6 Things That Make Being A Work at Home Mom Easier
We've all paid our dues. Surviving highschool and graduating University, handling a tough boss to being the boss, falling in love and feeling loss but in my opinion, nothing compares to motherhood. Along with the kisses and cuddles comes the exhaustion and mess. As small business owners we want professional success. As moms we want happy, healthy, well adjusted kids. To accomplish both we need flexibility (and maybe a glass of Rosé ).
Like many of you, I work from home and when my first daughter was born my life was unrecognizable. My house was a mess, I was in yoga pants and on the floor with my laptop every day for two years. Then I had my second daughter. Chaos ensued. For me and my husband, it was about surviving not thriving. Now that my daughters are four and six I can confidently say that it gets easier and here is what I have learned.
1. There's no such thing as balance.
I believed in balance for most of my life. If I could just find the right balance everything would fall into place and all my goals would be accomplished. I was wrong. Balance to me, is an illusion. It's completely unachievable and not finding it just makes us moms feel like we are falling short. Life is about season's and each one has a unique set of priorities. If my kids are happy, my house is a mess. If my clients are happy, my kids didn't get enough exercise outdoors. And that's ok. Prioritize what's important to you that day, in that moment and focus on accomplishing that. Baby steps !
2. Plan And Organize
Plan your week (or month) ahead. Organize your activities and work demands in the same place. Client projects, photoshoots, graphic design, family fun time, dinner menu, school activities, doctor appointments, parties and playdates all go into one handy planner so I don't overbook. If the event includes my husband, it's added to his schedule via an iphone shared calendar and a reminder is sent to him.
I LOVE my Emily Ley Simplified planner (weekly) and use my pinboard to remind me of things I want to look into, that need my immediate attention or simple things like forms to fill out for school.
3. Work Around Your Life
A 9-5 schedule is not possible for the work at home mom with preschoolers. I get most of my work done late at night (9 pm to 3 am). I also sneak in time when my husband walks my oldest to school (with my youngest in tow), takes them to the park, plays with the neighbours kids, attends playgroups or even grocery shops (best Husband ever!).
We are both juggling work and kids so being a team and sharing all responsibilities is critical to our success. Remember it's only temporary. When your kids start school a new season will begin and working during the day will become your norm again.
Create a safe space you can share with your kids and still get your work done. I try to encourage independent play time and to play together when both kids are home. This can be a slow process because you end up playing referee to fights and being an audience of one to dance recitals but it does get better and the girls are slowly learning when it’s mommy’s time to work and when it’s mommy’s time to play.
4. Get Help And Get Out
I don’t do it alone. My sister comes two times a week (more often in the summer) to help with the kids so I can work. I have a gardener because my neighbours cringed when they walked past my neglected grass. One day I WILL hire a cleaning team (yes, a team is needed in my case) to tackle the mess.
Take time for yourself and get out kid free! Ask a friend, ask family, do a trade night with a neighbourhood mom or hire a babysitter. Whether it’s taking a bath, reading a book, date night with your husband or a girls night out. Do it. It makes you feel normal again and it’s a great example to set for your kids.
5. The Little Things Count
Little things add up and make your day easier. Pick out kids clothes the night before, clean up after each project, put work related stuff out of reach of little fingers, pick up a toy or two on your way to the kitchen, prepare lunches ahead of time, pack school bags the night before, include family 'clean up time' with kids before bed so the mess is contained.
6. Say Goodbye To Your Inner Martha Stewart
Learning to live with a mess is part of the job. You need to focus your energy and time on family first, your work and yourself. Everything else can wait. Life is messy and the dirty dishes, piles of laundry and dust bunnies can wait.
Try and schedule a day and time to tackle your household chores but don't feel bad if you don't get to them that day. You'll have plenty of time to keep a clean house when your kids are all grown up so enjoy the sticky fingerprints and piles of toys while you still can.
Life is not about being perfect and it’s almost always a little messy but I know as Mom’s we wouldn’t change it for the world. If my kids are fed, safe and happy at the end of the day, I’ve accomplished all my goals.
Let's start a conversation! Share below your thoughts on this post and being a work at home mom!