I have been working from home since my first child was born 6 1/2 years ago. During that time I also had my second child, who is now about to turn 4. There have certainly been some unique challenges along the way, but I feel proud and satisfied that I have been able to manage both successfully.
There will always times when you struggle to stay focussed and motivated but I can truly say that the rewards of earning my own income, doing something I love and am proud of, has not compromised my mother status! 🙂
New mumpreneurs often find it takes a few weeks to get into the swing of things, so I have prepared my top 10 tips to working from home with kids.
1. Kick the guilt and remind yourself each day of your ‘why’!
You are a great mum, but also a strong, independent and empowered woman. It is ok for you to want to build your own business to better the life of your family and to be successful while also being an amazing mum. Once you identify your ‘why’ – in my case, so that both Ben and I can be present for our kids each day – then you can remind yourself if you have a rough day.
Plus, you are doing it the smart way (online), so you can be more flexible and be there for them when they need you most on a day to day basis. Remind yourself of this every day!
2. Prepare for your day
Get dressed, brush your teeth, put on a touch of makeup, if you are into that, do your hair and always make your bed. If you achieve nothing else in the day at least you made your bed. Take a little time to set yourself up for the day. It will change your mindset and also means that you can change your environment with little notice – I have found this can often make the difference between a disaster of a day and a quick recovery.
3. Write down your usual routine so that you can roughly plan your day
Try not to just wing it each day. Include nap times, feed times, chill out times and even when you need to start prepping dinner. Most mums fall into some sort of a plan by the time their child reaches 6 months, now all you need to do is formalise it so that you can work around it.
4. Write a realistic to do list
If your child only sleeps for 2 hours a day, then don’t try to cram 2 hours worth of work, plus 2 loads of washing and dinner prep in that period of time. Be realistic and make it work for you. In the early days I would aim for 3 key priorities and then up to 3 additional bonus tasks.
5. Have dedicated work areas
Set up 2 key work areas in your home; one for when the kids are sleeping (the official space) and one that is more central for when they are playing – perhaps even outside. Where ever your casual space is, make sure there is a comfy chair, some table space, the right lighting, as well as a notepad and pen. That way you can quickly settle in and tick off some of those easier tasks.
6. Work on the hard stuff – the stuff that requires brain power – while the kids are asleep
Spend the first 5 minutes (only 5 minutes), noting what you are going to power through during this precious time. Put the housework aside and get stuck in. This time is not limited to their day sleeps either, consider before they wake up in the morning or after they go to bed.
7. Remove any distractions
Identify your distractions – there are so many of them these days! If Facebook is your downfall then allocate times of days when you can check in. This is especially important when you are doing those key money making activities that must be your top priority.
8. Change it up when you can, because you can!
Don’t always work from home. Part of the joy of having an online business means you can work from anywhere. So when the kids are at a playdate or daycare or even when they are still too young to move around too much, take advantage of that and work from somewhere else – a cafe, a park, wherever takes your fancy.
9. Have dedicated you time and family time
Add special time to your schedule for you and for your family. If your husband works Monday to Friday and Saturdays are usually your family day out and about; don’t let work take over that time. Likewise, schedule some downtime for yourself each week – perhaps a relaxing bath or catchup with a friend. You deserve it and you will be more motivated and productive because of it.
10. Be prepared for anything! And recognise that the bonus of working from home is you can work around any unforeseen circumstances.
Life with kids is not predictable…ever, not even when they are 6 1/2 like my daughter, but that is ok. It’s all part of the joy of being a mum. An online business lets you work around the times when your day just simply does not go to plan, so be at peace with these times. After all you are your own boss now. 🙂
If you are feeling unsure about how to juggle both the kids and your new online business, I would be happy to chat anytime. Or if you like the sound of having your own online business, we can certainly recommend the business systems provided by the SFM… check it out.
Blanche Morris – Your Digital Life Mentor