How do you work from home as a mom and keep your sanity? I would like to know too. That’s why I asked some fellow WAHM mamas for their best tips (and I included a few too).
The modern age of the internet has brought with it new opportunities for moms to work from home. It sounds ideal. Stay at home, watch the kids, and get your work done-maybe even while you are wearing your pajamas? Sound too good to be true? Well, it kind of is.
Working from home sounds like the ideal situation, and it is wonderful, but it also comes with new challenges.
Balancing children and work and other home duties is a constant struggle for many moms-including me! Getting up really early to teach English online most days means my husband can watch the baby when he wakes up. However, it also means I am exhausted halfway through the day. In my 1.5 years of working from home, I’ve learned a few things about what not to do and what works well for my work and family’s schedules.
How do you work from home as a mom and keep your sanity?
You and I already know, moms are superheroes. Not only do we wipe poopy butts without a second thought, but we often manage to cook dinner, talk on the phone (maybe to our own mom), and keep the toddler(s) entertained.
Multi-tasking is our forte.
But, if you add on top of that another job with hours on top of everything else-something has to give! Where are you going to find that extra time to work and not let the laundry pile ruin the chances of anyone getting clean underwear for the next week? Is it even possible? Is it even worth trying?
Yes. Working from home is not always what you may picture- sipping the hot cup of tea while sitting in your pajamas and listening to calm music while your children take 3 hour naps everyday…but it is possible. You don’t have to be crazy to do it. And it is worth trying, especially when you consider how x amount of extra dollars per month could help your family with your financial goals.
Why does burn-out from working from home happen?
It makes sense when you think about it. Why do some moms get burned out when they add one more thing to their already overflowing plates to keep track of and manage?
Because they are tired. And the time they do have may be spent in ways they don’t know how to change or control.
I’ve been there. It has happened to me multiple times where I start to shut down, break down, or fall down from utter exhaustion and lack of awareness of how I was using my time. I forgot my priorities and big picture goals-which led to an overwhelming sense of failure and not even wanting to try.
I’ve learned from my mistakes and failures and so have my friends. Here are some tips for what we all have learned about balancing mom life and working from home.
Best Tips to Work From Home and Not Lose Your Sanity as a Mom
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Tip #1 – Be realistic in your work hours – Courtney
- Remember the age of your kid(s) and take into account their needs and schedules before you set your own expectation of work hours. Take into account when naps shift or change.
- As a mom, your middle name is probably already F-L-E-X-I-B-I-L-I-T-Y…BUT remember there will be days when naps won’t go as planned (or happen at all..cue the tears for everyone!).
Tip #2 – Let go of some things – Alicia
- Realize your time is limited and some tasks/chores may have to take a lower priority.
- Allow your kids (if they are older) to help you with some of these tasks or chores if possible. Realize and accept in doing so that it may not be perfect…but that’s okay!
Tip #3 – Meal Plan – Kristin
- Plan out your meals by the week and as you make your grocery list.
- Use your crockpot, Instapot , or a freezer meal to help speed prep time.
- Wash, cut, and package your produce right when you get home from the grocery store. Your food will be ready for the week and your more likely to grab a healthy snack to munch on when you need some brain food!
Tip #4 – Swap childcare – Katie
- Find another work from home mom, or group of moms, who would like some time for focused work time too. Swap childcare weekly or monthly in exchange for a morning or afternoon of alone productive time.
Tip # 5 – Guard your weekend/day off – Courtney
- Everyone needs to rest- including you, Mama. As hard as it is, work to take a 24 hour period or full weekend away from any type of outside work (besides keeping the kids fed, clean, and safe of course..).
- This time will allow you to recharge, reset, and get ready to hit the ground running come Monday (or whatever day you chose).
Tip #6 – Listen to your body and heart – Danielle
- If you are nearing the end of your sanity and feel like you may do something crazy or pass out from exhaustion….STOP. It’s a slippery slope from here.
- If you are hungry-stop and eat a healthy snack. If you are thirsty- take time to drink water or make some tea. If you are a hot mess- make time to shower and put on some makeup (they made those baby rockers for moments like this!).
- If you are tired – take a power nap while the kids sleep. If you are just done – turn on your favorite song and take a breather. Yes, this is basic. But, as moms, we struggle to take care of our own basic needs sometimes!
Tip #7 – Prep breakfast the night before – Kristin
- Get the oatmeal, fruit, cereal bowls, coffee beans for the French press (that’s me), and anything else needed for breakfast ready to go the night before. This will save time in the morning and help get the day off efficiently and smoothly.
Tip #8 – Prioritize family time – Courtney
- Look at the schedule you have now and your work hours. Do your best to keep certain afternoons/evenings open during the week to have time to connect with your kids, spouse, and have time together as a whole family.
- This will look different for each mom, but an example might be taking most evenings off in order to focus on family time.
