A work-at-home mother has many hats to wear during the course of one day. She must hold true to her duties as a mother cooking, cleaning, and caring for the children, while she must answer to her virtual boss, no matter what the actual professional title may be. Unfortunately, we do not have the convenience of being able to completely separate the two lives, or being able to work a full shift without an interruption. With all the chaos that arises for a mother in her daily life, we all may need a few tips to stay sane as a work-at-home mother, and to help balance our lives.
Schedule, Plan, and Prioritize: When you have a full plate with two work-at-home jobs, one professional and one familial, the most important thing is to plan everything to the best of your ability. Schedule as many things as you can in advance and plan around them. In addition, remember that while this job is important for financial purposes, your family and yourself should always come first. A stressed out, overwhelmed woman makes a poor employee, and mothering becomes more difficult. No one deserves to have to over extend themselves for anything, and you should learn when to say “No.” and know your limitations. Cleaning often becomes the thing to go on the list of things to do when it comes to working at home and taking care of your kids, so allow the house to get a little messy or enlist the husband for help. He works too, but he makes as many messes as the children. If your children are old enough, have them help you a little here and there as well. Cook meals ahead so you do not have to stress that daily. See my article on Once a Month Cooking for help with this.
Work in Blocks: This will keep you from becoming too stressed over one item, be it the children or the job. When you wake up in the morning with the children, make sure to spend time with them after breakfast festivities are finished and make sure they are squared away to play independently for awhile. Give them a task, and some options to keep themselves busy while you work. Work until you become frustrated or you need a break. Take a few minutes to breathe. Then repeat until the work is done and/or the children are in bed for the night.
Use Naptime: After you have taken a break from the work and gone back to tending to the children, put them down for a nap. For the first half hour or so of the nap, do not do anything. Do not clean the house, do not go to work. Just take this as “Me” time. We all need it for a bit, and the more load you have, the more often you need it. If your children do not take naps, do it when your husband comes home from work. Work through the remainder of naptime so that your children can have your full attention again when they wake.
Step Back and Breathe: The most important thing to do is be able to take a break from either situation and realize that you can do it. However, you do not have to do anything right at that second, (unless your children are in danger, of course) and take that “Me” time I was talking about for a few minutes a day. This will help tremendously when things get tough.
Many work-at-home mothers stay stressed, and this is not healthy for anyone in the situation, so take the tips and put them to some use. I am sure they will help!