Somehow I manage to work from home, run a household, home educate Eloise and entertain a toddler 24/7. Written down, that sounds mental and quite frankly I don’t know how I manage to spin that many plates at once but I can tell you one thing and that is it involves very little sleep.
Ever since I had Eloise, working from home is definitely something that has always been on the agenda I just wasn’t sure what exactly it was I wanted to do. I have qualifications in the equine field and pre-kids that was the road I wanted to go down, I also have qualifications in media and photography which sat in the form of certificates in folders and it got to the point where I genuinely thought that none of my qualifications were worth it because every field I turned to involved literally nothing I had studied for.
It wasn’t until I started up this blog back in 2011 as a single teenage Mum, still in that first baby haze did I start to feel like the time I spent studying was coming into good use. Saying that I still really didn’t expect it to go as far as being an income, I mean I wanted it to but I guess I just didn’t really have enough faith in myself but fast forward and here I am!
Now when I said earlier about working at home whilst having 2 kids 24/7 involves very little sleep, I wasn’t joking. I rarely go to bed any earlier than 1am and I’m juggling at least 3 things at once and some days I near enough drown in my to-do lists (yes, multiple) but I thought I’d share some tips to making working at home with kids easier.
01. Have a designated workspace – Now we all know that with kids you’re going to be backward and forwards 120% of the time but having a nice, clear workspace to go back to will do you the world of good.
02. Choose furniture you love – I spent a good amount of time on Pinterest trying to figure out what kind of style I wanted my office to look like. I then spent a good amount of time searching for office furniture online and built up my own little space that I love. Having a space to go to will boost your productivity in the hours where your kids actually sleep.
03. Write lists – I have so many plates spinning that if I didn’t write the shit I need to do down I’d forget it in seconds. Lists, calendars, reminders, everything! I’ve recently signed up to Papergang so that is making all my stationary dreams come true.
04. Utilise nap time – Lily is nocturnal so this isn’t too much use for me but when she does nap I try and get as much done as I can. I will get Eloise doing her home ed work and I will work alongside her. If you don’t home educate or have a toddler that knows what sleep is then you’ll probably find this tip more helpful.
05. Give yourself breaks – The thing with working for yourself, especially when you have kids at home is that allotted break times don’t exist. Even if your break is getting away from the screen and wiping down the sink, making a cup of tea or getting the kids lunch then it’s better than nothing.
06. Pre-make lunches – Making lunches for yourself and the kids in the mornings or even before you go to bed means extra time to fit work in and also ensure you actually eat. It’s easy to just say you’ll grab something after you’ve finished a paragraph but we all know that paragraph leads to another and then somehow it’s dinner time.
07. Meal prep – This goes hand in hand with the above, prepping family meals where you can make dinner time less daunting and ensure you get a decent meal and not just a pot noodle at best when it’s past the kids’ bedtime and you forget you’ve not eaten.
08. Get out of the house – It’s very easy to become isolated as a work at home Mum, especially when you’ve got kids at home all the time. Even if it’s a walk to the village shop or to the local baby and toddler group; it’s easy to let the days go by stuck under mountains of deadlines and suddenly a week has gone by and you’ve not left the front door.
09. Talk to other work at home Mums – Find “your people” in person or online and chat to them every day. I have a little network of other bloggers who keep me sane on a daily basis.
10. Be strict with people – One thing I’ve found since being a work at home Mum is that people think you have all the time in the world, whether that’s for meeting up, lunches, coffees, and favours. I have two words for those kinds of people and they and “no hun”. Just because your office is part of your home doesn’t make your work any less important.
It’s no lie that working from home, especially when you have kids is a challenge but its benefits outweigh its downfalls by a long shot, for me anyway. It allows me to continue home educating Eloise and do a job that I love doing. The initial plunge can be a scary one but it’s one I couldn’t be happier with!