7 Tips to Be an Effective Work-at-Home Mom with Young Children
Working from home as a mom with young children is a constant juggling act. There are so many tasks that demand your immediate attention, and it can be overwhelming to say the least. Despite the chaos and multitasking involved, being a more effective work-at-home mom is possible with a little bit of creativity and planning.
Being at home with baby Jasmine has been a bit of a hit or miss. I have been working according to her schedule, when my husband gets home and a LOT on the weekends. As she grows, her needs change pretty rapidly so I’ve had to create a system that will work for all of us. Check out these 7 Tips to Be an Effective Work-at-Home Mom with Young Children.
Set a Schedule or Routine
Contrary to what one might think, a schedule and a routine are different. Which you use to help your day stay balanced and productive depends on your personal parenting and work style. A schedule is helpful when you have less flexibility when working from home. If you have a daily team meeting at 2 pm, a schedule is crucial to making sure you have enough quiet time and space to attend the meeting. Alternately, a routine is more of a guideline for how your various responsibilities should be handled and is less time locked. Routines tend to be better when you have more flexibility such as if you need to connect with your clients at some point during a 2 hour window that can be aligned to an imprecise nap time.
Invest in Mobile Tools and Devices
Being able to carry your work with you around the house is one of the biggest benefits of working from home. Invest in a laptop instead of a desktop computer and consider purchasing a tablet, as well. This type of mobility gives you the ability to multitask when you need to and switch between multiple work spaces (mentioned next) as needed.
Create a Work Space in a Communal Area
Having a work space in a communal area is an effective way to work from home with young children. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate set up or even contain all of your work equipment. A simple desk along one wall of the kids’ playroom or in a central living room stocked with pens and notepads is completely sufficient. You can even keep a low shelf or drawer stocked with sensory bins, toys, or puzzles to keep young children busy if they wander your way at a moment when you aren’t able to step away and redirect them.
Establish a Private Secondary Work Space
While you may be able to do much of your work while your children play around you, there are inevitably times when you’ll have to step away to work privately. Establish an area in your home where your family knows you cannot be bothered. This is also an area where you can keep work equipment that isn’t as child friendly as what is on your communal work desk.
Set Guidelines Around Your Working Time
Talk to your children about what it means when you’re working. Consider using specific phrases like, “Mommy is working now” or “It’s work time.” Older children will have a greater understanding of what you need when working from home, but even young children can use those verbal cues to understand when you can step away and play and when you need time to focus on a specific task.
Take Breaks Dedicated to Your Child
Working from home with young children is always somewhat of a juggling act, but you can work from home more effectively by alternating work, play, and domestic blocks of time. During a designated work block, focus on being as productive as possible for that period of time. Then, step away from work for 15 minutes to do an activity with your child, take a walk outside, or read a book together. After the next work block, complete a quick household task like loading or unloading the dishwasher, sweeping the floor, or throwing a load of laundry in.
Hire a Babysitter or Mother’s Helper
Sometimes the best thing you can do is not do it all yourself. Whether you need an extra pair of hands all day or just for a time of day that is most chaotic, hiring a babysitter or mother’s helper can be a cost effective way to add more productivity to your day and decrease your overall stress. Extra help is also beneficial to have someone pitch in on some of the domestic tasks you and/or your partner may not have the time or energy to do.
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