Let me preface this by saying, I know how lucky I am. Working from home while my children are young is the perfect balance for my family in this stage of my life, and I am grateful each day (well, most of them), for the opportunity to do so.
Working from home, and the opportunity for flexible working hours is increasing in popularity, as workplaces realise the value in helping their employees through the juggle that is working with a family in tow.
Working from home sounds like a dream, right? No traffic, sweatpants, and no line for the coffee machine! Errr, yep. And making breakfast, and second breakfast, and morning tea, and wiping noses (and bums!), and you get the drift.
So how can you survive, and even thrive amongst the chaos?
1. Learn to say NO
No, I will not mind your children since I’m at home.
No, I cannot chair the Mothers Group meeting.
No, I can’t bake cookies for Martha’s birthday. And so on, and so forth, until the end of time.
WAHMs often feel caught between worlds. We don’t quite fit in with the working mum’s, and sometimes it’s hard for us to explain our situation to the SAHMs too (full disclosure, I don’t know how ANY mums can fit those things in, so props to you if you do).
One of the best things about a work from home role is being able to schedule your life around your commitments, but that doesn’t mean you can do everything you are asked. Don’t feel bad about saying no to non-urgent tasks so that you can rest, work, or spend time with your kids.
2. Make hay while the sun shines
Literally, in my case. Learn what works for you, and run with it. I work best in the mornings and often aim to rise before my children to complete a few hours of work before the craziness of the day descends upon us.
I usually work in the evenings as well, but it’s like swimming upstream, and what my post-coffee morning brain could handle in an hour, my night-time brain usually suffers through in around three.
3. Schedule blackout time
Flexibility is great, huh? I can work anywhere, anytime. And clients, they know that. Which is sometimes not so great.
When the demands of work, life, and children become too much, and I find myself becoming frazzled, I know I need to turn my phone off and spend some quality time with my loved ones, or myself.
4. Pick your battles
Figure out where you can drop the ball, and lower your standards. Nope, lower. A little lower still. You can do anything, but not everything.
Having my children at home whilst I work has taken the cleanliness of my home to a level beyond my wildest dreams of low standards. Sometimes my 4yo watches more PJ Masks than I’d care for, and my 2yo enjoys getting into more mischief than my inner helicopter Mum would like.
At the end of each day though, when I look back over the moments I’ve been able to share with them throughout the pockets of my day, I feel nothing but gratitude. Well, gratitude, and the realisation that I desperately need to vacuum.
5. Remember your 'why'
Whether it’s passion for your work, financial gain, or flexibility, on the hard days, remember why you accepted (or sought) this opportunity in the first place.
Although often challenging, working from home can give you the kind of balance many families only dream of.