Being a SAHM is priority number one. I consider mom-ing, cooking, cleaning, and holding down the fort my primary job. And honestly, I don’t have a choice–#momlife takes up almost ALL my time. Can I get a witness?
Even though I wouldn’t have it any other way, I still like to have a work-from-home side hustle, a little something to give me goals and a purpose outside the routine of laundry and dishes. For me, this is Huntress At Home!
I have other SAHM friends who do things like sell Usborne books, Mary Kay, or, alternatively, work a part time job outside the home. They, like me, enjoy just having a little something they can call their own. Especially the ones with small children. Which brings me to the point of this post: it is REALLY HARD TO RUN A SIDE HUSTLE FROM HOME WHEN YOU HAVE SMALL CHILDREN. *Steps off soap box*
My 2018 Career Goals
I mentioned in my post on New Year’s Goals for 2018 that I would be expanding on my briefly stated goals for this year by writing more specifically about each one during the month of January. This post is a conglomeration of my 3 career goals and how I’m using them to help me work from home with small children:
1. Purge devices, apps, and online accounts, including working towards inbox zero.
I originally made this goal for 2017 and I got about half way into it. Getting a new phone was a catalyst for purging my unused apps, music, and photos. I got my inboxes to zero, but have since let unwanted emails creep in again. I still need to unsubscribe from SO MANY websites.
On the flip side, I also found 9 Apps that Helped Me Be A Slay-At-Home Mom.
2. Work ahead of schedule and write every day.
This is one of those classic mistakes I made as a new blogger when I started Huntress At Home: I started without a repertoire of posts built up ahead of time. I just logged on one fine day and said “Let’s blog!” Ooo.. Consequently, I have gone through dry spells of writing. Embarrassing to say I just spent five months without posting! But, ok, in my defense, most of that was due to morning sickness. Still, if I had done the smart thing and written ahead of schedule, I’d have had posts ready for those days crud got the best of me.
If you are a writer like me, you can check out my post How to De-stress the Blogging Process to see how I’ve learned to get over the hump that is writing.
3. Perfect methods for handbooks I’m hoping to write one day.
I have this dream of publishing several handbooks for different aspects of motherhood, among other things. Trouble is, I am still developing my own way of coping with the circumstances. This year, I want to spend time defining what works and what doesn’t and be that living example I want to write about.
So what does all this mean in terms of working from home with small children? Let me break it down into some tips for you.
Tips For Working From Home With Small Children
For a while it felt nearly impossible for me to juggle the constant needs of my toddler, the endless housework, and a wee bit of time for myself (and my husband?!). And then trying to throw the responsibility of consistently blogging on top of that??? Oh, and let’s not forget that there’s another bundle of joy on the way. How can one girl do it all!?
Enter a handful of things I’ve learned from other mom bloggers, pinterest articles, and personal experience that have helped me begin to succeed at the balancing act:
1. Streamline your online presence.
A while back, I wrote an article on Why I Gave Up Social Media. Among the reasons was the fact that it was a time-suck. Especially when it comes to maintaining Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram profiles in an attractive and timely manner. I spent copious amounts of time trying to craft the perfect posts to sell myself and then I would get sucked in to seeing what was going on with everybody else. I would end up spending less time actually WRITING than creating fancy posts–not exactly productive with the time restraints caused by having small children.
In the end, I decided to give up Facebook and Instagram and focus on Pinterest, which tends to be the MOST critical social media platform for bloggers.
It was literally one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Not only did I gain all that time back that the social media vortex was stealing from me, but I was able to focus more on content and less on trying to make myself look good.
I decided that if God wills, then my content and readership will grow without me having to sell myself. So far, my efforts have been blessed!
If giving up social media profiles isn’t for you, consider eliminating as many online accounts as you can live without. Consider unsubscribing from as much as possible so that less content is coming at you on a daily basis. Whatever you can do to cut down on busy work, such as deleting the same emails over and over, wasting time on addictive apps, or spending your energy on the least impactful tasks.
Trust me, working from home with small children, you can’t afford to let any of your work time be wasted on busy work.
2. Work ahead of schedule.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is to work constantly and consistently. Even if it’s for just a few minutes a day. Just logging in and creating a simple draft with a title and basic outline keeps my work momentum going. Simple steps like this have helped me to De-Stress the Blogging Process. I don’t necessarily have to spend two hours a day working on posts to stay ahead of the game. Some days I just spend ten minutes on maintenance tasks. The key is to just do something every day.
BUT in order to get to the point where you can “just do something every day,” you have to get over the initial hump of building up your reserve. For a blogger like me, that means I took some time to work intensely to build up a bank of posts that are ready for publishing. Then I am able to slow down and just focus on consistency instead of rushing and stressing to meet deadlines.
With small children, some days nap time might go on for 3 hours and you’ll have time to really chug some work out. Other days, you may only have ten minutes. As the old saying goes, “make hay while the sun shines” and you won’t be stressing on those days that time gets away from you.
3. Have your own space.
It’s critical to have a place for your work. Create a work space that is just yours and allows you to spread out, organize, and keep everything in one place. With small children, the house (well… mine at least) tends to stay scattered with toys and anything my toddler can get his hands on and throw. It helps to have a place you can go, even if it’s just a specific spot and not a whole desk or office, and call it your “work space.”
As my son has become more mobile, I have to work hard to keep all of my things together and organized, so I’m currently figuring out how to finagle my loft space into MY space for all my business affairs.
4. Work At Unconventional Times.
I’ve learned that working from home with small children means that I have to work at unconventional, predetermined times. Yes, I have to pencil it in ahead of time. And most every one else in the work world gets to spend their day working the ol’ 9-5 schedule, I typically have to schedule any work I want to accomplish in the wee hours of the morning or at night when I really just want to relax.
If you want to get things done as a work-from-home mom, you’re most likely going to have to get up at or before the crack of dawn and utilize your evening hours wisely. No more Netflix binging!
If there’s anything pressing I want to get done, I schedule it for first thing in the morning before my son wakes up. Otherwise, I typically get my mom and house duties done during the morning and daytime hours and reserve my heavy writing and editing tasks for after Short Stack has gone to bed. That means I tend to do most of my work between 8 and 11pm.
Yes, I know that sucks. That’s why I get my house duties over with early in the day, if possible, and try to use my afternoons as my relaxation time.
5. Just commit.
The hard truth is this: if you are going to work from home, something will have to give. Right now, I’m not meeting my sleep goals by staying up a little bit later to write this post. Some days writing has to take priority over letting myself veg in front of the TV. Some days I have to explain to my husband why the dishes are STILL stacked up on the counter.
You just have to commit and make your work a priority. BUT, don’t ever let it steal time away from the reason you stayed home in the first place. 😉
What About You?
If you’re a work-from-home mom, what are some things you’ve learned that have helped you succeed at the balancing act? How do these tips relate to your work if you do something other than blogging?