Are you planning on being a work from home mum? Do you currently juggle children and work?
Being home with my first baby on maternity leave gave me the space and time to rethink my future career and what I wanted it to look like.
Like many women, I wanted to be financially independent as well as provide for my family and be there for my kids’ school events and not have to worry about organising school holiday care.
With little access to extended family available to help with childcare it was a problem I needed to solve myself.
Being able to balance working from home and being there when the kids finish school has been a dream come true for me the past few years. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it being able to spend as much time as possible with them while they still think I’m cool.
I want to share my journey with you so you too can have it all.
Working from home benefits include:
- Being able to choose my working hours and days
- Not answering to someone looking over my shoulder
- Not needing to find holiday child care
- Not having to plan holidays too far in advance
- Not being interrupted to deal with an office urgent deadline
- No time in traffic and getting kids in and out of car seats during peak hour
- Still contributing to the household bills as well as enjoying life long learning through online courses and networking
- Finding more confidence to negotiate and make joint ventures with other business women and business owners
Tips for working from home
If your career so far has been less than exciting, intellectually stimulating and financially sound then get ready to come on a wild ride to mumpreneurship. Just as Amazon started in a small room and bloomed into one of the most dominant companies in the world, so too can your business.
The modern mum doesn’t get brownie points from society anymore for keeping a clean house and basically being a chef and cleaner 24/7.
- Enjoy having meals delivered. I’ve tried them all, although beware, they lead me to eat more than usual, so I’ve put on weight since. So I’ve reverted to YourDinnerIsPLanned which takes care of the planning and shopping list. It also helps me keep a meal budget and have less food waste.
- If you have a partner to help I recommend sharing some tasks otherwise you’ll be burnt out and exhausted and lack the will to get out of bed to face the chores alone. My husband put the kids to bed and washing the dishes after I do the cooking. Most Sundays I like us to go out for dinner too.
- I love making a slow cooker meal on Sundays which is my grocery shopping and meal planning day.
- I do prioritise my business client work and marketing over home cleaning. Using professional cleaners regularly or every so often makes sense. I’ve used some wonderful cleaning services, especially for my bathrooms and oven. You’ll be amazed at how awesome your house can look when someone else cleans it.
- Reducing social events or sporting teams has been a late discovery for me. After having my boys in several sports each I realised no one was really enjoying the stress of it all. Now we incorporate swimming as a Sunday family fun time and the boys have one sport event a week at the same time.
Your Home Office
You’ll be spending a lot of time in your new home office so make the area your own. Having a fast reliable laptop and phone is essential. No matter what, these items are an investment and will increase your productivity if they’re top quality.
- Really epic computer and mobile phone
- New books and cute stationery
- Fresh air and sunshine
- Your own area, not shared with 3 other people!
To enjoy your children while they are young I recommend growing your business slowly. If your business does grow faster than you expected then always hire someone to help you with the tedious work you don’t really enjoy. And you are allowed to say no to work if you really don’t have the capacity:
Also as your children want more access to screen time, be strict. I use these guidelines, but create your own!
- TV day on Wednesdays
- Netflix pin code so I know what they’re watching
- Fingerprint mobile phone access so I again know what they’re watching
While kids are becoming more exposed to media than ever before I like to keep life simple for them until they’ve learned to love learning and playing sports and making friends.
Getting stuff done with kids
If you need to work while the children are home with you here are some of my handy tips #reallife:
- Messenger and text message your clients. They actually love it!
- Make appointments/webinars during nap times and just mute yourself while on Zoom and use headphones 🙂
- Let them sleep in and do your most creative work while they’re asleep. Save the low creative tasks while they’re awake.
- Pack them a lunch box the night before so you can throw them a quick meal in the heat of a call or important train of thought.
- Meditate for 15 mins after you wake – 5 minutes mindfulness 5 minutes gratitude and 5 minutes manifestation
Sometimes you’ll need to resort to TV or lose a day by bulk booking a play date
If you are really finding it difficult to work with the kids at home then you can put them in front of the TV for an hour or 2. My kids and I love watching Bear Grylls, Despicable Me and How to Train Your Dragon #judgementfreezone we all do it:
- Taking a note from Dr Montessori, prepare the environment so it’s inviting to them. I like to create a clear table with pencils and new blank paper. They can’t help but sit down and start drawing for hours sometimes.
- It’s OK to buy the fluro play dough, or make your own with them if you feel so inclined. I made play dough for the first few years but now I just buy the stuff!
- Let them water the garden and water themselves. It’s OK if they make a mess outside.
- Download the game Montessori Crosswords onto your phone from the app store. It’s an educational spelling game and they love it.
- Get on the floor with them amongst the Lego and Mobilo blocks. They’ll soon be engrossed and ignoring you.
- Leave bread, butter and spreads on a snack table for them to help themselves.
- AND the most awesome tip I learned only last year is to host bulk kid play dates! Obviously it is what it is. Invite 5 kids over and have them play at your place the whole day! You won’t get anything done, but you’ll then have invites from all their mums up your sleeve! Yay!
Teaching kids to do things themselves is the Montessori philosophy. And so when my children are engrossed in a game, craft or activity I don’t interrupt them. That’s how strong pathways are being built in their brains while also giving me some chill time.
Now I’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions for working at home with kids! What are some of your routines?