Are you a work at home mom who feels like it’s a constant struggle balancing work, life, and time with your kids and spouse? I’m here to tell you I have so many days like this… I’ve been working at home since before my children were born, so getting adjusted to life working at home with one, and then two kids has been an adventure. It is ever evolving http://www.digitalincomemom.com/graphics-for-blog-business/as we find new and better strategies to make things work and get through the days, but along the way I’ve learned quite a few things and so I have some tips to share if you are feeling like this or feeling like something, anything has got to change.
My mission for working at home while having 2 kids with me all day (a three year old and a four month old) is to not stress, not get overwhelmed, give myself room to breathe, attend to my kiddos needs, and still have a productive day. Here are a few ways I try to accomplish that-
- I try to get up early– this may not necessarily be BEFORE my kids, but I do try to get up early and get a jump on the day. Often, I will start work BEFORE I have breakfast or coffee just to get something done- you know, eating that frog.
- I get MOST of my work done in the mornings. My husband is here until about 9:30 in the mornings, so I know during that time I’ll have some help, but if for some reason that doesn’t happen, it’s no big deal- because I have a plan. I do try to do my “work hours” early though just because everyone seems to be happier in the morning… afternoons are when everyone gets crabby and things start to spiral!
- I really try to stick to my work hours and separate work and family time. Usually for me, this means working from 7-2 or 3 (with frequent breaks for the kiddos) and then focusing on them and our home (cleaning, cooking dinner, etc…) in the afternoons and evenings. After the kiddos go to bed (they both sleep pretty well- I know I am so lucky for this, it has taken lots of sleep training) usually around 7 or 8, I have a couple of hours that I can spend with my husband, getting in some time to work out (not often, honestly) but I make sure to shower, take care of myself, and relax and get prepared to start it all over the next day.
- When I am working in the mornings, I structure my day into small segments. I’m doing my best to get everyone on a routine so that the kiddos know what to expect and their day has some structure. I mainly schedule things around the baby’s eating schedule. He eats about every 3 1/2 hours, so once he’s fed I know he can play and be okay for a good amount of time after that. About ever 2-3 hours I take a break and I make sure the toddler has a snack, the baby is fed, I am fed or get something to drink, I use the bathroom, etc… I get everyone squared away so I can get started on the next block of time with as few interruptions as possible.
- Keep baby occupied- this one is key! Here’s what I do… I have my living room set up into sections for him- he’s got his swing (where he’s usually napping right now), his jumperoo, and his piano play mat. I cycle him through these to keep him from getting bored. He’s usually right beside me while I’m working when he’s in the jumper or play mat so I make sure to talk to him every so often and he loves it. He will even sit in his high chair for short periods of time when I am working in the kitchen. It helps so much that our floor plan of our home is so open that I’m really only a few feet away whether I’m in the living room or kitchen.
- I keep the toddler busy with activities… I try to save electronics time (yes, my toddler probably gets more than he should), but I save it for when baby is napping. This helps make sure that he gets good naps and everyone is occupied. The baby naps for short periods so this works well for us. When I’m working at the kitchen table, the toddler can sit and color, do watercolor paints, or play playdough. We have a cabinet off of our dining room that is just for his stuff to do at the table. He also likes to go outside when it’s warm (the kitchen is right off our backyard so I can see and hear him), and sometimes he will keep himself busy for a little while playing with toys in his room. It helps a lot to cycle him through different activities and give him a variety as well.
- Okay, so now you’ve got some strategies to deal with the kiddos and manage them while you work- the important part is to work! I try to batch tasks (such as photo taking, writing blog posts, restocking items for my shop, etc…) so that I get more done than I would if I was trying to do a million little tasks each day.
I usually wake up in the mornings and fill orders before I even have breakfast. This takes about an hour or so, and then I can eat and have my coffee before I start on the next thing. After that I’ll write a blog post and promote that.. this takes a few hours, so it gets broken up over a few of those time segments where I’m keeping the kiddos occupied. I make the MOST of nap time and try to tend to my shop and do some of those maintenance things… work on SEO, beef up listings, apply for sponsored blog posts, pin some things through tailwind, etc… it can be so tempting to stop and rest or watch TV when I get the kids down for a nap (usually around 12:00) but if I power through that last couple of hours I can really wrap things up for the day and feel more relaxed when I take the rest of the day “off” to hang with my kiddos and things like that.
So, of course with this strategy there is no way my to do list is all crossed off. To be honest, my to do list is never ending… I could literally work 24/7 and still have things I need to do, but this gets the major things done and keeps business chugging along. I recommend keeping a main, running to do list of all of the tasks you’d like to accomplish so that whenever you find little pockets of time you can get these things done and crossed off. I also tend to work 2-3 evenings during the week, especially when I have to restock shop items, etc…
Okay, so I hope that this post has been helpful and that maybe you have found a few tidbits you can take and apply to your life… just remember as a work at home mom, it can be easy to let life take over and to feel like we’re in a whirlwind of work and angry babies (maybe that’s just me?) but I think it is so important to be flexible, give yourself some grace, and just breathe.
Have anything to add? Tell us in the comments!