Written by: Janice Russell
Being able to work from home and raise your babies at the same time can be extremely rewarding. However, rewarding does not always mean easy, and there will be days when you feel as if the only thing you accomplished was keeping your little ones alive. While lost days are normal — especially when children are young — they can interfere with your ability to earn a decent living. If hard days occur more often than not, it may be time to rethink how you go about the whole working-while-parenting from home gig. With a few tweaks to your approach, you can live up to your potential as both a parent and employee.
Set Up a Distraction-Free Workplace
First things first … Set boundaries between your home life and work life. The best way to do this is by setting up a distraction-free workspace. Find a room with a door — preferably a sunny one, as research shows that natural lighting can help boost productivity — and set up shop in there. If you cannot dedicate a whole room to your home office, you should, at the very least, have a desk that is yours and yours alone. This can help you set and maintain boundaries, as you and your family both know that when you’re at your desk, you’re working.
Assess Your Resources for Childcare
If you have a healthy support system, you can likely find one or two people who are willing to take your littles for a couple of hours a day or week. Determine how much help you need throughout the week, then develop a plan for how you will ask for it. While your mom might not be willing or able to watch your toddler every day, chances are she would be happy to step in one or two times a week, which can equate to hours of uninterrupted work time.
Prioritize Your Schedule
Creating and sticking to a schedule for your child is important. However, children are unpredictable, and there will be days when naptime is only one hour instead of three, or when your toddler refuses to play quietly for an hour. To make the most of your workday, prioritize your own schedule. This may look like doing one or several of the following:
• Wake up an hour or so before your child to get a head start on work.
• Stay up later to take care of tedious but necessary tasks.
• Make the most of nap time.
• Schedule breaks.
• Get the most important stuff done first, and vow not to stress about the rest.
Also, schedule time with your child. To achieve a healthy work-life balance and make the most of your opportunity to work from home, it’s important to prioritize time with your little ones throughout the day.
Take Care of Your Own Mental Health
Working from home with children is no easy feat. Take time to nurture your mental health, which can be as simple as eating well, getting plenty of sleep and going for walks.
If it’s your job that’s draining you, consider a career change. Enroll in an online degree program to advance your career goals and still be able to work full time and care for your children. Online programs span just about every industry and can open the door to several new opportunities.
Working from home with children is tough. However, with the right mindset and tweaks to your daily schedule, as well as resources from Balancing Life & Kids, you can reach your potential as both a parent and employee.