Yesterday my husband had to come home early from work to meet a sprinkler specialist.  He has been working a lot this week and also trying to get things done around the house, so we haven’t seen him as much, which is hard for us all.  So, ever the optimist, he says to me, “Yea, I’ll come home early, get to see the kids, and get some work done, too.”  I was all like, Oh, so is that how it works? You get to spend quality time with the kids while also being productive?  Don’t get me wrong, my husband had all the right intentions and meant nothing by it, but I’m going to attribute this to my making it look easy, this whole working from home as a stay-at-home mom thing.  I do get a lot done while still nurturing the kids and making almost every meal  from scratch in my fairly clean house.  But it’s not easy and it certainly doesn’t happen organically.  It takes strategy and purposefulness, both of which I’ve had to intentionally cultivate to be successful.

Tips for Working from Home

Before I start sounding too prideful or making a “thank you to all the little people” speech, let me share a few tips that have helped me make the most of my time as a mom, as well as a productive member of society.  There are  2 things that need to be said here:

  • Maternity Leave=No Work  I do NOT work when I have a newborn, which has happened 3 times.  I don’t even believe in the 6-week thing.  I need about 3 months to recover emotionally and spiritually, so if you just gave birth, quit reading.  Now.
  • Nap Time =Work  Newborns aside, I do work when I have babies and a combination of baby and small children, but it does usually mean I forfeit nap time for myself and hunker down to type out a few things from my to-do list.

Okay, now that we’ve covered that, I think I can be more helpful for how to actually incorporate work into your diaper-changing, dishes-washing, play date-planning, chaffeuring days.

  • Make a rough schedule that accounts for when you will work and what you will get done.  It doesn’t have to be carved in stone, but playing it loosey goosey doesn’t bring in a sizeable pay check.  Try it out and adjust it as necessary.
  • Set up specific time to work.  This might just mean following your schedule.  Slot out several hours that are for work and not anything else.  If you have some kids at home, try taking advantage of down time or nap time to work.
  • Be sure to treat work like work- it’s not a hobby, nor is it 24/7.  It works best for me to try to get my quota in Monday through Friday, though if I have to take time off during the week, I make up for it on the weekend.  This will vary based on how you’re paid- you may need certain hours or it may be a task-finished kind of payment.
  • Use a sound machine.  Using a sound machine will help you tune out kid noise, as well as other distractions at home.  {You can obviously still use a baby monitor to keep track of little ones.}
  • Use the kids’ “down time.”  I don’t like working while they’re awake for so many reasons; thus, I maximize their awake time by being present with them and I maximize my work time by giving them sleep or something special.  Usually I work during nap time or after they to bed, or both, dependent upon how much time I need.    I’ve found it works best to put the older kids down for naps when the baby goes down.  If the older kids aren’t napping anymore, I give them room time or movie time.
  • Schedule some play dates away from home or swap mom duties with a trusted friend so you each have some quality down time.
  • Hire a babysitter.  If your work pays enough, it’s often worth paying a fun babysitter your kids enjoy to spend a day or two with.  Remember to hire someone you trust who is good with kids, not just okay with them.  Your kids will look forward to a good sitter and dread a boring one.

Working from home while still being a mom can be tricky- try these tips for making it work when kids are home.

Speak Your Mind