Balancing Life as a Work at Home Mom is not easy. Mostly because it means you are never away from work and never away from mom duty either. Your roles overlap with no notice, which either wrecks your work flow or shifts focus from your little one. The most important way to help you find balance is to better define your roles as worker bee and mommy. Here is everything that has helped me these last sixteen months as a mom to be both more productive at work and more present with my child.
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Get out of your pajamas
For the first twelve months of my child’s life, I nursed (or pumped) every three hours. I was constantly half undressed and what clothes I had on were covered in spit up or breast milk. I saw zero reason to change into different clothes that would just wind up the exact same way. If that is your stage of life, embrace it. But when you are no longer nursing, get out of the bathrobe.
I’m not saying you have to put on real pants, because my daily home uniform is the best yoga pants in the world and a v-neck t-shirt of some kind. They are cheap, comfortable and allow for easy desk work, house work, or crawling around on the floor with your toddler. You still feel like you’re wearing pajamas, but you look a little more put together. This has a huge impact on your productivity and happiness. It sounds so simple, but for me it makes a world of difference.
Get up before your kid
I know, easier said than done if you’ve been up all night. But getting up even just 10 minutes earlier means you can have a cup of coffee in peace. If you’re feeling really together and get up 30 minutes earlier, you maybe can have a little mini work out, throw together some pancakes for breakfast or even wash your hair. Whatever makes you feel more accomplished. I know I always feel better when I have clean hair.
On the same note of feeling more put together, take a little time to wash your face, brush your teeth, heck even throw on a little mascara or lip gloss. It doesn’t have to be a full face of makeup, but you’d be surprised how much more happy you and your child will be if you look awake.
Have a Schedule
Look, I’ll be the very first to agree that kids aren’t great at schedules. And somedays, you just have to go to the doctor, grocery store or do laundry. But on “regular” days, have a schedule and stick to it.
For ours, my son gets up at 8am and has breakfast. We play until 11 and he goes down for a nap until 1:00 pm. Whether he’s awake or not, he’s in his room in relax mode during those two hours. Then he get sup, we eat lunch and play until about 4pm, when he goes down for another nap until 6:00 pm. Then it’s up, eat dinner, play with Dad and back down for the night around 9:00 pm.
During nap times, I work (emails, posts, photographing and social media). Knowing I have a very short period of time to be independent, means I cram a lot of productivity into those four hours a day. Usually the last of those four hours, I actually devote to “house work”. Be it starting dinner, doing some laundry, or even setting the living room (play time central) back to rights before Dad gets home. I’m not Susie homemaker and will never win housewife of the year, but at least we have a place to sit and food to put in our bellies.
Be present with your child
Look, the whole reason you are home is likely to be with your child, right? I know sometimes it just makes more financial sense than paying a daycare. Mine is a combination of both. Whatever your reasons for staying home, make sure you have some kid only time.
That means not looking at your phone every single time it dings. Not constantly replying to emails immediately. Give your child your undivided attention (even if it’s just to watch Despicable Me together), just like you give your work undivided attention during nap time. There are times when I look at social media or reply to emails when my child is awake. But for at least an hour during each awake time, he has my undivided attention because I put my phone in the other room.
So that’s it. That’s how I find a little bit of balance when life pulls me in every single direction. What secrets do you have to being both productive at work and present with your child when you are never far from either?