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There are certainly times when being a work at home mom kind of sucks. People see that you’re in the house, so naturally, that means you’re available for them.
How often have people asked you to do favors while you’re working?
They want you to babysit their kids, or they want you to take in their packages. In some cases, they’ll ask you to run errands for them while they’re stuck at work.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m more than happy to do the odd favor for a friend. I have offered to take friends to a hospital appointment, knowing I can catch up on work later. I have babysat friends’ kids for them at the last minute. However, I choose to do this.
The friends I help are the ones that don’t actually expect anything from me. They are respectful of the fact that I work from home and hate to impose. And I know that if I need their help, they’d offer it or agree if I did have to ask. It’s a two-way street full of respect.
The problem people are the ones who don’t see you as a work at home mom. They see your business as more of a hobby so you get to stay at home with your children.
It’s time to make people realize that you are a work at home mom. Here are five things I’ve done to help.
Stop answering the phone during the day
If I don’t answer my husband’s texts during the day, he assumes one of two things: it’s been a terrible day and I don’t want to talk or I’m just super busy. Either way, he gets it and is patient.
I don’t answer many phone calls unless I see it’s from the school, the doctor’s office, or the dentist. I won’t answer the door unless I’m expecting a delivery.
If you were in the office, you wouldn’t be able to answer phone calls or texts. People would have to wait for you. It’s time to set that boundary when you’re working from home.
I learned to do this quickly as some people didn’t understand that “working” from home didn’t mean I sat and watched TV all day…okay, I do watch a lot of TV for work, but I’m not just doing that for fun. It’s certainly helped to make a boundary clear.
Set your boundaries with everyone you live with
Not everyone has an understanding partner. Some people just don’t get it. They see that you’re at home, so why can’t you do the laundry or the washing up?
I do actually get some housework done during the day. Mostly, I get some washing up done at certain points of the day because the hot water helps my wrists while I’m typing. I’ve found it’s the best way to keep carpal tunnel to a minimum. But not everyone has the time for that.
It’s okay if you don’t have time to load the dishwasher.
Set your boundaries as a work at home mom. Make sure everyone who lives there understands that you are working, and you are not to be disturbed at that point. If your spouse gets home wondering why there are still the morning’s dishes, you need to have a stern talk about it. After all, do they get anything done at home when they’re working?
Block out your shared diary as a work at home mom
If you have a shared family diary, such as on Google Calendar, you need to start blocking out your working hours. This is the best way to prevent your significant other from signing you up to something without checking first.
While you tell them that you’re working, not everyone gets it. By them seeing that the hours are blocked out for work, they won’t add anything to your calendar to clash with it.
At least, they shouldn’t.
If they start to add things without checking with you, it’s time for a conversation. Don’t be afraid to have these conversations. Your work matters too.
“That doesn’t work for me”
Sometimes, you’ll end up with that one person who is persistent as hell to get your attention. They’ll ring and ring, then they’ll WhatsApp, then they’ll Facebook message, and then they’ll turn up at your door. Or they’ll catch you on the school run.
They want you to babysit or help them with something. And they’re not taking “work” as an answer.
They don’t see working from home as a good enough reason. It’s only been since the pandemic and more people have been sent home to work that some people have really understood that you are definitely working from home.
Part of the problem is coming up with excuses. As women, and especially mothers, we tend to try to please. It’s hard to say no, but you need to start saying it.
The best phrase is “that doesn’t work for me.”
There’s absolutely no need for anything else. You don’t have to explain why. Just say the line and leave the conversation at that. They continue to be pushy? Keep saying it. This straightforwardness is the only way to get through to some people.
It all starts with you as a work at home mom
Some people don’t get it. Some people are what I like to call “cheeky f**kers” or “piss takers.”
In the end, being a successful work at home mom with no distractions is going to come down to you and your actions. It all starts with you.
If you let people affect your work, that’s not really on them. It’s on you for letting it happen. Yes, it does sound harsh, but sometimes, you need to hear the honest truth.
So, it’s time to take control. Set your boundaries, take steps to manage your day, and learn how to say no and mean it.
Fewer people will bother you. I can promise you that!
What are you struggling with as a work at home mom? What do you wish you could control in your working life? Share your thoughts in the comments below.