7 Tips for Balancing Kids and Work as a Work-at-Home Mom
As a stay-at-home mom, you have an added obstacle when it comes to getting work done at home: kids! From wanting to play with you all day long to those household chores catching your eye when you need to concentrate, there are plenty of distractions that can get in the way of your work. Here are 7 tips that will help you get things done AND make the most of your time as a work-at-home mom while you balance caring for your kids, chores, and, of course, working!
1) Manage Your Time
Managing your time can be difficult when you are working from home, especially when little ones are involved! Sometimes, there’s so much to do that you don’t know where to start. Use apps like Asana or Todoist to help keep track of all your work, home, and personal tasks so you know what you need to focus on next. Manage your time by TAKING TIME to get your to-do list written down in a single location. Taking time to do something like that can seem counterproductive, but this also helps you see what you need to prioritize first. For example, if your kids have activities early in the morning Tuesdays, you can plan out to have meetings in the afternoon so you can still get your kids where they need to go.
It’s also helpful to use collaborative tools like Slack or Google Hangouts to share information with co-workers, family members, or team members who might be involved in various aspects of your projects. If you run into any issues with these apps, check out ClickUp, which offers a single solution for managing your entire business by providing an app suite that enables teams to stay on top of their work together. Use whatever tools work best for you; in a world full of technology, there are so many great things to help you stay connected!
2) Organize Your Life
Okay, so you just completed tip number one. You have all your information in a time management app. Now what? Get organized! You have your schedule laid out and priorities set. Time to work around that. Kids have camp Tuesday morning? Drop them off…then what? That’s where tip #2 comes in handy. Organize ahead of time that you will bring your laptop with you and sit in a nearby coffee shop to work so you’re close to pick up the kids when they are done. Plan ahead to bring your laptop, charger, etc.
Another example (and one of our favorite ways) of organizing your life and creating structure is with a weekly meal plan. Before work, spend time planning out your meals and snacks. You’ll enjoy more variety at dinnertime if you can plan your meals ahead of time, rather than reacting to what happens on particular days or nights. While many work-from-home moms struggle with finding time to get their jobs done and handle family responsibilities, many more have trouble setting aside enough time for themselves each day. Eating a healthy meal is included in that time!
3) Save Your (Emotional) Energy
Focus on your emotional bank account so that you don’t run out of reserves by getting into too many negative arguments with your kids. I’m not saying your kids will start arguments. What I’m saying is that maybe you have a meeting that doesn’t go well. You’re frustrated. Upset. It happens to all of us. It can be difficult to turn around and be positive — especially if your kids are a little hangry on top of all of that!
It’s important to save your emotional energy, which ties into tips #1 and #2. When you’re managing your time and organizing everything, give yourself a breather. Seriously. You deserve it. Don’t schedule a meeting right on top of picking your kids up from camp. Don’t stress yourself out by cramming your schedule as tight as possible. Most important of all, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Being a mom is hard. Working a job is hard. You’re doing BOTH. You’re amazing, and even you need help once in a while. Please don’t be afraid to ask for it!
4) DON’T Do Laundry
We all know that laundry gets done, but when you’re busy with work (and kids), it can get left behind. Partner up with your family members to divvy up household chores. Sometimes we can actually procrastinate by doing household chores. If this is you, definitely work with your family to split up tasks. Or, they might be distractions too because you just can’t stand it when piles of laundry are all over! Ask your family to help: that might look like putting laundry in a hamper in a closet, trading off who does the laundry, etc.
5) Get Help from Others
When you’re working from home, it can be hard to stay focused on your tasks when there are other things vying for your attention. A few words of advice: Get help! If you have young children, ask a friend or family member to babysit so you can block out time for work and get ahead of any looming deadlines. If you need some time away from your responsibilities but don’t want to travel to an office, use mobile apps like Skype and WhatsApp to set up virtual meetings with colleagues — you can make sure they don’t interrupt you while they can still benefit from your knowledge.
6) Stay Motivated
One of the biggest challenges for working moms is maintaining motivation to work, which can be hard to do when you’re tempted to break from it every time your kids cry or make a mess or ask to play. Setting boundaries is very important here, but so is asking for help! Re-visit tip #5 as many times as you need to. Also, use the community — there are plenty of online forums where other working moms share their tips, tricks, and stories (like ours!) — so that no matter what the mood or activity is at home, there’s always something motivating you to get back to work. Give yourself small daily rewards like gourmet coffee shop drinks or screen time on your favorite app (TikTok anyone?). And give yourself big rewards by going out with friends or getting a mani/pedi after hitting your goals like making a big sale or finishing a large project.
7) Stick to a Schedule
So you’ve put your tasks into a time management app. And you’ve worked on organizing your schedule to save your emotional energy. You even asked for help and split up chores. To top it all off, you set up rewards for yourself to stay motivated to work.
Great! Now what?
It’s time to put it all together in a weekly schedule that you follow. Sunday night work on getting your week into a time management app. Use that to organize your upcoming week. Assign chores on Monday. Reward yourself for making it halfway through the week with your favorite iced coffee on Wednesday. And repeat, weekly.
The unexpected will always happen, but if you have a framework to follow each week, you are sure to cut down on your distractions so that you can balance work, kids, and chores while working from home. Do you have a stellar tip that keeps you on track every week and well-balanced? Reach out to let us know what it is so we can share it!