Let me start by saying whether your a work outside of the house mom, a stay at home mom, or a work from home mom, it's all hard work! For me, working at home has been a great happy medium, allowing me to stay home with the boys, as well as feed my desire to work in other capacities and explore my entrepreneurial interests, and being able to contribute to our living expenses. With that said, like most everything in the parenting journey, it comes with it's set of challenges. My set-up isn't perfect; I've found myself putting calls on mute to break up a fight, hiding in the closet to to talk to a client, and certainly condoning more TV or movies that my pre-parent self could have imagined. It's a balancing act, and some days the lines are blurred more than others. Some days I feel like a bad worker with zero productivity, and other's I feel like a bad parent allowing a Curious George marathon. But for now, for us, it works. With constant tweaking, reevaluating, and deep breaths, it works.... Here are my top 10 tips (in no particular order):
1. Always remember that your work is not your life, it's just a small piece of the puzzle- it's easy to get overwhelmed and when you're working at home it's so easy for work to take over and creep in to your time with your family, but take a deep breath and keep your priorities in check
2. Create a work space- granted sometimes you'll find me down in the play room with my computer refereeing a hockey game, ideally I like to work in my office, as it helps keep the lines a little less blurred
3. Create a schedule- yes, the biggest perk of working at home is the flexibility, but I find that if I don't have a rough outline of what needs to get done, I get overwhelmed by the long to-do list, and I get off track with the day
4. Along the same lines, use a planner- When I started blogging I wondered why everyone was talking about their planner- now I know! Outlining each day and week and keeping everything including deadlines, work assignments, kids schedules all on one calendar is SO much easier! This is the one I have
5. Designate play/activity time with the kids- this time is SO important- designate time where you are 100% present (i.e. stash the phone away, and engage)
6. Remember that you CANNOT do it all- I know many of you come close and I am admiring you from a far, but we are not superwomen. Lower your standards just a bit, go easy on yourself, and do the best you can!
7. Recognize your limits and learn to say no- this was a big one for me! I have a really hard time saying no, especially to projects and people I believe in. But I've realized, when I take on too much the quality of my work suffers, and it puts a strain on everyone including my family
8. When it's no longer working, change it up- this happened to me last year when my baby was no longer a baby. I knew I either had to send him to school or cut back on my work, and in working through that, we found a good compromise
9. Hire a mother's helper- find a great neighborhood kid who is learning the ropes of babysitting and really loves to play with your kids. They'll be happy for the experience and the boost to their piggy bank (which will be a lot less for you than a regular sitter), and it's so helpful to have your little ones engaged in fun and games in the next room so you can get chores done, make dinner, finish a blog post..
1o. Get out of the house, and preferably get some exercise/you time- this is a hard one no matter what your situation, but when you are working at home, it can be quite a challenge to carve time to actually get out of the house, let alone do something for yourself. But this one is really important; it's going to keep you sane and smiling! Get fresh air, take a walk, go to the gym, find a way to make it happen. A sitter, a day care a the gym, maybe even just strap the kids in a stroller with snacks and get some air.
Are you a work from home mom/parent? I want to hear your tips for making it work!! Or maybe your funniest story (because it can be comical)... Thanks as always for stopping by!
I'm Rebecca, a Maine mom of three energetic young boys and wife of a lobsterman, living in my favorite place, the coast of Maine. You'll find me here talking about my parenting journey, mom style, recipes, running and exercise, travel, stories from our life in Maine and so much more! Most days I'm just figuring it out as I go - Thanks so much for stopping by!