Are you a mum that works from home?
My hat completely goes off to you. How chaotic can it be sometimes?
All of our situations are different. Some of our kids are at school, some at nursery and some are running around our feet as we are trying to balance our home and jobs.
Regardless of our set up, I know first hand just how difficult it can be, trying to balance being a work at home mum. We also really do set ourselves some crazy high expectations sometimes. We dream of being these amazing mums, loving partners, the best of friends, domestic goddesses and the ultimate mumboss.
I have been a work at home mum for nearly two years now and have had both a baby and a toddler under my toes during that time. Although I’ve definitely not perfected the art of juggling everything yet, I have found a few ways to survive as a work at home mum. I’ve written them down in the hope that some of these will make your work days a little bit easier and maybe will send you on the way to finding that balance a little bit quicker!
10 Ways To Survive As A Work At Home Mum
1. Start your morning with a list of tasks to do that day!
Both multi-tasking and procrastinating are the biggest things that stop you from getting work done. Have a set list of things to achieve that day, even if they are small.
To have them written down rather than in your head keeps you focused and it’s so rewarding getting to tick them off. Also, if any little ones distract you or throw you off, you can quickly re-look at your list to find where you were.
2. Pre-make your snacks
I often find myself getting bursts of hunger and dipping in and out of the fridge for a whole variety of things. Making little snack boxes means I’m not away from work for too long and I’ll be less likely to raid the biscuit tin and munch while I work.
Also, if my little ones are at home, I don’t have to prep anything for them either and can give them something healthy to snack on instantly. I do the same for lunches and get them ready first thing in the morning. Check out my ‘10 Healthy Snacks‘ to see what delicious things you can pre-make.
3. Design your work space
Having a designated work space is so important, even if it’s a desk in the corner. It can really put your mind in the frame for more work and less home. Don’t get me wrong, working at dining room table may work for some. I myself even occasionally end up on the sofa. But, knowing that the space is for work can really keep you focused and can help older children understand that when mum is at her desk, she is working.
4. Find out which hours you work best
If your work hours are flexible, then this one is for you! I only recently realised that my best times for writing (which is one of my jobs, I’m also a social media manager) is first thing in the morning. From lunch time right through to the evenings I cannot seem to write a thing. It takes me ages.
Instead, I’ve learnt to use my afternoons and evenings to complete different tasks that either don’t need so much concentration or work a different part of my brain. Experiment with what tasks you can do better at different times. I promise it’ll really help you to become more productive.
5. Implement time saving hacks
Do you need to make deadlines, but have household tasks nagging at your brain? Working from home can mean some seriously blurred home/work boundaries. I often have to get work done, but know that I need to get the food shop done or get dinner ready.
Why not get your food shop home delivered? Or other time hacks include batch making and freezing healthy meals and meal planning, so that you don’t get that annoying brain freeze (the one with the ‘lets just get take out’ ending) when it comes to deciding what to make for dinner.
6. Time block
Time blocking is my new best friend. Set yourself one task only to complete and set a time to complete it in. This method works wonders. Too many of us try to multi-task and that can actually end up making us even more stressed and getting less done. Read all about time blocking in my post here. It’s aimed at bloggers, but the method can be used for any job.
7. Keep your home and work life organised
I have a ‘busy life diary‘ by a company called busyb and it is fabulous! It has dual week-by-week pages so that I can have my work appointments and to do lists in the same diary, but separated. Having two separate diaries used to mean a lot of cross checking, but now I can easily see that I can or cannot do certain things because of home appointments or vice versa. Check it out here.
8. Set up playstations
For those days when you have your children at home, but you have pressing work to do, do not feel guilty! We all have bills to pay and food to buy. My way of combating the mum guilt and to try avoid distractions is to set out play stations. (not the computer game kind).
Play stations mean that my daughter is fully engrossed in lots of fun ‘educational’ activities that don’t need my assistance. It means she less likely to distract me so I can work quicker and get back to being with her as fast as possible. If you’re stuck for play station ideas, check out Montessori play stations on Pinterest or check out my ‘5 Pre-Schooler Activities‘ post.
9. Take breaks and exercise
I’ve just got a fitbit and it’s literally the perfect thing for a work at home mum! Working from home, often means long hours sat at the laptop. My fitbit encourages me to move and reminds me that it’s time to exercise or to take some time out of work. After all, a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. It’s good to take breaks, even if it’s 5 minutes. Getting fresh air will also help you to reenergise and refocus! If you’re short on time, check out my ‘5 Minute Morning Wake-Up Workout‘ or ‘3 Workouts For Busy Mums‘ if you’re short on time.
10. Schedule In You Time
It is so important to look after you. It is absolutely exhausting trying to balance so many eggs in one basket. But, exhaustion will lead to you being unable to work, parent or look after the home. So do make sure you are looking after yourself.
Taking you time is ok! And, if you’re a sufferer of mum guilt like me, just remember a happy, looked after you, makes a happy mum and worker! Even if it’s 10 minutes of mindfulness a day, a quick gym session, a coffee out with friends or even a cheeky massage at a spa. We all need little treats and little pockets of me time occasionally.
Bonus* – Accept that you can’t do it all!
Some days my toddler is sick, sometimes I am. Somedays she needs my attention more than others, some days I just have loads of non-work things to do. We can’t always do it all and sometimes, we just need to know that it’s ‘ok to say no’. Accept that you can’t do it all and don’t beat yourself up on the days you feel behind.
Are you a work at home mum? What do you think or our 10 survival tips for work at home mums? Is there anything you would add? Let us know in the comments below.