Working at Home with Kids: Ways to Make It Work for You

Motherhood is an all-consuming role and it’s all too easy to feel like you’ve lost a bit of yourself in the transition. Finding meaningful work is one way that many moms look to regain a bit of personal independence, with many looking for flexible positions that allow them to work around their family’s schedule. But when you have been out of the employment game for a bit, it can be overwhelming to navigate the uncharted territory of work-life balance.

Here are a few ways to make it easier to work while also staying home with the kids:

Find Flexible Work

This part may be easier said than done, but finding the right work opportunity is essential. First, determine how much time you have available that you’d like to devote to work. For many moms trying to balance staying home with the kids and working, this will typically be around 20 hours a week or less.

From there cull your network to find out if anyone you know has an inside scoop on any opportunities that you might be a good fit for. Chat up the moms at school pick-up to find out what they do that allows for a flexible schedule. Word-of-mouth referrals are more effective than searching aimlessly online.

Keeping an open mind to all of the possibilities is key. For instance, you may not aspire to be an entrepreneur, but you may find your niche by starting your own business through a direct sales company if you are really passionate about the products. You may have thought “what is Amway?” when you first heard about your friend’s side hustle, but then found that their products were the perfect fit for your needs. The ideal opportunity could be right under your nose.

Create a Schedule

Once you find the right work opportunity, set yourself up for success by creating a daily schedule and sticking to it. Many work-from-home parents find that early mornings and evenings are ideal times to get a jump on work while the kids are sleeping. If your kids are in school or if they are young and still nap throughout the day, these hours can provide an extra opportunity to work without necessitating paying for childcare.

Schedule everything that you need to get done each day, not just the time that you plan to spend working. Allot time for cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, extracurricular activities and self-care like exercise. Scheduling your daily expectations for yourself will make it easier to be as productive as possible.

Working from home can be a big adjustment; often it feels like you are being pulled in different directions, unable to give anything 100 percent. Ease the adjustment by hiring a babysitter for a few hours a week to help you and your kids get adjusted to your new responsibilities. While you may feel like you can do it all on your own (and kudos if you can), having another adult around to keep the kids engaged will help you to really focus on your work and use your time more efficiently so that you’ll have more to spend with your family when the daily work is done.

Ask for Help

Despite the best laid plans, hurdles are always going to crop up here and there. Kids get sick, babysitters cancel at the last minute or work emergencies require you to work beyond your typical schedule; these things happen. Ease the stress by having a backup plan devised ahead of time. Keep a list of babysitters friends recommend and don’t hesitate to ask family and friends for help in a pinch. While you may feel bad about the inconvenience, they will likely enjoy the chance to spend some quality time with your children.

Make it as easy as you can for people to say yes to helping you. Offer a higher, last-minute rate for sitters or by bring your kids to a family member’s home rather than making them come to yours to watch the kids.

Juggling motherhood and work can be exhausting and stressful, but the fulfillment that doing something you love can bring you makes it worth it to try your hand at doing both. Like anything, it gets easier as you get used to the new routine so make a plan that works for your family and be ready to pivot and ask for help when the need arises.

 

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