The rise of work-at-home moms has been evident in the last few years. Reasons for this may vary, whether it may be to take care of the children, a decline in attractive work opportunities, or simply choosing to build a business from home, all while having the desire to earn and achieve more in life. Being a work-at-home mom is a privilege, there’s no doubt about that. Who wouldn’t want to be there to witness the first milestones in your baby’s life, have the flexibility to complete errands for the family, or have the chance to keep a watchful eye on your little ones and ensure their safety throughout the day in this unpredictable world? Yes, there are many positive aspects about being a work-at-home mom, but there are a handful of wrong perceptions as well.
Truth be told, working at home may even be more challenging than working in an office environment. At any age, your children will require your full attention anytime they see you’re around. They will want you to feed them, bathe them, play with them, listen to their stories, put them to sleep, console them when need be, help them with their homework and the list goes on. It can be quite difficult to check things off your to-do list when you are constantly being pulled away from work. We all know how hard it is to start and get the ball rolling during thought process and brainstorming sessions or to accomplish grunt work on especially lazy days. Momentum is key for anyone who works and wants to get things done. But when you’re a work-at-home mom, the momentum button switches on and off so quickly that it can be quite frustrating at times. Here are some ways to help one work more effectively at home:
Plan out your day and try to stick to it
As with any job, planning out your day is always a requirement if you want to accomplish several things on that day. But as a work-from-home mom, it can get quite tricky as you juggle things that need to be done in and out of the house. You can group errands and chores together and efficiently plan out your day to make work flow as fluid as possible. You can also try to set aside an “x” number of hours daily to keep a regular work schedule and add on to this when necessary. Know when your children will need you the least during the day, like during nap time or homework time for the bigger kids, and use it for work related matters. Bedtime is also a great time for finishing off work when the house is quite and most, if not all, of the chores are done for the day. At this time, your husband or partner may already be home as well, and can help look after the kids.
Set up a clutter-free work space
With technology and other tools getting smaller as the years go by, it’s so easy to plop down your laptop anywhere in the house and start working. But having your own personal space may save you much time and energy. If you have a spare room at home, consider clearing it up and make it your home office. If you don’t, a corner in a well-lit room with a reasonable sized table can also do the trick. When your children see you often in your improvised office, they will learn and realize that this is mommy’s work space. The more they get use to this idea, the less likely they will hang around there to play and vie for your attention. It is also important to keep the area free of toys and other objects. This way your child will know that your work space is not a play area and will also help you avoid getting distracted when seeing various objects around you while trying to concentrate. Use drawers and file boxes to keep your papers, receipts, documents organized and away from the sight and hands of the little ones.
Make all work tools available
Nothing is more annoying than being in the zone, then needing your calculator which you left in the kitchen counter earlier this morning. Something as simple as this can be a potential momentum breaker. It helps to make sure that all tools you need to work that day are ready to be used. Tools such as functioning internet and phone connections, a laptop or computer, cellphone, ball pens, pencils, paper, calculator, rulers, etc. Keep them ready and handy to avoid wasting time looking for them when you need them.
Dress the part
You know how a pretty outfit uplifts your mood, right? When you dress up for work, even if it’s just at home, you’ll feel more professional and up for tasks than when you are in your PJs. You don’t have to be in a suit or in heels (but go ahead if you want to!), just make yourself presentable as if a client may drop by and meet with you.
Keep the kids entertained
Reserve some cool toys that they can play with only during mommy’s work time. You may also arrange fun, educational activities in their own space while you work. Your work time may also be the kids’ solo period, where they can explore, learn and do things on their own.
Be open to clients
There are times when you just can’t avoid scenarios like when your toddler cries out for you just when you answered your client’s call, or a sudden need from your kid that you just have to attend to while on Skype. While you want to be focused while you work, you may also want to be open to customers and colleagues that you work from home and explain that there might be some interruptions from the kids. People, in general, will admire your honesty and will be fine with your work environment.
Get help in taking care of the kids
By deciding to be a work-at-home mom, you’re clearly already devoting so much of your time and attention to the care of your children. That said, it wouldn’t hurt to ask for help during your work hours. If you already have a helper or yaya, ask them to take care of the kids when your work requires 100% of your attention. You may also find someone who can babysit on a per hour basis or a family member who could spare some time to take care of the kids. We all know grandma and grandpa love to be around the little ones! Do not feel guilty when you hear them call for you, only to be whisked away by their temporary caregiver. In a few minutes or hours, you will be theirs again.
Working at home is not as relaxing and simple as others perceive it to be. The work is twice as hard to get done and you’re in and out of focus as the children call for your attention. Taking steps to establish a more organized work-from-home environment will help give you the much needed peace to accomplish what needs to be done and will give you a great sense of fulfillment at the end of each and every day.