I think every working mom probably feels the same thing: You go through big chunks of time where you’re just thinking, ‘This is impossible – oh this is impossible.’ And then you just keep going and keep going, and you sort of do the impossible. ~ Tina Fey
by Guest Blogger Michelle
Of course there are a million reasons why being home with your kids is so rewarding, but what we don’t share is all the guilt we feel too. Often everyone thinks working from home means that we can drop anything for our children whenever they need us. I hear it every day “You’re so lucky that you get to work at home.” But really we’re always working to find that balance. Being a working mom is hard, being a stay at home is hard, but being a work at home mom is just crazy!
They say that distance makes the heart grow fonder. When I worked full time, I just missed my children and so desperately wanted to be with them. I often cried in the break room cause my maternal side felt guilty. The same rule applied when I was a stay at home – I longed to have an adult conversation that didn’t involve Mickey Mouse or to not get interrogated if I tried to sneak veggies in their muffins. So to throw both my family and work under one roof (literally) seemed like the perfect solution. Which has lead me to stumble across a new saying: Constant presence makes you want it to be ‘Margarita Monday’ everyday!
Balancing your work life with your home life is a whole different ball game I was not completely prepared for. I figured this would be all cupcakes and rainbows. However, I’m answering emails from clients and feeling pressure to add new content to my website while trying to find that one missing lego piece, and suddenly there is twice as much laundry as there was when I woke up in the morning because my child needs new underwear every time they use the potty.
I wish someone would have given me a ‘heads-up’ of what I was getting myself into: Feeling all the guilt of a stay at home mom and working mom, every moment of every day. Seeing your kids faces every day but not always being present. Or finishing your work and finally sitting down to a pretend tea party they made just for you, while you have piles of chores that need to be tended too.
Finally, I realized that at the end of the day that no matter what choice I make, it is a hard choice. I am constantly learning every day, and every day is not perfect but I am learning how to not make the work at home life so crazy. Here are a few of my tips:
Tip 1: Don’t try to be Wonderwoman
As moms we often get this Super Mom complex in our brains. Rightfully so – we really are amazing! Often that leads to an inflated ego. Drop the idea that you have to do it all to be worthy. Prioritize your tasks so you know what is really important to achieve. And give yourself a break if you don’t achieve it all in one day. You always do the best you can do.
Tip 2: Make a schedule
This one was challenging for me. Once I became a work at home mom, I realized that I am not very organized. While I always knew I wasn’t a type A personality, I used to think that organized chaos would work – doesn’t. So set a schedule where you have set hours to work and play. Set times to sit at your desk and to make those phone calls, along with play dates and nap time schedules. Feel free to try and roll with the punches, but I am here to hopefully save you from my mistake. Now there is no one perfect work schedule for everyone to follow so just make it work for you and your family
Tip 3: Fill your own cup
Once you combine your work and home life, suddenly you realize that you have completely lost yourself in the whirlwind. What helps me is waking up before my family. It gives me time to enjoy my coffee in silence, read a positive intent for the day, exercise, shower, and get myself ready before I get everyone else ready. Like I said, there is no one-size-fits-all schedule, but this is my personal way of ensuring I always have time for me, daily, and I urge you to take time daily for yourself too, even if it’s some quiet time to journal. You can’t serve from an empty cup.
Tip 4: Meal plan
Yes, this seems like a weird tip for finding balance as a work at home mom but everyone gets hungry. Having plans for snacks for yourself and your children will keep everyone happier. Try throwing stuff into a crock pot at breakfast time so your lunch is ready to go. Get your partner, or older children, involved and ask them to help with dinner once or twice a week. You will also find that meal planning will not only save you the stress of ‘what am I going to eat next’, but it will save you money from dining out all the time. BONUS👍
Tip 5: Communicate
We always have these genius ideas in our head and then somehow forgot to tell everyone else about them. Communicate your schedule with your partner and your children. My kids know when I am on my computer I am working, and when ‘Cars’ is done, they can talk to me. My husband knows when I have stuff set aside for work for after the kids go to sleep, or when I am behind on chores so he can help. Beyond your own home – communicate with other moms. When you hear other women going through the same stuff, it makes you feel like you’re not so crazy. Who knows, maybe you and another work at home mom can arrange to swap days so you will both be more productive.
So maybe we’re a little nuts for taking both the crazy of the working world and the crazy of raising a family and putting them together, but stay positive and know this – You are doing awesome! And having the worst of both worlds also means the best of both worlds.
Michelle Leon is a Mom, a Wife, a Blogger, a Yoga Instructor and self-described ‘Fitness Junkie’ who runs her own business from home while sharing lots of inspiration and motivation to everyone around her? Her mantra: “Love Life Fiercely!”