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Work-at-Home Mom: The Worst of Both Worlds

Of course, there are a million reasons why being home with your kids is so rewarding. But if you’re a work-at-home mom, that comes with it’s own curve balls. 

What work-at-home moms 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 needs 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 mom is hard. But being a work-at-home mom is just a new level of 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 because my maternal side felt guilty. The same rule applied when I stayed at home. I longed to have an adult conversation that didn’t involve Daniel Tiger, or be interrogated if I tried to hide veggies in their muffins. So to throw both my family and work under one roof (literally) seemed like the perfect solution.

Well doing so has lead me to stumble across a new saying: Constant presence makes you want it to be margarita Monday everyday!

Balancing work life with home life is a whole different ball game I was not prepared for.

I figured working from home would be all cupcakes and rainbows. However, I’m answering emails from clients and feeling pressure to add new content to my website — all while trying to find that one missing Lego piece. Oh, and suddenly there is twice as much laundry as there was when you woke up in the morning because your child NEEDS new underwear every time he uses the potty.

I wish someone would have given me a heads up on what I was getting myself into.

Feeling all the guilt of a stay-at-home mom and a working mom, every moment of every day. Seeing your kids faces every day but not always being present, or finishing work and finally sitting down to a pretend tea party they made just for you, but you have piles of chores that need tended to.

I finally realized that at the end of the day, no matter what choice I make, to stay home, to work at home, or work out of the home, it was a hard choice. I am constantly learning everyday, and everyday is not a perfect day. I have learned how to make the work at home life a little less crazy, which is better than total chaos right?! 

Here are my tips for a work-at-home mom:

Tip 1: Don’t try to be Wonder Woman! 

As moms we often get this Super Mom complex in our brain. Rightfully so, we really are amazing! However, recognize that that often leads to an inflated ego and unrealistic expectations. 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. Be kind to yourself if you don’t achieve exactly what you want at the exact time you want it. Actually, be kind to yourself always! 

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. It doesn’t. So set a schedule where you have set hours to work and play. Make a to-do list the night before, and prioritize your tasks for the day. Set times to sit at your desk, make those phone calls, along with playtime and nap schedules.

Feel free to try and roll with the punches, but I am here to save you from my mistake. Now, there is no one perfect schedule for everyone to follow, so make it work for you and your family.

Tip 3: Fill your own cup!

Once you combine your work and home life, suddenly you will realize that you have completely lost yourself through the whirlwind. I cannot stress the importance of self care. Most will say taking yourself on a date at least once a month, but for me, it has to be a daily thing.

I choose to wake up before my family, in order to achieve this. It gives me my coffee in silence, time to read a positive intent for the day, exercise, shower, and get myself ready before I get everyone else ready. I am not a morning person, but that hour to myself is a crucial piece of my sanity.

Like I said, there is no one-size-fits-all schedule, but this is my personal way of ensuring I always have daily time for me and I urge you to take time daily for yourself too, even if it’s a solo trip to grab a coffee. 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. Throw stuff into a crock pot at breakfast time so your lunch is ready to go. Get your partner 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 stress of the “What am I going to eat next?” complex, but 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. 

Your family can’t read your mind (if they did, there would be more naps in the house). Communicate your schedule with your partner and your kids. My children know when I am on my computer I am working, and when the “Cars” movie is done, they can talk to me. My husband knows ahead of time when I have stuff set aside for work for when after the kids go to sleep, or when I am behind on chores so he can help.

This also goes beyond our immediate family, I encourage you to 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 me more productive.

Tip 6: Stay positive! 

So maybe we’re a little nuts for taking both the crazy of the working world, and the crazy of raising a family and mixing it all together, but stay positive. You are doing the best you can, and that’s awesome! Having the worst of both worlds, also means the best of both worlds.

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