- Adjust this time to match what you and your family needs. Try not to let money be the only thing that dictates how many hours you can give your loved ones. Consider the big picture.
Tip #9 – Let go of mommy guilt – Alicia
- Talk with your kids about WHY you need to work.
- Accept that working from home will look different in the seasons of childhood. When they are little, it will be harder to work when they are awake. As they get older, they can play more independently.
- Have realistic expectations and set boundaries with your kids for what they need to do when you are working. If they can help you in some way, that is a bonus!
- An excellent podcast on being a working mom
Tip #10 – Clean in small chunks – Kristin
- Instead of getting overwhelmed by the mess or need to clean when you want to focus on getting your work done- clean in small chunks throughout the day. If the baby is playing nicely – wipe down the bathroom mirrors or do a quick wipe-down of the kitchen counters.
- This adds up quickly and makes cleaning your house faster when you do it later!
Tip #11 – Take care of yourself first – Courtney
- Create a daily routine that lets you to do what you need to do to feel ready- shower, have your devotions, work out, get dressed, do make-up, etc. It may not be realistic to do all of these things everyday, but chose what is most important to you and make it happen.
- Being a healthy individual first lends itself well into being a healthy mama- who is ready to take on whatever the day brings!
Tip #12 – Take a power nap – Danielle
- There are days when you need to pour one more cup of coffee and push through the afternoon fog to get xyz done. However, it is also important to listen to what your body needs.
- If you are tired – take a 20 minute nap (if the children are also asleep of course). For me, this has worked wonders. After about 20 minutes, I am rested enough to hit hard whatever work needs to be done after my body has had a bit of time to slow down.
- If napping doesn’t work – try going to bed earlier (it’s hard, I know, but your productivity will thank you tomorrow!).
Tip #13 – Plan fun things to do with your spouse – Kristin
- It’s important to have things to look forward to. It is also important to maintain your friendship with your spouse-laughter is a good thing!
- Plan at least one date night a month where you can go out together or with some other couple friends and do something.
- Planning date nights means you are setting boundaries with your work. This is important for your own sustainability in being a WAHM (work at home mom).
- Upcoming date nights can also keep you motivated during the week to get your work done!
Tip #14 – Ask for help – Courtney
- Brainstorm the people who are in your community-your church, neighborhood, in-laws, family, etc. When someone offers to help or babysit-write down their info and take them up on it.
- Be okay asking for help. I know it’s hard to say out loud…but, we can’t do it alone. We need help. And many of us have people in our lives who are willing to help, we just have to be humble enough to ask.
Tip #15 – Make a list – Amy
- Write a list everyday with your most prioritized tasks that need to be accomplished. Make it short and sweet if you can. Use the sacred nap minutes/hours to get to work on these priorities right away!
- Recognize that your kids and their needs are the highest priority, especially in the younger years.
- Give yourself grace when the list is not done…this is what happens when you have children!!
Tip #16 – Write in a gratitude journal – Danielle
- Make this a daily practice in your routine. It takes less than 5 minutes and changes your perspective on everything.
- When we live in a place of gratitude, it changes our heart and attitude for whatever the day may bring.
- You could consider writing a few things in your planner or calendar every day before your head hits the pillow. This is a visible reminder and tracker of the many things to be thankful for.
Tip #17 – Double-up on supper prep – Amy
- Double, or triple, the meal you are making for supper and freeze the extras. Then you have a back-up plan when you need a break from the kitchen or things don’t go as planned.
**BONUS TIP: Physical Separation – Tori
- As someone who works from home full-time, this lady knows what she is talking about!
- Physical separation of your work life from your home life can be helpful in creating boundaries between them. Even if you can’t have your own “work room,” having a closet, corner, or defined space for work allows you to go there and do work- and leave work there when you are done.
- When you are in your work space, you are 100% doing work (well, unless the baby needs you ;). If your kids are older, they know that when you are in this space, it is your work time and you are not to be interrupted unless the house is burning down.
- When you leave the space, you are done with work. Out of sight-out of mind!
The Last Thing You Need to Know About Working From Home
Mama, when you are overwhelmed and maybe forget everything on the list above…remember this. The following thought is from a tremendously powerful, yet humble and unassuming saint-
God does not require that we be successful only that we be faithfulMother Teresa
Tired mom, I see you. I am right there with you. Yet, I hope this wise thought will refresh and revive your soul as you consider your time, your priorities, your life, and your children. Maybe you won’t be successful at every endeavor you attempt as you balance working from home. But remember, the faithfulness in which you do your everyday tasks makes all the difference. It’s the heart and attitude that enables you to live fully and intentionally. (Even if the clean underwear drawer is empty.)
- What are your struggles in balancing working at home with being at home with your littles? What are your tips for survival? Please share a comment below and feel free to submit your own tip too!