Working from home definitely has its perks. It gives you freedom to work around everyone else’s schedule, so you can earn an income while still taking care of your family and the home. However, there can also be obstacles when you are a work from home mom.
Occasionally, situations are less than ideal for working at home. For example, what happens when the kids are home from school, during the hours that are normally quiet and peaceful for you?
These tips will help you still be productive and successful, even if you are dealing with tricky situations that come up.
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Luckily, the summer holiday from school is one that most work at home moms can prepare for. The school calendar will tell you the start and end date, and you can plan accordingly. This may mean changing up your schedule in order to work around the kids’ wake times or planning more outings so you can then work when they are back home and napping or having quiet time.
Another option is to get the kids involved! Whether this means handing out around the house tasks, or small tasks that will help with your business, it teaches your kids life skills and takes a bit off your plate. Getting them involved can also build their curiosity and inspire them to build their own business or be excited to help you more with yours.
Consider hiring a mother’s helper to come in and supervise your kids a few hours each week so you can work without distraction. This can be an older teenage family member or someone in your neighborhood. Make sure you have a quiet place to get to when help is there, so you can make the most of this precious time.
When Kids are Sick
There are times when motherly duties will take precedence over your work. Having a sick child at home with you is one of those times. They will need more attention from you during the day, so prepare for your schedule to be a bit shaken up when this occurs.
Still, you should be able to fit in some work around the illness. Kids need rest when they are sick. Give them lots of love, make sure they are comfortable, and let them nap or watch TV from bed. Take their resting time to catch up on emails and complete your most important tasks of the day.
If you have a laptop, you can work right beside them, too. As long as you are flexible and manage your time well, you may still be able to knock out your to-do list even while caring for your kiddo.
Snow days or times when the weather is just too bad for the kids to be in school are the really fun ones for work at home moms. You will likely have some rambunctious kids on your hands, since they are cooped up in the house because of the weather. However, there are still ways you can make the day count.
The flexibility you get as a work at home mom really comes into play on unexpected days such as these. You may have to juggle your responsibilities around, or just reschedule those that can wait. Let the kids play some active games or put on some exercise YouTube videos for them in the morning. That way, you can then get some quiet time with them reading or napping in the afternoon.
One trick that has worked well for me is keeping boxes of toys stored away for snow days or other times when I need the kids to keep busy while I'm working. Having some fun toys tucked away for these occasions means they're “new” each time they come out.
Learn to Say “No”
Not everyone understands that work at home moms still have responsibilities and work that must be done. They may think since you are home, you can watch their children on school holidays or expect that you’ll always be free for an impromptu lunch or a quick shopping trip. Giving into these expectations only sets you up to miss deadlines and not get your tasks completed when you need to.
Having the self-discipline to say “no” to these requests will benefit you. Not only will you be able to get your work completed, you won’t feel overwhelmed. If you do wish to have lunch with a friend or family member, work it into your schedule in advance. Moms need some downtime too!
Sit your loved ones and friends down and explain the situation. Tell them the hours you typically work. Express you will be unavailable during these times except for an emergency. Most of your supporters will understand, and be happy to reschedule for a time you aren’t caught up in work. If you treat working from home like a “real job,” your family and friends are more likely to understand your boundaries and respect it as a real job.
Flexibility is mentioned a lot, but it really is the name of the game for work at home moms. Being self-employed gives you the freedom to work when you want, which allows for unexpected situations to be handled without as much chaos. A lot of the time, that’s your reason for working at home, too! Just be sure you are taking into account that things happen.
Being understanding with yourself and the unexpected things that happen in life helps a great deal when situations out of your control arise. Be gentle with yourself, and remember that you do have tomorrow. Try not to stress yourself out or burn yourself out by trying to do it all at once.
Another important note to add is that you matter, too. Factor in rest time and self-care time. Besure to take days off when you need them and take some of those last minute invites to breakfast with the gal pals. Keep your list of priorities in check, and don’t constantly push your stuff to the side to help and care for others. It’s all about balance.
As a work from home mom, you'll definitely have some curveballs to deal with when it comes to schedules and making sure everyone is taken care of. There will be times that take your focus away from your to do list. Some of these events can be planned for, like school holidays, while others will spring up and test your flexibility and juggling skills. What’s your best tip for work at home moms? Let us know in the comments below!