The work at home mom life is extremely hard work. Not only do you need to focus on work when you have life around you, but you need to focus on life when you have work around you. I speak from experience when I say one tends to get in the way of another.
Finding a work-life balance is essential. It’s something that I’ve touched on in the past, but not quite from a work at home mom viewpoint. So, it’s time to look at it from this angle. Because, honestly, working from home is far different to working from home as a mom.
You’ll find that when you work from home as a single person or just in a couple, there’s this expectation to get some of the housework done. As annoying as that is, when you’re a mom, you have to raise the children too. Or there’s the expectation that you’ll babysit others’ kids. Or you genuinely just want to spend more time with your children.
I get the need to spend more time with your children. I try to take extra time off in the summer to be around mine. This summer, I’m planning two weeks off completely to vacation with them and then extra hours in the other six weeks before my youngest heads off to kindergarten for the first time. That all means finding some sort of balance. And so, here are my five top tips to balance the work at home mom life.
5. Set your working hours
Let’s start with your working hours. You need them. Even if you work from home and you’re not a mom, you need working hours. And you need to stick to them!
My working hours are pretty standard during the day. I start work at 9am and finish at 4:30pm-5pm (depending on the day). I will then head back to work in the evening, but that’s due to TV schedules and my editing duties. The kids are always in bed by this point. Everyone except my two dogs who will not leave my side is in bed by this point.
Getting your working hours in stone will help to create routines. We’ll get more on that in the morning and evening, but you want a routine for your entire day. When you have working hours, your children know that set hours means you’re not available. My eldest knows when she gets home that I need to work for another 30-60 minutes and then she gets my full attention.
But you need to stick to those working hours. It may be tempted to run into your times off, but don’t! Your kids need you too.
4. Eat with your children
One of the best things you can do is to eat with your children. This can be difficult, especially if you all have different meal times. I don’t tend to eat with my children on a school day. They need to eat earlier in the day and my husband doesn’t get home from work until after bedtime and we eat together. However, there are the odd days where we will eat together and my husband eats alone when he gets home, but those days are few and far between.
However, weekends we will eat together. And we all do this. It’s a chance for us to talk about the week that’s happened and look ahead at a new week. Every meal is eaten together, so we can all spend some quality time together.
When the kids are off school, I don’t tend to do childcare. They’re pretty self-sufficient and able to play together and entertain themselves now. But I will always take lunch off to eat with them. They get extra me time, which I know they appreciate.
And when I don’t eat with them, I’m still in the same room as them. I’ll have a drink or I’ll be getting on with some of the housework around them. They can tlk to me while they eat.
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3. Spend at least one day not working
You want at least one day off a week. I strive for two, but one is usually what I manage. The day off isn’t just good for your mental wellbeing, but also great for your family. You get that necessary balance as a work at home mom.
On that day off, your focus should be on your family. While an hour of my day off is spent in training with one of my pups, the rest of the time is spent with all other family members. And actually, I do count the training time as quality time with a fur baby who also needs my attention.
During my day off, I’ll spend time playing board games, watching movies, and even shopping with my kids and husband. We’ll relax and enjoy some junk food, or we’ll cook the meals for the next week.
The important thing for me is to avoid the computer for work. Maybe I’ll do something while they’re napping or doing some housework in their room (usually tidying up or putting their clothes away) but it’s minor. My focus has to be on them to spend quality time with them.
2. Set routines on a morning and evening
Routines are great for a work at home mom. You’ll want to have one throughout the day, but it’s also worth having routines with your children. I highly recommend routines in the morning and the evening.
My morning routine is a high five. For the most part, the children get on with their tasks and it makes mornings so much smoother than before. There are times this doesn’t work out, but they’re children and they’re human. It works more often than it doesn’t.
We also have a routine in the evening. They know when they’re eating, when they’re playing, when they need a bath, when they should get ready for bed, etc. I’m not overly strict like a drill sergeant, but I do expect them to do as they’re told. And a routine helps them get settled on a night. I can also spend time with them while they get through their routines.
But it’s not just about them. You need your own routines. I end my day by planning out the next day. On a morning, I can grab my coffee and get straight to work. It’s an essential part.
1. Let go of the guilt
There are going to be weeks where your plans don’t work out as a work at home mom. The guilt is going to set in. You’ll feel like you’re not spending enough time with your kids. And when you’re with them, you feel like you’re not working enough.
It’s time to take a step back. You cannot expect to get it all right. We’re human. Anyone who expects us to be perfect is delusional. You just want to be the best version of yourself.
Let go of that guilt of working too much. Chances are you’re not, because your kids are going to remember the time you spend together. Definitely doing feel guilty for not working when you’re spending time with your kids. Your work can wait.
I know the feeling. Definitely! I’ve felt guilty more than once in the past, but it’s time to let it all go.
What are you doing to gain balance as a work at home mom? Share your tips in the comments below.