Being a Work at Home Mom has great benefits, but it can also be difficult to juggle the demands of your kids, home and business. In this post, I’m sharing my 4 tips for thriving as a mompreneur and how you can get your business and life in order.
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4 Tips for Thriving as a Work at Home Mom
I’ve had a lot of people ask me in the last year how I manage 3 kids, 2 major moves, homeschooling, and running my own creative business. First things first, I want to lift the veil on any illusion that things are easy and perfect around here. I work really hard to maintain boundaries between work life and my family, but as work at home mom, it does require patience and flexibility. Here are some tips that I use in my own life to maintain all.the.things!
Tip 1: Take your Time Seriously
Earlier this year, I took a course on efficiency. I actually pride myself on being efficient (at least by appearance), but I love learning ‘hacks’ and tricks to staying productive and consistent, but with a major cross-country move (which is only a short-term situation) and 3 small children, I’ve dropped the ball many times in the last 6 months.
I really had to dig deep and ask myself WHERE I wanted to spend my time. The non-negotiables were my husband, children, and rest, but yet, I also needed to stop wasting my time on things that could be outsourced or eliminated completely (if only laundry was on that list).
Before you say yes, know your WHY (for me, a way to support and bolster our income as a family). How much do you want to work? How much do you want to earn? Do you know how much your ‘working hour’ is worth? Before you say ‘yes’ to an opportunity, lean into these questions. If you say ‘yes’ to something that isn’t worth your time, i.e., mowing the lawn, then what do you have to say ‘NO’ to (your children, your community, a shower)? Guard your time fiercely!
Tip 2: Get your Kids On a Regular Routine
Ever since my girls were babies, we thrived on a routine. Bedtimes, meal time, and play times were roughly scheduled during the day. We thrive when we know what was coming next in our schedule. I use the morning to homeschool and then have lunch with my girls (I have a couple of hours of childcare before lunch to work on my business). During nap time for my youngest, I hide in ‘my office’ (ok, sometimes bed) and work on “Deep Work”. My older girls read for an hour and then do crafts for an hour. We all expect and know that we are going to have a 2 hour chunk in the middle of the day where we can be alone.
As a side note, many of you are probably wondering how my girls (ages 8, 6, and 3) quietly play by themselves for 2 hours a day. As my girls transitioned out of their naps as 4 year olds, I replaced nap time with rest time. This was a time where they could read books. As they became readers, they love delving into novels and children’s literature. After an hour, they are allowed to color and do crafts. We do rest time every day of the week and rarely miss it. We all need a chance to recharge and/or work. Here’s a sample schedule for our family:
Sample Schedule for a Work at Home Mom
6:00: Devotional and Magic Morning
7:30: Breakfast for Girls
8:00-10:30: Homeschooling (I can sometimes fit in a few admin tasks here, like inbox management)
10:30-12:15 Morning work, generally with childcare
12:14-1:00 Lunch with girls
1:00-3:00 Rest time for girls, Deep Work for me. This is usually when I schedule virtual meetings or appointments, later in the week.
3:00- Snack for girls, light email management
4:00-5:00 Household chores
5:00- Office hours closed: Dinner prep, housework, reading with girls, and community activities.
Tip 3: Get a Planner
Over the years as a work at home mom, I’ve tried using electronic calendars like Google Calendar or Asana, a project management tool. They are great for big reminders like a podcast recording or a client meeting, but they never helped me with the day to day tasks.
When I was in college, I scheduled every hour of my day. This really helped with my anxiety because I knew I was making time to study and also rest each day. I found this system really successful in college and never, at least in my memory, pulled an all-nighter. I knew that an all-nighter wasn’t going to serve me well in the end.
As I grew my business, I needed a planner that would allow me to schedule every hour of the day between 8-5. After 5pm, I leave it blank! This is time for family, dinner, and rest. Scheduling rest is important too! This year, I am using the Simplified Life Planner. The Simplified Life Daily edition gives you slots to fill out for each hour. I know this seems tedious, but the secret is when you finish one task (bonus points if you finish it early), you know EXACTLY what you need to do next. No more worrying about how you should be spending your time or endlessly scrolling on Instagram in a moment of weakness. Commit to your tasks and follow through and you be rewarded with sweet rest and a sense of accomplishment! I spend 30 minutes on Sunday scheduling out my week in the planner.
Tip 4: Hire Help
If you saw my schedule, you may have seen a note about childcare. I think it’s healthy, when you know what your time is worth, to have a few hours of childcare to work. One, when you know you are paying for something, you are more likely to invest and show up! Two, it’s important to carve out some time for yourself with no fear of distractions. Children get sick and life happens, so you don’t get to control every minute of your time. Having childcare, even if you bring someone in for a few hours where you can escape into another room, has been incredibly helpful for me as I have grown my business.
In part 2, I’ll be sharing 4 more tips to managing your home and business as a work at home mom! What are some of your favorite tips to stay on task with littles at home?
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