For a lot of moms, working from home while still being able to be a stay-at-home mom is a coveted dream that often feels out of reach. It can be hard to find flexible work, hard to take care of your kids and the house, and nearly impossible to mesh the two together. But once you do figure it out, it can be the best arrangement imaginable. Whether it’s for extra money, personal fulfillment, or just to keep an oar in the water, it can be a total game changer for your life!
I’ve been working from home since I had my son and I’ve learned a lot through the years. Some things failed miserably and others opened up amazing opportunities. Here’s my advice for how you can make it work:
Find a Comfortable Way to Work Where Your Kids Play
Your first priority is still your kids, so you’re going to have to make your work fit into their routine. This benefits you both because it actually opens up an opportunity for you to get a little extra work done while they’re doing what they would be doing anyways – playing! The benefit of trying to work in their already-existing play space is that it is most likely already baby-proofed and predictable…not to mention it probably has the most distractions for them.
You don’t need to build a mini home office here – find a comfy corner of the couch or just sit on the floor with your laptop. Try and embrace the flexibility of being able to work from any spot in your home.
Find a Safe Way for Your Kids to Play Where You Work
Sometimes you need to be sitting at your desk, or maybe your kids just can’t hold themselves back when your laptop or supplies are in reach. Either way, it will benefit you to find a way to make your work area a safe space for them as well. Bring their favorite toys in with them, or add a tv and take advantage of whatever screen time you allow. It will end up being a welcome change of scenery for you both.
Work While They Nap
This is a no brainer and I’m sure you’ve already thought about it. Without a doubt, you need to take advantage of nap times! If you already have a list of other things you like to save your nap times for then see if there’s a way to get that stuff done with the kids in tow. Get them involved in chores, shower with them, switch to audio books instead of paperback. Think outside of the box so that nap time can truly be your most productive work time.
Related article: 7 Chores that Your 2-Year Old Can Help With
Figure Out How to Do Everything Possible from Your Phone
This is especially helpful if you have a newborn or young infant that you end up feeding or holding a lot…or if you’re constantly shuttling older ones around for activities. It’s unbelievable the amount of productivity apps that are available for your phone, so you really can get a lot done. If you write, you can basically do everything that you would normally do from a laptop. The same goes for any social media marketing and definitely for email correspondences. Search around for great apps and give them a try! You will most likely end up pleasantly surprised.
Related post: How to Get Your First Freelance Writing Job
Limit the Amount of Time You Work
This may sound counter-intuitive, but if you’re planning on working from home AND being a stay-at-home mom, then you need to be realistic and you need to limit the amount of time you work. Don’t expect to handle a full time commitment. The upside of this is that you will end up being far more efficient anyways…and happier. The worst thing you can do is take too much on because you will most likely just burn out or set yourself up for failure.
Automate What You Can – for Work and Home
Limiting the amount of time you work is going to force you to be efficient – and automation is how you can make that happen. Not only should you focus on automating anything work related, but consider all of the home tasks that can be automated as well. Social media marketing is the most obvious task to automate for work. Almost every platform allows you to schedule releases days and weeks in advance. At home, you can automate tasks like vacuuming, pet feeding, and bill payments. With kids present, everything takes longer, so even automating a 5 minute task is probably saving you 1/2 hour.
Related Post: 24 Different Ways to Automate Your Life
Organize Your Daily Goals
Being organized goes hand-in-hand with being efficient. If you spend a little bit of time the night before going over a To Do list, then you will be able to hit the ground running the second you wake up. Not only will it save you a ton of time, but it will ensure that you get the most important stuff done first.
Break Your Work into Bite-Sized Chunks
One of the hardest parts of getting things done with your kids around is that they need you every ten minutes, regardless of what you’ve set up for them or what you need to get done. Instead of letting this frustrate you, your best bet is to embrace it and find a way to cut every single task into 10-minute chunks. This may not be the most optimal form of productivity and you will lose lots of momentum, BUT it is often the ONLY way you will get anything done. So you just need to roll with it. If you are expecting your kids to somehow give you an entire hour to get work done, you will be waiting forever….or at least a few years.
Know What Time of Day is Best for Each Task
Try and identify what time of day you have the most energy or motivation. Get the hard stuff done then! Pay attention to when your kids are least dependent on you (like nap time) – save the time-consuming stuff for then. And just accept the times that you know your kids will be bouncing off the walls and work on administrative, mindless tasks then. The idea is to meld your two worlds, not fight them!
Think Outside of the Box about the Work You Do
One of the coolest things about working from home as a stay-at-home mom is that you get an opportunity to create your ideal job. While you may still spend time applying for freelance opportunities or virtual assistant jobs, you will be surprised by how much work you can create for yourself. This is your chance to take your career in the direction you want! I’ve seen so many people find immense success by selling their crafts, working on Pinterest all day, or reselling items on Amazon. There are sooooo many opportunities out there, don’t let yourself feel boxed in.
Related post: How to Turn Your Hobby into a Money-Making Machine
Good luck creating your dream life. 🙂 Let me know if you have any other great tips for getting work done AND staying home with the kids.