If you’re a work-from-home mom, chances are you decided to work from home so that you could be there for your children.
Personally, I started my business with the desire to work from home so that I could be there for my daughter any time she needed me. I felt that I needed to be her primary caretaker, her teacher, her full-time parent. I dreaded the idea of paying someone full-time to watch my daughter, teach her things, experience her milestones, and care for her while I’d be at a 9-5. Logically, the answer was, I needed to start working from home.
Let me tell you, toss out everything Instagram plays out about #mombosses and let’s get real. No one tells you how dang hard it is to start-up, launch, and scale a business with kids at home. I only have one daughter, and she’s a hand full! Hats off to you amazing women who have multiple children and still are badass business women!
Personally, I think when my daughter was under 2, things were a bit easier. She wasn’t as mobile as a baby so I could put her down in her exersaucer, or entertain her with some toys while I worked. However, once she turned 2, she had SO much energy and demanded absolutely ALL of my attention and by 3, WOO forget about it, running a business with her at home seemed like an impossibility!
“How do I manage a business and care for my child(ren) at the same time?”
I didn’t become a work from home mom, so that I could spend my entire day working on my computer or my nose in my phone while my daughter looked at me like, “Are you going to play with me yet?” So I had to think of a way to make it work. There has to be a way to be a GREAT mom, and still have a thriving business right?
So today I’m sharing with you 4 tips on how to manage your business successfully as a work from home mom.
- Plan and Prepare: Create a Schedule
Schedules are life savers. By this, I mean schedule everything in your day with yours and your child’s schedule in mind. This will allow you to see the times you have available to get your work in. It will also make your availability more predictable.
In my day, I knew that my daughter would wake up at 9am, so that meant that I would wake up an hour early for self care, and to get my day going by checking my emails, replying to emails. I also knew that she would be napping between 2pm-4pm and so this meant that I knew I had 2 hours free to work! I knew that she would be asleep by 8:30pm and so this meant I had all the rest of the night to get work in.
The key is: Routine!
Kids love routine and keeping them on schedule and yourself on schedule will save you your sanity and help you to be most effective and efficient with your time. You’ll be able to more accurately predict when you have available time to work.
During my day, if I knew that I had to work when my daughter was awake, I would plan an activity for her to do such as: painting, puzzles, drawing, books. I would try to keep her off electronic devices as much as possible, but there were times where she would be allowed to use her Leap Frog while mommy worked!
I would then time block every 15 minutes to work and spend the next 15 minutes fully engaged with my daughter. So my schedule would look something like this:
5:00-5:15 Daughter plays puzzles while Mommy works on client work
5:15-5:30 Break- Mommy plays with daughter puzzles
5:30-5:45 Daughter paints while Mommy works on client work
5:45-6:00 Mommy plays with daughter painting
I never wanted my daughter to feel she was on limited mommy time, sometimes I would give her more time. But I would always stick to the 15 minutes of work increments. This allowed me to be fully present in my work, and fully present with my daughter. It also kept her busy without disturbing me during work time. I found that 15 minute increments were effective because any longer, then she would start fussing for some attention. 15 minutes was the sweet spot for us, and you may try this yourself and find that 15 minutes is too little or too much, but once you try this method, you’ll see what works best for you and your children.
In my schedule I also factored in meal time. Do you know how long it takes to cook breakfast, lunch, dinner every single day? That takes up SO much time! Time efficiency is key! Meal prep ahead of time. Crock pot meals are LIFE SAVERS. I learned soo many incredible meal prep recipes on Pinterest that I was able to freeze the food then simply take out during meal time to warm up and have ready to eat! Seriously. Meal prepping is such a time saver. On top of that, it also made my time most efficient at the grocery store too.
2. Set Priorities
At the end of each night, I brain dump. I’m a pen and paper kind of gal and I literally just write out everything that needs to be done for my business and personal life the next day. This helps me to see what’s most urgent and needs to be addressed first thing in the morning, preferably before my daughter wakes up so that it’s all taken care of by the time she’s awake.
3. Get Help !
It’s okay to admit it, that we can’t do ALL the things, ALL the time. Housework is a full-time job in itself. So my advise is that if you can afford someone to clean your house then do it. If you can afford a baby sitter to watch your children for some time so you can get extra work done, or conduct a meeting during your day, or even just get a couple extra minutes for self care then invest in this! If you have a spouse/partner, then have them help you out!
However, if you’re like me— I’m a single mom, and I couldn’t afford to hire someone to do these things for me. I was blessed enough to have family that fully supported me and took care of my daughter when I needed some help. So if you have close family or friends, that can lend a helping hand, then take up that offer! I also put my daughter in school early so the time she was in school afforded me time to work.
My other advise is— teach your children to clean up after themselves. If they can walk, they can clean lol. Trust me, teaching them to clean after themselves will help you so much! But of course children are children, and not all enjoy the experience of cleaning. So personally, I would sing the clean-up song with my daughter or make a fun game out of it, or even create some fun incentives and always, aways encourage with verbal praise about what a great cleaner she was and how responsible she was.
As a single mom, or maybe this is just as a mom in general— let me tell you that running a full time business, full-time household, full time children, and if you have a partner, then full time partner, in the end not everything will ALWAYS be perfect. There will be days when the children aren’t following their schedule, when the house is a mess, and when juggling work, baby, and relationships becomes overwhelming and you feel like you’re just failing at all things or succeeding at one, but doing terrible in the other.
Give yourself some grace and know that you are doing the best you can do and that is great enough! Also know that it’s okay to ask for help because entrepreneurship is tough, but motherhood is even tougher!
4. Set Boundaries and Expectations
If you have a spouse, your children or people who rely on you— set boundaries and expectations with them. Let them know what work time is, what play time is, what mommy self care time is.
Self care is sooo important, seriously don’t forget this! I know how busy we can get with business and kids, and life in general. You might accidentally skip a meal from being too busy, or you might work too much at night and not get enough sleep because that’s you’re only time to work, or you might not even shower for days and realize, holy cow I’ve been wearing the same pajamas for 3 days now. Know that you need to take care of yourself first before you can be a great business woman, before you can be the best mom, before you can be anything for anyone else. YOU come first because nothing functions without you investing your time in your own mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health. Always incorporate this time into your day-to-day.
So for those wondering, can I manage to run my business and also be a great mom at the same time? The answer is YES. You can, except it won’t be pretty, it won’t be perfect, and it sure as heck won’t be easy, but you can do anything you believe you can do!
If you’re a work from home mom, let me know in the comments, how do you manage a business full-time and your children?
*Full Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links and Google Ads.