So all of a sudden we have all found ourselves confined to our homes. With our kids. 24/7.
But you still need to work? With the kids around. 24/7.
Seems impossible right?
Well I am no expert on organisation, I’m not some kind of super human nor do I have everything under control. Quite the contrary really. But what I will tell you is that I started my second year of my science degree with a 9 week old baby and I had my last class for that degree on her 3rd birthday. I went onto two more years of study and now have two children, run my own business from home and I am still sane (well mostly!). So working/studying from home with kids is completely possible and yes you (that’s right YOU) can do it, heck if I can, anyone can!
So I thought I would share my (totally not expert but just what worked for me) tips to help you be the ultimate work from home boss mumma!
So here goes!
1. Time: You are not going to get 3 hours of solid work time in during the day, its just not going to happen! I know there are many wahm (work at home mum's) who get up early and get a few solid hours in before the kids wake up and it works for them, but personally, that’s not something I can do. Then there is the other wahm ladies, and I probably fit more into this category, that stay up late and do it after the kids are in bed. These are both great options, but if you’re staying up late or getting up early every single day just to get work done and then looking after the offspring all day you’re eventually going to burn yourself out. So where is the middle ground? I’ve found that having your laptop/work handy and set up in the main room of the house is a great way to jump on and do 10-30 minutes here or there when the kids are happy playing. You will be surprised how much you can get done in that time, it forces you to procrastinate less and make decisions faster. Then set yourself 1 or 2 nights/mornings a week to knuckle down for a few hours. Working from home is a real juggling act, juggling getting enough work done versus spending that quality time with your kids. Be ready when they need you again, and they will, it could be 5 minutes it could be 50 minutes, be ready to jump in to break up a fight, give a cuddle or serve yet ANOTHER SNACK! Which brings me to hint number 2 – FOOD!
2. Food! There are two points I would like to bring up about food. First and I think this comes from the good old scouts ‘always be prepared!’. And by this I mean have snacks ready and prepared so older children can help themselves and when a younger child is crying out for food you’re ready and you can plop them down next to you and get in 10 minutes of work while they munch away on whatever tasty snack you have given them. Being prepared goes for your family meals too, breaky in our house is usually fend for yourself, well except the baby, she gets what mum has. But lunches I like to be a little more prepared and dinner I always have planned. Lunches I like to make bigger batches of things like pasta or rice and freeze them in portions, or if there's leftovers we have them for lunch the next day (quite often I actually plan this in to my cooking the night before - I will put an extra cup of rice or veg on to give us lunch the following day for example). Dinners however, I plan those, I plan the whole week and each morning I know exactly what I am cooking so that if things need to be defrosted this can be done. I also know exactly when I need to start cooking so I know I have time to do other things or use the cooking time to work. Now I am not perfect there have been times where it does get to 4.30pm and I go DOH! I forgot to get the meat out of the freezer or something. But for the most part my plan generally works! (Maybe I’ll do a blog about this later on?)
3. House keeping: and by housekeeping I mean cleaning up after the tornado of children. I am one of those if the house is chaos, the mind is chaos, kind of people. I need my house to be in order to focus on work, BUT with kids at home THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN! So, here’s what I do to help. Each morning after breakfast usually while the kids are pretty happy I will whip around in what I call the hour of power (not really an hour but 30 minutes doesn’t rhyme with power does it). I clean up the kitchen, attend to any washing, wipe over the bathrooms (including the toilets if they need it) then I run the vacuum around and spot mop any areas that need it. Then the house is ready for the day and ready for the children to destroy it once more.
4. Lastly, and this is the big one and probably the hardest to master – Lower your expectations! You can't be perfect at it all, all the time. Just do what you can, when you can and enjoy your time with your kids.
You got this mumma