Inside: Trying to figure out how to manage your time, your workload, and your family life as a work from home mom? This guest post from Lacie Martin of Raise Them Well includes 7 tips to help you crush it!
Congratulations! You’re officially a work at home mom! You’ve finally found a flexible job that lets you work from home in your PJs and earn a decent income. Now, you’re panicking because you actually have to pull it off!
Working from home sounds like the ideal solution for working moms until you remember that you already have at least one tiny boss at home who is adamant about their snack deadlines and daily meetings with Anna and Elsa.
Is there any hope of juggling a full-time remote job and a family, or should you call the whole thing off?
7 Tips for the Work from Home Mom Making It Work
It might feel like your plate is impossibly full right now, but you don’t have to choose between pursuing a career and being a present parent. With routines, realistic expectations, and a few parenting tricks up your sleeve, you can pull this whole working mom thing off after all.
Here are 7 tips to help you make it happen as a work from home mom.
1. Set Office Hours that Work
Sitting at a desk from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. isn’t happening with kids in the house. There are snacks to dole out, ‘toons to turn on, and squabbles to squash.
Rather than trying to stick to conventional business hours and getting frazzled by the inevitable interruptions, find a work schedule that aligns with your family’s schedule. By working around your kids, rather than trying to do it all at once, you can stay present and ditch the mom guilt.
2. Get Kids on a Schedule
In order for you to stick to a consistent routine, your kids need a routine too. Visual schedules and timers help kids stick to a daily schedule while distance learning.
It’s also important to get kids comfortable with online learning platforms and fully equipped with school supplies before leaving them to their own devices; otherwise, you’ll be fielding 5,000 questions before 10 a.m.
3. Stop Interruptions Before They Start
Unless your kids are blessed with superhuman self-control, a schedule alone won’t be enough to keep them from creeping into your office mid-video call.
For that, you need clear cut boundaries. A closed door may be enough to tell older kids that interruptions are off-limits, but little ones need stronger reinforcement like color-coded door cards.
Don’t forget to help kids help themselves. Pre-portioned healthy snacks, a kid-friendly hydration station, and busy bags let kids solve their own problems instead of coming to you with every minor request.
4. Give Your Kids a Job
Are your kids struggling to understand that you actually need to work while at work?
If you’re desperate for breathing room and not getting it, try giving your kids a job of their own. Whether that’s organizing their toys, building a LEGO masterpiece, or scripting a play, assigning kids fun, yet time-consuming tasks gives them something to get excited about and scores you a couple of hours of peace.
5. Don’t Shy Away from Screens
I know, I know. Screen time is bad, it’s rotting our kids’ brains, yadda yadda. But when you just need to get through an important presentation without interruption, screens are also a lifesaver.
The key to using screen time wisely isn’t handing out tablets every time you need some quiet. There’s a lot of questionable content out there, and you’d rather not end a meeting only to find your five-year-old down a creepy YouTube rabbit hole.
Instead, preload a tablet, Chromebook, or other kid-friendly devices with age-appropriate content and parental controls. In addition to setting content filters and time limits, make sure you’ve equipped kids’ devices with antivirus software. Protecting against malware is way easier than doing damage control after your kids click on a fishy link. (And the same goes for your own devices, Mom!)
6. Find a Working Mom “Colleague”
It shouldn’t take long for elementary schoolers and older kids to get the hang of keeping themselves busy while you’re on the job. But if you have little ones at home, the boundaries between working and parenting get a lot blurrier.
Hiring a sitter for a few hours a day is one option, but it doesn’t take much for childcare to eat up all the money you’re earning at work. For a relief pitcher that doesn’t cost a dime, try partnering with another working parent in the neighborhood. Swapping childcare duty with another mom lets you each clock multiple uninterrupted workdays per week — and that, my friends, is the dream.
7. Adjust Your Expectations
Let’s be honest: The dream of tossing a load of laundry into the wash between Zoom calls while your kids play peacefully in the next room is too good to be true 95% of days.
That doesn’t mean succeeding as a work from home mom is unrealistic, however. It just means you need to change your idea of what that reality looks like. Instead of magically doing it all like some kind of modern-day Mary Poppins, you may find that working in anything more than 30-minute bursts just isn’t happening and that actually getting things done means waking up at the crack of dawn.
But while balancing kids and a career certainly isn’t a cakewalk, it is totally, 100% worth it.
(And if you need more work from home memes to get you through – check these out!)
Plus some love for the work from home mom on the Zoom call. I see you!