Working from home can be stressful. Working from home can be stressful when you don’t have children. But when you do have children at home during work hours, working from home can become overwhelming.
But it doesn't have to be. As a mom, project manager, and business owner, I've learned to plan and be flexible with the plans that I make. On top of that, I've learned to give myself grace because success looks different for all of us.
Navigating motherhood and entrepreneurship is a daily balancing act. We question if we are doing everything right. We question if we're giving attention to the right things and if everyone is getting what they need from us.
I've been there. And in the moments when I feel stretched thin working from home, switching between mom-mode and boss-mode at a moment’s notice, I have found that the below lessons-learned have helped me the most and I hope they help you too.
Below are 6 key tips on being a successful work from home mom with children in the home:
WAKE THEM UP!!
Wake your kids up in the morning even if they are not participating in distant learning while school is closed.
Keep them on the regular schedule of getting up in the morning, eating breakfast, lunch, doing school work, etc.
Keeping to that schedule will save you a ton when you're in the middle of your workday and someone is ready for breakfast
Trust me on that one.
TAKE REGULAR BREAKS
If at all possible, eat breakfast and lunch with your little ones. This will give them the attention they'll seek during the day and also give you an opportunity to reinforce that you have to work and it's not a vacation for you.
Also plan one or two mini check-ins in the afternoon between meetings if its feasible, making sure they are on track for their day.
Try to get everyone on the same schedule in advance so they know they will have planned time with you.
IT'S OK TO EXTEND 'SCREEN TIME'
Listen... your kids did not stop being kids because you are in work-mode. Expect that they will act age-appropriately...which can mean interrupting you at the most inopportune time. I know... I have been there.
So extending Screen Time during your work-from-home and school closures is TOTALLY OK.
We all have to adjust and be flexible.
And that means going down the path of least resistance at times. Especially with the little ones.
Especially when you have work to do. There are many resources online that can keep children engaged and in a learning environment or just chill out and release energy.
YOU ARE A 'REAL LIFE' PERSON
OK, so in the office you're one way, and at home you're another. You have kids! We get that. And kids can be loud and obnoxious (though adorable) little people. We get that.
Try your best to control the situation as much as possible. But just as you must understand your kid’s age-appropriate behavior, your colleagues must understand that working from home means that kids are now in the office.
If you have to take a meeting with your baby sleeping in your lap, do so. If you have to take a meeting with your little one doing word problems next to you, do so.
Let your co-workers know that you're doing your best and you don't live in a library.
(which brings me to my next point)...
YOU DON'T LIVE IN A LIBRARY
It is TOTALLY OK to have background noise. Whether it's the radio or television. It's OK.
Just keep the remote near you so you have easy access to the mute button should anyone call and when you have to get on a call.
I don't know about you but I need sounds in the background. What drives me crazy is a quiet space. We all work differently and concentrate differently. But don't go out of your way to create a library space if that's not who you are or how you work.
RELAX & DON'T STRESS THE LIFE STUFF
Easier said than done? Maybe. But try to relax. Get into a groove that works for you and your family.
No two work from home households will look or sound the same. Do what works for you.
This is a no judgement zone.
UNLESS, you’re on a video call with your kids running around naked in the background with water guns and you're their target.
Then I’m judging, but just a little.