appointment on it, plus a day diary with hours in it that I carry everywhere. I write everything I have to do in it including school drop offs etc. Then I have a desk book with a to-do list. Plus a calendar on my smartphone. It sounds absurdly ott but it’s helped my focus so much. It’s a system from Sheila Chandra’s declutter book.
    MummyWrites recently posted…The Gallery: AnimalsMy Profile

  24. June 26, 2015 / 6:06 pm

    I’ve just started working from home and sleep, despite being exhausted, is not coming easy some really good ideas espcially about stopping at least 30 minutes before bed. #thelist

  25. June 26, 2015 / 8:12 pm

    Excellent tips. Being realistic about what you can do in the time yiu have is mine. Then work out what has to be done and what can wait. #thelist
    Mrs Tubbs recently posted…Liebster Award. Passing It On.My Profile

  26. July 2, 2015 / 9:57 pm

    Gosh so many comments! I think many bloggers can relate to this – it’s me all over, only I”m only just realising how important it really is to get organised. I keep wanting more childcare, but actually I need to work smarter int he time I have so I can really enjoy the time I do have with R, rather than trying to surreptitiously check emails or something with him. What I can do when he’s around though is take images, etc for blog posts – a prime example is the castle trips! We’re on a day out and I take the odd snap – blog content done…it’s the writing up that’s the hard bit 😉

    Thanks for linking up to #TheList xx
    hannah mum’s days recently posted…Accountability and the #MDFitClub Buddy!My Profile

  27. July 18, 2015 / 10:13 pm

    Great post and this really resonates with me.

    I’m only at start up stage while on maternity leave but it could be a pretty intense business when I start it properly and the thing I’m scared of most is not giving enough time to my baby girls. My personal strategy is going to be that no matter what, I will pay someone else to help me with the business than try and do everything myself and I will take less money to pay myself.

    It’s not just my girls but my husband too, I don’t want to neglect our relationship by working every evening either! So will have to remember my own advice when the business kicks off and remember why I’m going to work from home.

  28. May 25, 2017 / 8:24 am

    Personal trainers work for their clients; journalists work for commissioning editorsj physiotherapists work for their patients.

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