How to Make the Most of Your Work-from-Home Mom Life
So I got a crazy idea while writing this post. It was supposed to be a post on how to keep toddlers occupied for more than 5 minutes while you tackle some to-do items, but I completely went off on a tangent. The result: my first post SERIES! Woohoo! I will be taking the next couple weeks to write a series of posts on the very heart of what this blog is about: How to Make Your Work-from-Home Mom Life ROCK.
Working From Home is NOT Easy
If you are already a work-from-home mom, you know. If you’re considering this path, let this be a fair warning…but read on to learn some tricks! I want you to be able to work AND be with your children, and not be stressed out 24/7. You should be able to enjoy your work-from-home mom life.
That is really the heart and soul of this blog, if you’re new here. I left the corporate world over 2 years ago (you can read my story HERE) to become a work-from-home mom, and it was TOUGH. I didn’t have a community at the time (or time to find a community, for that matter), so I went it alone.
I don’t want you to have to go this road alone. So I’m here to share all my tips and experiences, to help you learn from my mistakes, and to share my successes so you can follow suit. It takes a tough woman to be a work-from-home mom, but no one is tough enough to do it alone successfully. Let’s do it together instead! Want to join me? (Subscribe at the end of the post if so!)
What Makes Working from Home so Tough?
Well, besides spending time with our little ones, there are several things we still have to take care of. We have to work, cook meals (or at least throw sandwiches together), keep the house decently clean, take the kids to doctors appointments and play dates, and spend time with our husbands. It’s tough trying to juggle all of that.
If you sit down and make a to-do list for each and every day, you will probably become overwhelmed and give up, or run yourself ragged trying to do everything at once. But, having no organization at all will also end in disaster, on the other side of the spectrum – with nothing getting accomplished.
So where is the happy medium? How do we get things done without overwhelming ourselves? How can we be workers and mothers at the same time, in the same place? And how on earth can we get dinner cooked, and laundry done, for that matter?!
How can we make the most of our work-from-home mom lives?
Schedules are a MUST
If you expect to get ANYTHING done as a work-from-home mom, you NEED to have a schedule. Period. Don’t shut me out yet though! You don’t have to write down your entire day in 15 minute increments or anything, but you do need to have SOME type of a schedule.
Here are some tips on how to go about starting a schedule:
1) Prioritize Your Day
What are the things that are non-negotiable during the week?
Wake, sleep, and nap times are a good starting point. These typically occur at the same times (or near the same time) each day, so put these on your schedule first. (If these are not already at set times, that’s a whole separate issue to tackle, and it needs to be priority before you can even get a schedule in place.)
You probably have a somewhat “set” dinner time, and a nighttime routine. These belong in the essentials category in my book, so I’m mentioning them here. Go ahead and add these to your schedule too.
Are there other things during your week that are non-negotiable? Weekly meetings or play dates? An activity outside the home? Say you take your little ones to toddler story time at 10:30 on Tuesdays, or your older kids get out of school at 3:00. Pencil in a block of time for any other regular activities you have each week that you consider non-negotiable.
This is the skeleton for your schedule – you’ve got the essentials, and now it’s time to fill in the blanks.
2) Make Time for Work and To-Do Lists
Now that the non-negotiable items are set in their appropriate places, you can begin to add in blocks of time for other activities to your schedule.
When are you most productive? Mornings or evenings? After the kids are in bed? After lunch? Whenever your most productive time is, block off some work time in your schedule. You don’t want to be forced to work during a little left-over block of time when you are not productive, so make sure this comes right after the non-negotiable items.
After you set aside time to get your work done during your most productive hours, mark a short block or two of time to get other tasks done, such as chores or items from your to-do list. Make sure you space these out from your work block(s) though, so your kids are getting plenty of attention and love!
3) Fill in the Free Time
Any blocks that are left open at this point are “free time.” This is generally time that we just spend with our family, playing, learning, and growing together. But if you plan things ahead, you and your little ones will get a lot more from it.
For example, we have blocks of free time in the mornings and afternoons, but we do different things at different times. first thing in the morning, we spend time reading books together and playing with special toy bins in my home office. The free time before naps is spent indoors, doing sensory play and sometimes watching a bit of TV. In the afternoon, our free time is spent outside, whether at a park or exploring in our back yard.
