Work from Home Mom
The ultimate goal – being a work from home mom! Have your cake and eat it too right? It doesn’t feel like I’ve had any cake for quite awhile. And while we are being honest, sometimes it feels like the most unfair position to be in doesn’t it? The ‘you can have it all’ lie our generation has been fed is right up there with ‘yes, of course honey there is a Santa Claus!”
While, yes, we can have a family and can work…even sometimes from home, the lie we believe is what it looks like…a clean house, with kids quietly playing in clean clothes while we sit in our office of white walls, white desk, white laptop with a strategically placed vase of hot pink Gerber daisies while lunch, dinner and snacks are all prepped and ready to go in the fridge…
– oh yeah I almost forgot, we worked out, showered, did our hair and makeup and showed up to our white office in a pair of neatly pressed white slacks and a blouse.
I’ve worked from home in some capacity for the last 9 years. That means when I started I had a 2, 5, 7 and 8 year old. Let me just tell you how productive I was most days…not very. I was blessed to be able to be home with them, and at that time was just working for a few extras the kids needed through a direct sales company.
Through the years what that looked like changed for me, and with it changed that nagging torment of being pulled between mom and lady boss. I decided to take the advice of ‘plan your work and work your plan.’ I always thought that was just a cute little thing people put out there – ahhhh who knew if you actually did that it worked?
And with it, came some of the successes I was craving.
When I work, I work – and when I’m mom, I’m mom. And with it comes a peace…for the most part, because I’m still working on some of it, because we are all a work in progress right? So how did I get to this pretty ok place?
And block scheduling.
I started using an hourly time sheet, which I have revised to a half hour time sheet, because honestly, sometimes an hour is a long time and although we may love to have an hour to dedicate to something, the season we are in doesn’t allow for it.
Get right with the season you are in and be ok with it. Now if you are like a friend of mine, she works from home with kids, one preschooler and one toddler and she works for a local company not herself. I talked to her recently and she said basically what I am saying, it’s about having a schedule you can keep to with where your kids are at the stage they are in. She works a lot in their play room so she can watch them, and finishes up whatever she missed during the day after they go to bed. One day they will be in school all day and she won’t need to do that, but for now it works for them. Get right with your season, know your limitations as well as your family’s and set some boundaries.
How to Schedule Your Time as a Work from Home Mom
I have a basic block schedule that I use as a template. Then, each week I break that down on our schedule. I am super visual and need to see it. I’m also a creative person so I do it in different colors – don’t get caught up in that if that isn’t you, just make the schedule. It’s always about discipline so get rid of all the distractions.
Make a list of 3-5 things that for you and your family are not negotiable in your day. It could be exercise, quiet time for reading or devotions, reading books before nap time, taking a walk with your hubby – whatever they are put them on your schedule first. Make those happen because those are the things that actually fill you with joy and peace. Remember to know your season, because while reading is awesome, and reading for an hour may sound delightful, it’s better to read for 15 minutes and be ok with it then to not do it at all.
If you are anything like me, I really hope you are so I don’t sound super crazy, you’ll need to break down some areas with more detail, so you know what you are supposed to be doing during your ‘focused work’ time. This differs a little for me week to week but not much. Monday I work on writing blog posts in the morning. I write better in the morning before my brain takes in too much of the day and fizzles out.
I know that Monday mornings are for writing blog posts. What changes is what I’m writing about and who I’m writing for. I keep those details in a separate regular weekly planner. Yes, I ‘reduce it to the ridiculous’ as my husband would say. I need that. I know that. I get distracted by every little everything…ooohhhhh shiny object…you get the picture. I have specific times for social media and specific purposes for it so I don’t get distracted and start scrolling.
Isn’t that one of our biggest distractions these days?
I also have scheduled times to check emails and blog post comments. If I responded to everything as soon as it came in I would spend all day responding and getting distracted and scrolling and whoops there went all the time I had for ‘focused work’ today – not cool!
The amount of time I spend filling out my schedules is about 30 minutes a week. And it saves me so much time throughout the week it is worth every minute! Plus, it allows me to connect with everyone in our family and find out what their schedules are and what their expectations are for me. Like pick them up from sports and drive a friend home, or do they have a ride –that could be the difference of 40+ minutes in my day. Does my hubby have any late night meetings so he won’t be able to contribute to the shuttle service we run … you get it right?
And while our kiddos are getting older, we still have one of the four that can’t be left home alone yet, so that also comes into play – who will be home for him or who will he be with.
I put any appointments I have on my hourly schedule sheet for the week so I can see exactly how much time I have around that time to either work or do one of my non-negotiables. If I have a dentist appointment that will take 2 hours including travel time, maybe I will swap my morning reading time with focused work time and read in the waiting room instead. Being able to see it all laid out makes it easier to shuffle things around.
We are all individuals in our individual seasons of motherhood. What works for me today with four kids in school all day, wouldn’t have worked for me 7 years ago. If you have little ones at home, consider swapping play dates with a friend. She has the kids for two hours once a week and you have them two hours once a week. Even if she doesn’t work from home she will love having some time to get her things done without someone hanging off her leg. However you decide to schedule your day, make it count.
Be all in – all in your mommy time, all in your wife time, and all in your work time.
Being all in- present, focused will stretch your day. It will make it worth it, it will make it less stressed, and it will make you be able to ‘have it all’ even if you do it in your leggings with your hair in a messy bun at your sticky kitchen table.
BE ALL IN – all in your mommy time, all in your wife time, and all in your work time.
Jaime blogs at FizlDizl, along with her husband Bill. They’re passionate about sharing their life stories with others. From the lessons they’ve learned along the way in marriage, faith, parenting four very different children, finances and relationships, and their daily life. They are eager to use their stories and gifts to help ‘bridge the gap’ in communities by encouraging everyone to step up and step out right where they are with what they have…even if it’s just a story or encouraging word.
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