Emilie DeCoursey gives her tips on juggling a home business and a tot.
As a work-from-home mom of a young, active and very curious little girl I’ve definitely been challenged beyond what I could’ve ever expected in trying to juggle it all. Though I’m by no means an expert at keeping it all together, I have learned some things along the way that have made it easier to manage, without completely losing my mind in the process. Every working mom will have her tips and advice, and for what it’s worth, here are mine…
Let me start by saying it really is a good idea to have some kind of schedule that you try your best to stick to. For example, if you can wake up an hour or two before your kids then hopefully you can use that time to knock out a good chunk of uninterrupted work, answer emails and even unload the dishwasher and throw in a load of laundry. Having said that, kids are unpredictable, and you may have plenty of sleepless nights that cause you to feel less productive first thing in the morning. Part of being successful in working from home while raising small children means learning to take a deep breath and roll with the punches.
Take Advantage of Downtimes
I could write songs and sonnets about my love of you, beloved naptime! I can admit that as much as I treasure my time with my little girl, naptime is always a welcome break and provides a nice breather. It’s tempting to turn naptime into all-out leisure time, and sometimes I do (lounging on the sofa eating fudgesicles and watching Downtown Abbey re-runs) but this short break is also prime time for productivity, so use it well! The same goes for the time after the kids go to bed, which is when a good portion of my best work gets done.
Ask for Help
You’ve heard it before, but it’s really true! No one can do it all! There are going to be PLENTY of days where you just can’t handle it. Don’t be afraid to ask a friend to babysit for a couple hours just so you can take a hot shower, eat a sandwich and tackle some work assignments in peace. Hopefully you have an understanding spouse or partner who can relieve you for portions of the evening where you can get things done, as well. Asking for help can extend to being brave enough to approach your employer to say, “I may have a little bit much on my plate at this time” and see if there’s a way to share the workload with another mom in a similar situation, cut back on some hours, or simply extend some deadlines if necessary.
Simplify Where you Can
Like thousands of other moms I can easily get caught-up in the trap of trying to have it all and trying be it all ALL at once. It’s not possible. It just isn’t possible. Take a moment to step outside of yourself and ask yourself if it’s really worth it to push yourself to exhaustion day-in and day-out so you can afford Pinterest-worthy furniture but not have time for sleep. Try cutting back on some of the social media involvement, let your favorite reality television show slide and give the blog-stalking a time out. Making these little efforts will not only give you more time to focus on your work, but to focus on your little one who really wants to enjoy precious time with you whenever possible!
You’re gonna have to be more mobile than you feel like on many mornings if you have a small little person who likes to get into mischief as soon as you turn your head. But I’m referring to being mobile in a digital sense, which can help you multitask and make the most of your day. If you have a way to check emails or website stats for a few minutes at the park, while your kids run around that is certainly helpful. If you’re running a website, make sure you are running a smartphone-friendly version that both your customers can access on the go, as well as yourself, so you can keep tabs when you’re away from home.
Try to Stay Organized
It can be hard, but try to separate your work space and tools from the curious little hands that seek to destroy. Personally, I’ve purchased a separate, compact hard drive for storing backups of projects in case somebody decides to wreak havoc on my laptop. Keep wires out of the way of little kids who can trip and set-up tempting electronics out of reach. Store things where you can find them quickly, so you don’t spend all your work time searching.
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