Being a work at home mum sounds appealing, it has so many advantages and also so many challenges. You get to spend the day with your kids and never missing that first milestone. You get to make sure that they stick to their routine, and you get to do all the fun things that you may miss working away from the home.
On the flip side it is a constant juggle. You may be constantly battling with things that need to be completed when you have the kids with you. You may have children who do not sleep very well meaning your precious work time in the evening is eaten in to.
Overall it can be pretty challenging being a work at home mum as often your working day is shoe-horned into a really small amount of time, and you’re constantly flipping from mum brain to business brain. Not to mention the loneliness that sometimes goes with it.
To help you stay sane as a work-at-home parent here are my top 5 tips. Whatever you take away from this, remember that you’re doing the best job and have the best of both worlds, even though it may not feel like that all the time.
Time block your day
It’s all too easy nowadays to try and work when you have the children around you. Smartphones make it really easy to check emails or set up social media posts for your client whilst you’re playing with your children. However having this luxury means that we are trying to do two things at once; work and look after children. In my case this is impossible as the toddler always wants something and the baby is usually crying. If you are doing this, stop!
My best advice for you is to time block your day. Enjoy the time you have with your children without constantly looking at your phone. Only once they are in bed or having their daytime nap focus on work. You will find that you achieve a lot more, reducing your internal stress of trying to compose an email whilst you have a toddler hanging from your leg demanding sweets.
Use childcare (if you can)
If you can, use childcare to look after your children for at least half a day a week. It may not sound like much, but it will be enough time to give you some head and breathing space for you to think clearly and focus on important tasks or what you need to achieve that week.
Set aside one evening a week to switch off
This will save your sanity and also mean that you are not glued to your phone for every single spare moment. Make sure that this is the same day each week and ask your partner to do the same.
Often as working parents we work late into the evening, but by having a night off each week will allow you to spend some meaningful time together. Put your phone on silent or remove it from the room completely, and shut your laptop. The rest can wait until tomorrow. I promise that you will feel so much more refreshed after an evening off.
Create your own work space
It’s great to be able to work from the sofa or the kitchen table, but you really do need your own desk space. This doesn’t have to be a dedicated office or study. All it needs to be is a desk in the corner of a room, and that place is your workplace. It’s where all your files, books and laptop are kept. It’s a place where you can escape to, where you can think, and where you can feel empowered to work (as sometimes the sofa doesn’t cut it) especially when you have an important deadline to meet.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Lastly don’t sweat the small stuff. If something doesn’t get done what’s the worst that can happen. If I miss an email or forget to do something, I try not to let it worry me. As working parents we have enough plates spinning and there is always something you can do to rectify a missed email. Whenever I feel this way I always remember why I became a work-at-home parent. I knew it would be tough, but not as tough as working in an office and juggling nursery drop offs and pick up alongside the late nights of working. You and I really do have the best of both worlds.
So that’s it. I’m sure that there are plenty of other little tips you can use as a work-at-home parent, and I would love to hear how you stay sane.