When I tell people I’m a work-from-home mom, they’re often impressed. I have two active children, ages five and three, and I work an average of 10-15 hours each week. They wonder how I get it all done and manage to earn income from home.
Being a work-from-home mom provides a lot of flexibility. I love that I can be there for my children when they need me throughout the day and I can also use my college education to earn an income.
I’m not the only one who loves the flexibility of working from home. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there was a 35% increase in the number of people working from home between 2000 and 2010. Working from home provides a flexible, environmentally friendly, family-centered lifestyle. What more could you want in a job?
Working from home is not a walk in the park, however. It requires a lot of discipline, hard work, and prioritization. If you’re a work-from-home mom or are considering becoming one, here are some tips I’ve discovered throughout the years.
1. Make a schedule
I like to get up early, before the kids wake up, to get work done. I try to wake up at around 5 a.m. to put in two hours of work before the kids wake up each morning. However, if I stay up late the night before or don’t have as much work to do that day, I allow myself to sleep in until 6 a.m.
I find that my quality of work improves when I’m not constantly worrying about what the kids are doing. And if I can get my work done before the kids wake up, then I can devote all of my attention to them the rest of the day.
If you’re not a morning person, maybe you could work when the kids take naps or when they go to bed. If you need to work during the day, create fun activities for your children to do while you work so they don’t feel neglected.
On days that I need to work throughout the day or have a conference call with a client, I come up with activities for my children to do while I’m working. I schedule time for them to play at a friend’s house, work on a new craft or project, or watch some television. As a work-from-home mom, you need to schedule in time each day to be a professional and time to be a mom.
If you don’t make a schedule and prioritize your life, you’ll feel like you’re failing at everything. On days when I need to get work done and put my kids in front of the television all day, I feel like I’m failing as a mom.
On days when I sleep in and end up throwing things together for my clients while my children are hanging all over me, I feel like a bad employee. Prioritize your time now so that you can devote your full attention to each task.
3. Find reliable childcare
I am lucky enough to have some good friends who have children around the same age as my kids. I have often scheduled babysitting swaps when I need to get stuff done during the day. That gives me an hour or so to focus on my work while the kids are happily playing with friends.
My husband is also often willing to take the kids to the park or run errands when he gets home from work so that I can focus on my work without any distractions.
4. Work ahead
When you’re a mom, you need to expect the unexpected. One day you can get a lot of work done, and the next day you might be cuddling with your sick child at the hospital. That’s why I try to get ahead in work as much as possible. By doing so, I can be there for my family when they need me or when I want to go on vacation and leave work behind.
5. Take time for yourself
As a work-from-home mom, you’ll never finish with your work. There’s always dirty dishes in the sink, clients waiting for you, children who need attention, projects that need finishing, laundry that needs folding…
The list goes on and on.
But the most important thing you can do for yourself is to give yourself time to relax and rejuvenate. Watch your favorite show to unwind before bed, go to the gym and exercise, or go on a date with your husband. Take time for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.
Being a work-from-home mom is doable
Being a work-from-home mom is rewarding. If you’re interested in working from home, consider what you enjoy doing and what you’re good at. Turning your hobby into a business means a flatter learning curve, and it’ll be easier to start earning money.
If you’re married, communicate with your spouse about your plans and make sure that you have the support you need. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it.
If you’re not sure about what you want to do, here are some ideas to get you started.