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Being a work at home mom is rewarding, but it is also challenging. Here are my tips to make the most of this adventure.
There are a lot of reasons to become a work at home mom. You may have a passion for a certain business adventure, or you may have found a remote job working for someone else. You may not be able to afford childcare, or you may just want to be able to spend more time with your children.
The one thing I wanted when I had children was to be there for them when they needed it. If they had a sick day, I wanted to make sure they knew they could come home and not “push through it” to keep both parents in work. I wanted to also show them that they could have a family and a business at the same time.
It hasn’t been easy to find a balance, though. It was even harder as a single parent at first. Here are my tips to manage working from home as a mom to make the most of it.
Set times just for your children
Make sure you have time away from work. This is time just for you and your family, especially your children. If you can do, create time so you can spend alone time when you have more than one child. Spending time with them and not being on your phone, will make it clear that you do love them more than anything, and you started working from home for their sake.
We have no-screen time. Every dinner is done at the table with phones placed away from it. We can then just engage in conversation. The only time we eat with screens is if we’ve decided to do a movie night in front of the TV, but the only screen is the TV.
I also take them out and engage as much as possible. If I take them bowling, I’ll snap a couple of family pictures and then we stay engaged in the game and spend time with each other.
My weekends with my children are also work free. They see that I don’t need to worry about work all the time.
I make sure plenty of time is work-free. They see the balance.
Step away from the technical devices
You don’t need to check your emails as soon as they come through. If you do get into that habit, clients and customers will start to think you’re available at the drop of a hat.
It’s time to step away from all your technical devices and make the most of your spare time with your children. Do the things that they would like to do and spend quality time together. Get out a book and read together or go to the park to play.
As I mentioned, we have no-screen time at dinner. I also make sure to avoid the screens when we say we’ll have movie night (except for IMDb, of course!) and when we go out for dinner or a shopping trip, the phone is only out to pay or to price check something. It is not out for work.
Forget the chores as a work at home mom
The chores don’t need doing right at this moment. It’s worth taking a step back from them, just so you can spend the time with your children. Do the chores when they go to bed. I
f there is something that definitely needs doing right this moment, ask the children to give you a hand. Many younger children will even want to help out as much as possible.
In fact, my children have their own chores that are done when I do other chores. They asked to add a new chore this school year—one for each of them that was different to each other. Chore work and cooking end up becoming family things to do at certain times, which moves me onto the next tip.
Create a routine for everyone
Children prefer routine. They can’t tell the time, so they learn things through doing one thing after another.
This also helps your working life. You can create a routine of working for a set number of hours, and then spending time with your children. Create a chart that helps your children understand this routine, and that will help them learn the time.
I make it clear that I’m not available the weekends I have my children. The weekends I don’t have them, I tend to work a little extra.
I’ve tried different types of routines over the years. Right now, I block my diary for certain types of tasks. This helps me stay focused on what needs to be done each day.
Go on vacation with the family
When the kids are out of school, make it a habit of going away somewhere. It doesn’t need to be an extravagant holiday to the Maldives. You could arrange for a trip to the local zoo or a weekend at a trailer park or a cottage. The aim is to get away from the house and show that you do want to spend longer periods of time with your children.
I even do these trips during the year. If there’s a fair in town, I’ll take them for the day. Sometimes, we go on a mini break for the weekend, or we’ll go overnight somewhere to see a concert or another event.
These moments are what create memories. Children don’t need you spending a lot of money. They need you present.
Consider childcare as a work at home mom
You may have started this job to spend more time with your children, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes childcare is a better option. This doesn’t have to be all the time.
I put my two in daycare for three days a week before they went to school. Not only was it good for me to work, but it was great for the children to make friends, gain socialization skills, and so much more. I’m especially glad my youngest went to preschool as she had her first two years of school in online school due to the pandemic. At least she’d been used to not being with me for a couple of years before that when she was finally back in school.
Use the time when they’re in daycare to get through work and then have the time when they get home just for them. This is a schedule you can get used to when they go to school.
What tips do you follow to make the most of your time as a work at home mom? How do you balance work and life? Share in the comments below.