The schedule is flipped during the summer months, to avoid the heat of the day…but right now we are busy avoiding the cold dew of the morning!
If you plan ahead, instead of just letting your day happen by itself, you will enjoy the weeks a lot more, and feel more productive.
4) Adjust YOUR Schedule
Did you try to fit everything into your schedule, but there just weren’t enough hours? Well, maybe some things need to go. And perhaps, you just need to do some schedule adjustments on your own.
If you stay up late watching TV, or sleep in every day (at least until the kids wake you up!), you probably need to do some adjusting. Or, if you spend tons of time on social media or doing menial activities, you may need to cut back on these time-suckers!
How do You Spend Your Mornings?
*This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may get a small commission from any purchases you make from them, at no additional cost to you. Thanks for helping another mom like you!
I am a firm believer in waking up before your kids do. It’s an absolute necessity if I plan on getting ANYTHING accomplished each day. I really struggled with this, as I have NEVER been a morning person.
It didn’t help that I spent 8 years working third shift before the kids came along. That made mornings even more difficult for me to conquer, but I did it, and so can you! Hey, if I can wake up and get something accomplished in the morning, ANYONE can!
You may need a little help though, like I did. I took this amazing (and very reasonably priced!) e-course to help me completely make over my mornings, and it has seriously changed my life dramatically. And I will admit: I read many reviews, rolled my eyes and cringed as I clicked “buy now,” because I didn’t expect anything to help ME…but this course did.
If you struggle with mornings as I did, check out the course. You won’t regret it – but don’t just take my word for it! It also comes with an eBook and accompanying printable worksheets – score!
And keep in mind that the first step to taking charge of your mornings is getting a grip on your evenings! Which leads us to the next point…
How do You Spend Your Evenings?
We all need a chance to unwind, right? For some of us, it’s sitting down with a cup of (fresh, hot…not reheated 12 times) coffee and reading a book. For others, it’s watching a movie, or snuggling with your husband on the couch, doing crafts, or scrolling through Pinterest.
Whatever you do to unwind in the evenings, that’s great – mark it on your schedule. BUT…don’t let it sweep you away! There is a fine line between winding down and getting carried away with our relaxing activities until they cut into our sleep time.
Don’t fall into that trap.
Allow yourself a block of time to unwind, but then know when it’s time to turn off the phone, put the book down, tell your hubby you’ve had enough (in the most loving and gentle way, of course!), and get to bed.
If you struggle with wasting your evenings, check out this course by Crystal Paine. Getting your evenings under control will help tremendously with getting your mornings started on the right foot.
Being a work-from-home mom requires a good night’s sleep and an early start to the day!
Yes – weeding out non-essentials. Oh, but I know how much you love that underwater basket weaving course on Wednesday nights! But let’s be honest: is it REALLY necessary? Is it improving your life? Is it worth not getting other things done?
Now I’m not saying that you should drop everything besides work and home. Not at all. But I know way too many people who try to do way too many things. Choose one or two activities that you really enjoy, and that add value to your life without breaking your bank, and get rid of the rest.
This includes spending 3 hours on Facebook, ladies. Come on. I know you have to post your latest blog and business updates, and check in with a few important people, but you really don’t need to spend hours seeing what all 347 of your “friends” did last weekend. That doesn’t add value to anyone’s life – it just wastes time.
Try to let go of the things that don’t really make your life more fulfilling, and this will free up a lot of time in your schedule.
You’ve Tackled the Hardest Part
Actually creating a schedule to follow is the hardest part. Once you have a schedule in place, you will be amazed at the difference it makes in your everyday life, as you begin to follow it. You will be happier, your kids will be happier, and your husband will be shocked…I mean, happier! 😉
I hope you found this helpful. Stay tuned for more articles in this How to ROCK Your Work-from-Home Mom Life series! I will be going more in-depth on how to create a schedule that works for you, self-care for Mom, and activities that you and your kids will enjoy together.
Subscribe to get updates on this series as they come, and find out more ways to make the most of your work-from-home mom life!