Deciding to become a work at home mom was an evolutionary process for me. When my oldest was born, being a stay at home mom was actually my ultimate goal. While I loved being home with her most of the day (at that time I was going to college for Early Childhood Development and working part-time as an afternoon nanny), I felt so overwhelmed that the possibility of being a work at home mom didn’t even register.
So when did the work at home mom bug hit me?
When I later switched my degree to Marketing Management, I began working as a freelance writer and WordPress web designer for small businesses. It’s something I continue to do now, and that’s when it hit me. As I found myself wanting more flexibility than a traditional in-office job would provide, the idea of becoming a work at home mom clicked into place.
Learning why other moms stumbled onto the same path is still something that fascinates me—I’d love to hear your story, too!
Many moms find working from home to be a more fulfilling way to balance a career with the needs of their family—they tend to miss less of the little spontaneous moments that happen throughout the day and avoid some of the pain points of working outside the home, like commuting.
However, being a work at home mom also comes with its own unique set of challenges. Whether you’re planning to take the leap or you’re already established, creating a work at home mom schedule and applying some of these realistic strategies will dramatically improve your productivity and happiness.
- How to Create a Work at Home Mom Schedule that Works
- Work at Home Mom Tips
- Work at Home Mom Advice from Real Moms
- Resources to Be a Better Work at Home Mom
Even though you’re free to work in your pajamas, going through your day without a schedule sets you up for chaos and stress.
There is this myth that working from home means you have it all. As if being a work at home mom means you’ve hit the lottery and now manage a successful career and keep your family running smoothly without any juggling at all. In truth, it often means a schedule is even more important. With one you’ll be more effective and more productive. Plus, it allows your children to become familiar with your routine and manage their expectations of you.
After all, there isn’t a boss to report to or hours to clock in for. So when the choice is between a screaming toddler and work that could technically wait until after bedtime, the demanding toddler often wins at the cost of your time and sanity.
With that in mind, create a schedule that works for your family by laying out each day of the week into hourly blocks. Block off time slots where something non-flexible is scheduled, like a weekly meeting. If you have young children at home, mark time needed for things like lunch or naps. Older children may require pickup from school or after school activities, so add those times in.
The idea is to create a visual map of where you don’t have flexibility in your schedule, so you can plan out the rest of your tasks and responsibilities around your family—one of the best reasons to be a work at home mom!
If you don’t already have one, The LifePlanner by Erin Condren is a highly recommended planner with an hourly layout.
Benefits of Time Blocking
Time blocking is the practice of blocking off a set amount of time for a specific task. Rather than try to multitask, time blocking focuses you on a single task at a time which is by far a more productive use of your time than multitasking.
Researchers at Stanford University looked at multitaskers and found that they were less productive than those who focused on one task at a time. Reporting the findings of the study, Adam Gorlick in his article in the Stanford Report notes, “By doing less, you might accomplish more.”
Benefits of Time blocking:
- Completely devote your focus to a single task at a time
- Better focus means better results
- Improve your overall productivity
- Decrease your stress levels
- More effectively balance the demands of work and your children
- Better quality time with your family
So do less but more.
Time blocking is the solution to the inefficiencies of multitasking. Rather than scheduling an hour at the beginning of your day for something as broad as work, get specific. For example, schedule 30 minutes at the beginning of your day to check and respond to emails. During that time, only check and respond to emails. Avoid looking at social media, going over your to do list, or answering that text message on your phone.
That’s not to say that you can’t work in the playroom while your toddler plays with trains at your feet. It means simplifying where your focus needs to be so that you’re only balancing work and your kids instead of kids and ten work tasks at once.
Working from home when you have children, especially very young children, is being in a constant state of change. As newborns, many babies settle in a daytime nap routine that allows you to work in several 1-2 hour spurts throughout the day, but as children grow, their schedule and needs change dramatically.
Further, there is often a learning curve at each transition that can make managing your work difficult while everyone adjusts. Change disrupts your routine and can throw your productivity out of whack.
Try these work at home mom tips to help ease the stress of balancing it all:
- Create a schedule like I mentioned above—really, it’s a lifesaving tip!
- Get your family on their own routine and be as consistent as possible every day.
- Designate a home office or desk area where you can work privately when needed.
- Purchase mobile devices that can move from your desk to the playroom with ease.
- Schedule breaks for work-free interaction with your kids.
Caitlin Patoka of Real Mom Recs says, “Having kids in school and daycare is the only way I am able to be productive!” So, consider childcare as another option if you don’t have school-aged children and need a little extra time to focus on work.
“I track my time just like I would if I had a traditional job! It helps me keep track of how much I’ve done, which gives me a sense of accomplishment, and knowing that the clock is running helps me stay on task and avoid distractions.”
Melinda Ashley, The Unfrazzled Mama
“I’m constantly reminding myself why I’m doing what I’m doing, but especially so when I’m faced with tasks I don’t enjoy or am tired of. It helps to keep the big picture in mind.”
Susana Serer, Pregged
“Have set hours/days for work and don’t let that time creep into your “mom” time. As important as it is for your kids to see you as a hardworking mother, it’s even more important for them to see you as a PRESENT mother.”
Adrianna Tucker, Get Healthy with Adrianna
“When I have time to myself I have to plan out exactly what I’m going to do. Otherwise, I end up just scrolling Facebook or Instagram.”
Niki Howlett, Toot’s Mom is Tired
“Have a solid morning routine with mindset, journaling, and exercise to fill your own cup first.”
“Some days a walk to the park can make all the difference. Pack a lunch, pack your laptop, and set up shop on a picnic table while the kids run and yell.”
Sarah Crosley-Schultz, The Creative Boss
“Plan your most important task the day before and plan it in a time slot for reactive and miscellaneous tasks. Also, don’t go on social media until your most important task is done!”
“Time blocking has been huge for me. I brain dump a list and then schedule hour-by-hour the tasks in my list. It forces me to realize that I can’t get EVERYTHING done at once and keeps me accountable during that time to work on it! “
Kaitlyn Pierce, Pierce Social
“Focus on what you do best and outsource the rest. This includes house cleaning and business tasks. You can’t do it all so focus on what brings you the most joy and money!”
Pamela Meister, Hunt Wisely
Some days you’ll totally be able do it all. The morning runs smoothly because everyone set out their clothes and school things the night before. Then the baby take a morning nap like a dream and sleeps even better. You may even get a workout in or drink your coffee while it’s still hot. Similarly, when it comes to work, the day is just as smooth, and inspiration is flowing. You’ll feel like you could conquer the world.
Those days are like magical unicorns, and they are beautiful. However, they are equally as rare.
Being a work at home mom means pivoting a lot. Something isn’t working, so you change your strategy, adjust, and keep moving.
It’s okay to have those days when you can’t do it all. Trust me, you’ll feel like you have more of those. However, these resources can help you feel saner and see more unicorn days, so you’ll be better equipped to handle it all without sacrificing your sanity.
- Download a free copy of Fifteen Tips to Help You Get It Together 15 Minutes At A Time
- Get the #WAHM Life Subscription Box for work at home mom entrepreneurs
- Listen to The Live Free Podcast from Micala Quinn
- Read Boss Mom: The Ultimate Guide to Raising a Business & Nurturing Your Family Like a Pro by Dana Malstaff
Being a work at home mom is amazing and challenging and certainly one of your biggest achievements. While it may take some creativity, a whole lot of planning, and a little bit of patience, you can do it successfully and happily. Rock on, mom.