Practical Tips for Working From Home with Kids
This month marks four years since I started working from home. It’s hard to believe sometimes, because it was a scary leap to leave the corporate world. I quit my job when I was pregnant with my first son, and added a second one 14 months later. People are always asking me how to manage working from home with kids, and the short answer is: you just do it.
Of course there’s a longer answer too, and that includes being organized, scheduling my days, using some absolutely necessary products, keeping the kids occupied, and and staying motivated. Want to know my secrets? I thought so.
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Why I chose to Work from Home
There is no shame is sending your kids to daycare. That’s a common lifestyle in this day and age, but it’s definitely just not for me. And I’m guessing it’s not your ideal either, since you’re reading this. Chances are you would prefer to be working from home with your kids.
Before I had children, I watched the movie, The Help. Seeing the relationship between Aibileen and Mae Mobley sealed the deal for me. I just couldn’t imagine not knowing my own child, or having someone else practically raise them for me.
I’m not saying that every mother who sends their child to daycare, or hires a nanny, is like this. There are plenty of hard working mothers out there who strive to put their children first, and let them know that they are their world. I just didn’t think I could manage to uphold that kind of relationship in just a few hours each day, so I resolved to do whatever it would take to be home with my children, if I ever had any.
When I was pregnant with my first son, I began looking for work from home positions. I landed a job with Google, and started an eBay business in July of 2014. I worked these side hustles while still holding on to my corporate job until September, and then made the leap when my son was born. In August of 2016, I decided to jump on the blogging bandwagon, and it has been quite a ride.
So how do I manage to juggle working and being a mom at the same time? There was definitely a learning curve, but once I got into the groove, it became pretty natural. Here are some practical tips for working from home with kids.
1) Schedule Everything
No, you don’t have to write down a minute-by-minute schedule in order to stay on task. But at least block time throughout your day, so you know there’s enough time for everything that needs done. Keep a calendar in your kitchen and your home office, so you can keep up with appointments and such, and schedule work hours around them.
2) Wake Up Before Your Kids
Mind you, I have NEVER been a morning person. But here I am at 4:00 am, writing a blog post. If you don’t get up before your kids, and have your day planned out, the day will get away from you. Don’t let the day just happen to you – take charge of each day!
If you simply cannot see yourself waking up early, check out Making Over Your Mornings. It has been a total game changer!
You can also try these great tips for boosting energy and mood in the morning! 😉
Waking up before your kids gives you the opportunity to have some necessary “me time,” and get some stuff knocked out while there’s still peace and quiet. When you can focus for a block of time, you can really get a lot more done!
3) Spend Quality Time with Your Kids
This should be a given, but it’s easy to get lost in the mindset of, “Well, I’m around them all the time!” They still need focused attention…and they will be much happier when they get it. If you give your kids some special time in the mornings, they will start the day on a good note, and should be able to play independently for a while after that. This will give you more time to finish more tasks.
4) Split Up Your Work
This actually makes working from home a lot easier. If you try to knock out 6-8 hours of work in one fell swoop, you’re probably going to need to hire a part-time babysitter. But if you split up your work, and do it in blocks, you’ll be able to focus more during those blocks, and get more done.
I typically work for a couple hours before my kids wake up and after they go to sleep, during nap time (or quiet time), and 1-2 hours while they are awake. The breaks in between help me to focus on being Mama, and to refocus on work, without getting burned out.
5) Write Lists
Making little to-do lists each evening really helps to keep the next day in check. This way, you can be sure to schedule enough time for your tasks for the next day. You’ll also rest easier, because you won’t be laying awake for hours thinking about everything you need to get done tomorrow, and hoping you’ll remember!
6) Give Your Kids Opportunities for Independent Play
Schedule some blocks of time throughout the day when your child can play independently. You can set up work stations for them to rotate through, pop in an educational cartoon (We love this one!), or give them a special toy that they only get during that time.
Here are some more helpful ideas to entertain toddlers for a while so you can work!
7) Include Your Kids When Possible
If there are little tasks that you need to knock out, try to include your kids. If you’re taking photos for your blog, give them a small job to do, so they feel included. Let them help you with dinner, laundry, dusting, and other household chores that are age appropriate. Including them in your paid and unpaid work will make them feel important and help you to have less mom guilt. 😉
8) Give Yourself a Break
Working from home with kids can get tough. You have to take care of yourself too, or you will quickly get burned out. No, you don’t need to spend hours at the spa or schedule a weekly Mom’s night out. Just taking 15-20 minutes each day to yourself will make a world of difference.
If you’re drawing a blank, I’ve composed a list of self-care ideas for moms – go read it and find out which one you should try first!
Give it a Try
If you’re still wondering whether or not working from home with kids is right for you, just give it a try! There are plenty of different work from home opportunities available, even if blogging isn’t your gig. These tips should make it much more doable! Honestly, you won’t regret it. Being able to be with your children every day is such a rewarding experience!