Work/Life Balance as a Work at Home Mom

Working from home means you kind of never stop working. Working from home while being a full time stay at home mom means you REALLY never stop working. You just attempt to fit in all the different tasks throughout each day while trying to keep another human being alive. {insert image of a frazzled half dressed woman, balancing kids with boogers and food, computers with 100’s of unread emails, phones beeping and ringing off the hook, a disastrously messy house that looks like a war zone crossed with a ransacked toy store, etc…}

Okay so it’s not that dramatic, ALL the time. Buuuut it’s definitely a special situation 😉 I am so thankful I have the opportunity to work from home, and even more thankful for the opportunity to stay at home with my crazy toddler! But i’d be lying out my face if I said it wasn’t damn hard balancing the two.

Between my obligations and my husbands schedule, I rarely get down time – and when I am “graced” with some I end up prioritizing work, cleaning, errands, or (gasp) hobbies according to what is most pressing that day. Most days it’s work in hyper speed mode when the LO sleeps or is occupied by someone so I don’t totally suck at being a mom when she is awake.
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Balancing work & life as a “work at home mom” can be tricky!

I feel I am far from being “good” at this whole, stay at home full time working momma gig, but I wanted to share a few things that I have found help me tremendously in my efforts to balance the two, and stay happy and somewhat SANE!
  1. Weekly plan/schedule. This is a huge deal for me. I used to hate planning and schedules as I thought they were SO restrictive. HOWEVER I found that creating a schedule actually created MORE time in my day… weird. Less staring at my phone, wasting time in front of the TV, wandering aimlessly around the house, staring at my list of things to do… if I knew the time or the day, I knew what I was supposed to be doing and what needed to get done that day. Creating a weekly schedule (or in my case I have an A schedule and a B schedule because my hubby’s work schedule flip flops each week) really gave me peace of mind as far as what needed to be accomplished that day/week. This structure allowed me the freedom to work in playtime, hobbies, etc… and still get my work done.
  2. Office space. Part of scheduling and creating structure in your work/mom life is making sure you have your “office space” so you “go to work” in a sense. This helps eliminate distractions and sets the expectation that “mom is working”. I’m not always the best at this, when I have help I go to my “work space”, but when it’s just me and the wild flower, I bring my laptop with me and answer emails on the kitchen counter. Gotta do what you gotta do.
  3. Be flexible. “Kids” synonymous for “STAY FLEXIBLE”. Sick, teething, needy, being too adorably cute that you can’t help but to play with them, nice weather which calls for impromptu picnics or trips to the park, one of them just decided to play sink or swim with electronics in the bathroom… Be flexible enough to enjoy life with your little ones, after all, chances are they are the reason you are working from home in the first place.
  4. Prioritize according to the demands of the day. So this kind of goes in line with #3. Be flexible, and don’t forget that just because you made a schedule doesn’t mean you have to stick to it or your going to catch on fire. I constantly am running through things in my mind, prioritizing, and making the appropriate decisions. Boom #girlboss
  5.  Smile. I struggle with this one a lot, especially when I am tired. Which is more often than I would like to admit. Your babies (and your spouse) are watching you work hard and kick butt at life and need your example on how to be HAPPY! It always amazes me how when I allow myself to smile more, how my day is instantly made better and how much more I am able to accomplish. 19abec19176329c53f4c8ea6ac715b20
  6.  Realize your limits. Say no and be brave enough to set boundaries. It’s the only way this scenario will be worth it.
  7.  Help. Ask for help! I am one who tends to try to do it all and then wonders why I am so burnt out. Sometimes I want to slap myself. Have your hubby helps when he is available, bring in outside help for a few hours so you can work uninterrupted. Work h-e-l-p into your routine!
  8.  Wake up early. Still working on this one… being preggo and suffering from insomnia (and at the moment a killer cold) sleep is hard to come by so if I am sleeping decently in the morning…I let Mama Bear be. HOWEVER, on the days where I don’t make up so many excuses for myself, waking up at least an hour before everyone else gives me an opportunity to get a head start on my day – prayers, meditation, coffee, chores, devising a plan to prank.. I mean, lovingly dote on my husband. Is a total game changer. Of course, waking up earlier, means going to bed earlier.
  9.  Grace. Cut yourself some slack. You will have good days where you feel like a total boss and you will have bad days where you feel tremendous amounts of guilt and failure as a mom and a wife. Realizing it’s just another day and life will move on, the fact that your family loves you, the fact that you are everything to your little ones… Take a minute to read inspirational quotes, pray, reconnect with your loved ones, write down whats robbing you of your joy that day, and keep on keeping on. I am my own worst critic, so even on the crappiest of days, I have to constantly tell myself, eh, I got this! Balancing work & motherhood while working from home
  10.  Realistic. Be realistic with yourself. Don’t create a jam packed schedule that has you burning the candle at both ends in an effort to DO IT ALL. You can’t do it all, or well, at least I can’t do it all, lol. I’m famous for burning the midnight oil… but since life doesn’t slow down I’ve had to really pay attention to what’s realistic and stop beating myself up about it. What’s realistic for me? Making sure I allow myself time to work yes, but also time NOT to work. Time to play, time to sleep, time to do absolutely nothing at all, time to go brush my horse… BUT not trying to do it all, in one single day, every day. I may not get to enjoy my hobbies every day or really as much as I would like, but I do try to make time for those things that I enjoy each week so I don’t burn myself out and take it out on my family. Being an adult stinks sometimes.
  11.  Purpose. Above all, I need to remember my purpose. It’s easy for me to do all of the things above superficially, but what keeps me going on those days where I feel completely overwhelmed, over tired, like a total failure… is remembering the beautiful purpose God gave me as a wife and a mother. For me, that comes first. I like to place little reminders or quotes around my house or near my work space that reminds me that the work I am doing inside my home is more important than I will ever know.

Example of being flexible and not so hard on myself: On days like yesterday, where at 22 weeks pregnant, I finally caught the cold/flu bug that’s been lingering around my house for weeks now. Every time I sneezed I felt like my belly might pop (painful, really). So I decided to quickly gather of all the toys around the floor in a pile (so I didn’t keep stepping on legos) with a broom (because I’m tired of bending over), forced myself to postpone work obligations, and “nap” because I didn’t get any sleep last night and little miss early bird herself doesn’t really care.

I hate naps, they are so unproductive. I have to put it down on my list of things to do to make then seem more “acceptable” lol. Between the extra amounts of tea trying to flush this bug out of my system, a nagging sore throat, and an expert bladder kicker growing in my belly – it was an amusing attemp at a nap, but at least I tried. Ugh, I honestly get mad at people who can sleep easy. I hate you. I’m kidding, but no really. (I’m looking at you, husband).

Don’t get me wrong, 99.9% of the time I feel like the “hot mess” mom in that “The Different Types of Moms You Meet” viral video that’s been going around.
It will be interesting to see how my work/life balance will adjust this summer with baby #2… Good news is, i’ve documented what works for me now and have a little practice under my belt! Wish me luck! With all that said, (and now, I may be a little biased) but no one works harder than a mom. You give and give, and when you’re tired, you give some more. Sitting down? Sleep? Privacy? What ARE those words?? A huge percentage of what you do goes unseen… or so it may seem (see #11 again… God sees what I do each day, and how I do it).
So to all my mama bears kicking booty today, you can count on an extra prayer from me. Pray for me too… we all need it!
xo – J

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