The Struggle Is Real! You are a Work From Home, Stay At Home Mom that juggles babies, boo-boos and business! I reiterate, The struggle is real!
It’s a struggle some of us know all too well. Working from home with young ones (even not so young ones) can be a challenging, hair ripping battle… but it’s also rewarding and (usually) the greatest roller coaster of your life.
So many do not understand the challenge. It seems so black and white to them. Put the kids on a schedule, work while they play and nap… easy right? Ummmm…. NO!
By the end of the day, you have laughed, cried and accidentally dozed off for 3 minutes while writing an email.
After a while, you’ll find yourself wondering “What is more important? My career or my children?” It really is enough to drive any sane person to the dark side.
After experiencing this insanity and battled all the obstacles you could possibly imagine, I have finally gotten my household and home business into a manageable rhythm. This is the key. The key that brings success to the working from home adventure.
You also have to remember that no one is perfect you (not even parents) and you are not superman! No matter how hard we stay at home, work from home parents try, we will never keep the home and lawn clean and tidy while managing home cooked meals, children and a business.
Something it will need to be set aside for another day. Plus, In this current age of constant connection, it can be all too easy to feel distant from the world.
You have to leave the house. Even if it’s only to sit on the front porch and breathe the fresh air. So, those are the main keys to maintaining this balancing act:
Find your family’s and your business’s rhythm. Then consistently practice it until it’s second nature.
You are not perfect! Accept it and move on.
Leave the house! You need fresh air and sunlight.
Now that your know the 3 keys to the balance, how do you manage the balance? Well, I have learned a few tricks and maybe they can help you too.
1.) Set boundaries
First and foremost, you must set boundaries. Boundaries with your kids, spouse and work space. This is the most difficult task but it is one of the most important.
There are so many times when I am working on deadline but my little one is crying for whatever reason. I have found that pausing your work to handle the child’s problem and then get them focused on something else has been more beneficial than just ignoring them until the project was finished.
First, your child should come first, no matter what. That’s why you wanted to work from home in the first place!
Second, giving your brain the split second of a break is actually better for those creative juices. If your child is really little, like one or two, invest in a way to gate them off, surrounding by learning toys.
I have a friend that used a children’s swimming pool as a play pen. Her son loved it!! Personally, I placed a blanket on the floor next to me and had toys that were similar looking to what mommy was doing.
My daughter loved “working” with mommy. And I made sure the toys were learning focused so she was also using and developing her brain muscles. She is now three years old and count to ten and sing her ABC’s. Parenting Win!
2. Keep them Busy, But Keep them Included
I know this ties into keeping boundaries but it must be said. Kids love structure. While you’re hard at work posting your photographs, writing your emails, making your connections, and overall living your home-based professional dream, your kids don’t want to just be a spectator in the sport that is your work.
Let them join you. Giving a child a task can be a great way to not only bond and include them in your working world, but can be of an incredible asset to you.
If your child is old enough to assist with menial task, chances are they would love to help. Whether it be stuffing envelopes, licking stamps, or even as simple as holding onto papers and files while you scurry about.
This also helps keep that connection between you and your little one(s) and they feel important because they helped mommy with “grownup work”.
Now, if your child is too little, give them a simple made up task. For all they know, your client absolutely needs a finger painting of a rhino right now and your child is the only one who can create that for them.
Either way, you may find your child surprisingly focused and distracted while you get the task at hand done. And, if all else fails, there is always nap time and/or a comfortable spot on the floor and their favorite animated film to keep them occupied for an hour or so.
Remember: in times of crisis, TV, movies, and even video games in moderation can be your best friend.
3. The buddy system
The truth is, you’re not always going to have something to keep your child occupied, or you just have too big a task for even the occasional interruption.
That is when this step comes in most handy. You will find it surprisingly easy to find someone willing and able to watch your little precious bundle of joy.
Your spouse, sibling, parent, neighbors, virtually anyone that you know and trust enough to watch your child can be the most valuable asset in raising a child while working from home.
In fact, sometimes granny and grandpa are just begging to spend an afternoon with your little tyke or toddler. It never hurts to ask.
It can also pay to set up a trusted network of fellow work at home parents who can all share duties at any given time or day. Sometimes you may have little to no current task and don’t mind having a couple of extra little feet running around.
Sometimes you’ve got a major deadline to meet and need a few hours alone. Your network can be a lifeline. And your child gets to socialize. Playdates are a beautiful thing.
4.) Just walk away from the cleaning
Easier said than done, I know. But, leave the cleaning to later. As long as the kids aren’t sticky, all is good. Just pickup toys and do dishes at the end of the day.
Then, pick one day per week that you really clean, clean, clean your home. Doing this method has been tested time and times again. It’s almost always the best option.
Now, you have to make sure to actually pickup evening or else the place will be a huge mess by the end of day two. Just take the last burst of energy pick up. Then crash.
Being a stay at home, work from home parent doesn’t have to be a circus act. It may seem like a three ring circus, but at the end of the day, you are the master of ceremony.
You can make anything happen. No matter how high the rope, remember, if you follow these simple rules, you’ll always find yourself a safety net!