Running a business or working from home is an amazing opportunity. It’s the ideal situation for many mums, and something a lot of busy mamas dream of. But…
It’s not as easy as it sounds. To be able to successfully work from home you have to be super committed & super organised. If you’re not then you’ll end up doing everything around the house & not your actual work.
You have to work hard to balance your professional responsibilities with family responsibilities.
My youngest, Archie, has autism & learning disabilities. Alongside that he just doesn’t sleep so I had to develop some serious skills to balance my work commitments with his needs, appointments, paperwork & assessments. Then there’s still the housework, the cooking, the cleaning, school uniforms etc etc, you get the jist!
Some people think it’s easy being self employed & being able to work from home. ‘You can work when you want to’, which is the case in some instances. But you have to remember that if you take time out to go to a school play or a paediatrician appointment then you still need to make that time up somewhere. If you don’t work you don’t get paid. Plus there’s always those deadlines you need to hit.
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. To Do lists can be so helpful, as can online calendars or physical calendars. Jot down any appointments, meetings or deadlines so you know where you stand time-wise.
Write down what needs to be achieved each day or by which specific day. For example, to be an organised blogger, I’ll use an editorial calendar & plan content around the time of year, if there’s any events such as Easter or Mother’s Day. I’ll ensure that I have set certain days for articles to be written & published.
I can then look at the calendar & see what photography I have to do in advance of writing each article. Plan outfits for my fashion posts or start testing skincare in advance of the publication date. Without my To Do list I think I’d end up forgetting so much & end up falling behind schedule.
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 you can still get your work done without it affecting your family time.
3. CALL IN THE REINFORCEMENTS
So many of us think we can do it all, all the time. But there’s no shame in calling in the reinforcements.
You might need to ask your partner to take the kids out for the day, or call in a babysitting favour if you’ve got a particular deadline to hit. Or maybe you need to meet a client & it’s mid afternoon. You can still be a fab mum even if someone else has to pick up the kids from school every now & then.
4. SWITCH OFF AT LEAST 30 MINUTES BEFORE BED
I know this should be longer but I just don’t have the time, especially if a deadline is looming. Things don’t always fall into line.
The kids might have been off school ill or you have hundreds of emails to get through. 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 child with a disability 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?