Motherhood is a hard job to have. Being a work at home mom is amazing, yet daunting. Adding work, in your own home, with little ones under your feet can be an overwhelming task. Yet, one that the paybacks are immeasurable.
After 10+ years of working at home, I’ve learned quite a bit and found many ways to make balancing life a bit easier. These are, no doubt, a work in progress, but they are also the things that I’ve been doing for years, that help in big and little ways.
Without further ado, here are my ways to balance life as a work at home mom.
Top 5 tips to balance life as a work at home mom.
Tip #1 Use a planner.
One of the things I look to daily is my planner or maybe I should say planners… yes, I have multiple.
The first, and easiest to access, is the calendar on my phone. This is also what I would call my “life-line” when it comes to planning. My phone is always with me so it is also the one that gets updated first.
I also have a small planner that I use. It is kept in my purse so that I can make notes on certain days and easily see the month and week at a glance (something that irritates me about my phone calendar). There is also something wonderful about writing in a pen that makes me feel like I have it under control.
My last calendar is hanging on our wall in the kitchen. It contains the day-to-day activities for the week. This calendar is a quick glance calendar that makes seeing the week and the times easy and convenient. With three very active children and the many daily activities for my husband and me, it is nice to have a grip on the week.
Do you need to have 3 calendars, of course not. I use them all in conjunction with each other and it seems to work for me. When it comes down to it, you just need to make it work best for you. If one calendar on your phone is enough, more power to you! As long as you can keep up with the day to day and future items there is no need to stress!
Tip # 2 Make a to-do list
I am a list maker. I make lists for everything. It makes me feel in control and honestly, I love the feeling of marking something off and seeing a list completed.
I use Wunderlist to keep a to-do list with me on my phone which also syncs with an app on my computer. One thing I love about Wunderlist is the ability to categorize my to-dos. Separation, keeps my mind clear. When in work mode, I only have that tab open. Taking the distraction of the 20 other things I need to do in the other areas of my life.
Tip # 3 Have activities for the kids easily accessible
Last minute changes happen. Unscheduled items disrupt the normal pattern of the day. Those are the times I pull out the “mommy needs to work” items. These are toys, games and crafts, that my kids only use in these circumstances. I gather new items regularly and keep them interesting.
These items are quiet activities they can do independently. Depending on your child’s age this will vary. Anything that will keep your child entertained for a few minutes so you can focus works great. This can also include a favorite t.v. show or movie, however I find that my littlest one interrupts more when it is an electronics item than a craft or toy. Remember every kid, and every family is different, do what works best for you!
Tip # 4 Portability
I am not sure what I would do without my laptop! Packing my laptop up and bring it anywhere necessary. I have worked at baseball practice, a coffee shop, a friend’s house, and many places in between. Portability is a must. Our life is extremely hectic with active kids, finding time to work even if it’s an awkward position is beneficial if I want to make the most of my down time.
Tip #5 Dedicated work time(s)
There are multiple times in the day that I work.
I get up earlier than everyone in our house, to start my day. This two hours is the most productive time of my day. The quiet and a fresh mind allow me to focus and get things going early.
I also know that I need another hour or so each day to work in the afternoon. This was easy to implement when kids were still napping. But, as we all know, when kids grow up, nap time disappears. When naps are non-existent, I start implementing “quiet time”. Normally this is an hour or so in their rooms playing quietly by themselves. All children need some time to themselves and this also allows me to have a break to focus on the work that I need to accomplish for the day. It is difficult some days, but for the most part this is part of our routine and my kids have no problem spending some time alone in their rooms.
I also allow for extra time in the evenings and weekends, when necessary. Sometimes a project will need some extra TLC, or a deadline is quickly approaching. When this happens, I hide in my office for a bit of extra work time after my husband is home. Many times on the weekend I allow for a few more hours each morning to get some extra work done. My husband is great about helping out to allow for these extra time crunches.
These are just a few of the things I do on a day-to-day basis that keep life in check, definitely not a complete list. That list is ever-changing!
As with anything, there is always room for improvement. I would love to hear what works for you work at home moms out there.
What are your top tips for making life as a work at home mom easier?