by: Jennifer D. Hudson
Does this sound like you? Yep, me too. How can we bring in the extra income that our family needs, yet still be a full-time Mommy? There is a delicate balance that every work-at-home-parent has to find. Here are a few ideas that I have used – perhaps they will help you to find your own balance!
Invest in a timer – and use it!I’m talking about those old-fashioned ticking kind of timers with the loud, annoying bell. This timer can be used to give your kids a set amount of time to do a task you ask them to do, and it can be used to give yourself a set time to work.
I often will tell my girls “Mommy needs 10 more minutes of work time, then we can play. I need to finish (xyz) and it will take me this much time – IF you will not interrupt.” I have found that this works amazingly well – it keeps me on track with the time I tell my kids, and they know that when that bell rings, Mommy is fair game!
Get up extra early Oy, this one is a tough one! I am a night owl, so getting up before my kids is often a chore. However, I have found that when I can pry my eyes open and the house is still quiet, I can sit and have a quiet time with the Lord, unload the dishwasher in preparation for the day, have a cup of coffee with my husband (does this EVER happen anymore?!?!) or any number of other short tasks… in peace!
Stay up extra late I much prefer this method! I have found that I need to be asleep before 10:29 pm or I will lay there awake for a couple of hours. Those couple of hours can be very useful! The house is quiet, there are no interruptions, and I can get some real WORK done! My brain can function like a normal adult’s should, and I don’t have to switch gears in the middle from savvy business-woman to Chief Boo-boo Kisser at a moment’s notice.
I recommend choosing one end of the candle or the other – don’t try to do both! We moms also need our rest – which brings me to the next tip
Take A Break! We all know how it is… we have a (usually self-imposed) deadline that we HAVE to meet, so we will work all hours of the day and night to meet it. When we finally finish the project, we find ourselves crumpled on the couch sipping hot tea and wondering where this cold suddenly came from…
I’ve been there too. Moms, we NEED to take breaks, if not for our own health and sanity, then for the sake of our kids! They need to have Mommy & Me time even more than we need the break, and, quite frankly, we are useless to the house with a cold! Remember that timer? Set it for 15 minutes & go do the dishes, read a book to your pre-schooler, play a game of tag outside on the lawn. Or take it a step further & schedule your family a morning (or day) off! Take the kids to the park, children’s museum, even McD’s will fit the bill! Get out of your PJ’s (I know you’re wearing them!) and out of your house!
For the dads that may be reading this… SEND YOUR WIFE to get a haircut, manicure, massage, a night off without the kids… something pampering! She is working her tail off to keep the house, raise the kids AND run a business. We start getting a little bit wiped out after a while and need something to re-charge our batteries. Trust me… she’ll thank you for it!
Find a Mom’s Networking group…There are so many wonderful networking groups out there that are made up of other work-at-home-moms (WAHM’s) that are facing (or have faced) the same issues you are. One of my personal favorites is MomPack.com. I have had the honor of making many new online friends there, and count it as a valued asset to my business and my life.
There are lots of others too – what business do you have? I’m sure there is a group out there! Are you a Christian? Try CWAHM.com, ChristianWAHM.com, or look online at RYZE.com to find many more! There are forums and groups for just about everything you can think of these days… just google your need followed by “forum” and you will be amazed at what you will find!
Schedule your kids time first Many WAHM’s also homeschool. How do they fit it all in? They schedule in school time first – before ANYTHING else can distract them from teaching their kids. Are your kids still too young for school? Not a problem! Set up a schedule for yourself that has time slots that are “Work Time” with lots of intermittent “Play Time” breaks. Your kids will be much easier to convince that you DO need to work if they know that they get Mommy on a regular schedule! In our home the day starts with breakfast – we roll out of bed & head down to the kitchen to decide what we are going to eat, then I fix it while my girls go get their hair combed & beds made. This works out just about right, as we usually have pancakes. Then we have family time around the table while we eat, and can schedule our day. After breakfast we clean up the dishes and get dressed for the day. Then it is time for school – reading and numbers are as far as we are for now! They get play time while I check emails, and then we have lunch and do a craft. Unfortunately, mine are past the afternoon nap stage, so they usually get to choose a movie to watch after craft time – School House Rock is now on DVD! Then it is time to start dinner (which they now help with), clean off & set the table, etc. Evenings are family time – NO WORK ALLOWED! We have story time and they go to bed around 8:30, which gives us “couple time” for about an hour or so.
Yes, there are days that doesn’t work like this, however I try to keep us on a schedule – the kids function SO much better, and I find that I get more done when I take it in small chunks of time – un-interrupted by kids every 3 seconds!
I hope that some of these ideas will help you find that balance between working at home and the reasons that you chose this path. If we all take it day-by-day, we may find the time to enjoy more of those moments we chose to be at home for!
About the Author: Jennifer D. Hudson is a work-at-home-mom of two, and the owner of mimsi-bags.com - an online boutique offering custom designed handbags, scarves, flower pins and more!. She has been balancing being a mom, wife and business go-to girl in Washington State since Spring 2003.