That was a title I’ve dreamt of being able to call myself.
I’ve already left my corporate job years before I had a baby. So when I gave birth, I was already working at home. So it was dream come true. Now I can finally call myself a “work at home mom.”
I mused about the time I’ll be able to take care of my kid while working. Being able to homeschool while also catering to the needs of my clients.
And the possibility of traveling with my family while working. The laptop lifestyle.
And then my baby became a toddler. And I realized, how naive I was. Lol
There are days when I doubt myself if I ever made the right decision to work at home. Sometimes the feeling of overwhelm and mom guilt are just too intense I just want to cry.
Working at home with kids at home is crazy. Yes, it’s a dream come true for me. But it has its drawbacks. So here are practical tips you can do to keep your sanity while working at home.
1. Keep your expectations of yourself low
I know that doesn’t sound motivational. But that needs to be said.
We tend to set a high standard for ourselves. One mistake and we’re on way to Guiltlandia.
We expect that we should be able to juggle motherhood and work with ease. Have you seen one of those WAHM pictures on Facebook? The baby is all smiles and happy while seated on mommy’s lap. And mommy? She’s happily working on her laptop. Oh, such bliss.
But really, how often does that happen? I know that when it happens to me, it only lasts a for a few seconds! And then, next thing I know, I’m struggling to get the keyboard back from my toddler. So I go and try to play with him to distract him. Later I go back to my computer and work.
But then… what was I trying to do again?
Such is the life of a work at home mom. No matter how much you structure your day, there will be unexpected things that come up. Because life is not perfect. So lower your expectation of yourself.
There are nights when you plan to cook the most nutritious and hearty dinner, but you end up burning it or not even able to cook at all.
Some days you don’t get to shower.
Some days you get a migraine and everything on your to-do list is put on hold so you end up with a longer to-do list the next day.
Some days you just have to say to yourself, today, I got nothing done. I’ll try again tomorrow.
So keep your expectations of yourself low.
Emphasis on the word yourself, because we as moms tend to be so hard on ourselves. (I don’t know why that is. I mean, we’re kinder to other people other than ourselves. That needs to change.)
Expecting too much from yourself can result in frustration, overwhelm, and mom guilt. Know that you’re already doing a great job.
2. Get help
You don’t have to do everything yourself.
Delegate some of your work so you can free up your time. Hire someone to do some of the chores. Or, maybe you can get help from your parents or in-laws to take care of the kids for a few hours so you can focus on your work and finish on time.
If that’s not possible, maybe you can have an older sibling or cousin to play with your little one while you work on your computer. (As long as you’re able to supervise them, of course.)
There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. Working at home is hard and we all need the help we can get.
3. Don’t compare yourself with other moms
Everyone has their own burdens to bear. Someone might seem to get it all together but you just never know what they’re going through!
Instead of comparing yourself belittling yourself, recognize that you’re the best mom your kids do have and you’re everything they need. Stop comparing yourself and stop the mom guilt. Every mom out there has their own #mamablunder story. Forgive yourself and move on.
4. Learn to use a To-Do Later list
I am all about moms pursuing their own goals and dreams. But as a work at home mom, you already have a lot on your plate.
I’m not going to say just choose one and forget the rest. No. You can achieve as many goals as you like. Just not at the same time. Learn to embrace your seasons.
So prioritize your goals. Put some of them on your To-Do Later list. The world isn’t going to end tomorrow! And even if it will, it’s not worth it trying to cram all your goals in 1 year. You’ll end up not accomplishing any which can lead to mom guilt and frustration.
5. Have a support system
Have a support system both online and offline.
It’s great to know that you have someone who will listen to you when you’re going through a rough time.
Also, do your best to go out of the house and meet with friends once in a while. After spending your days with a kid, you need to talk to an adult, too!
6. Develop a hobby
I know, I know. You’re busy as it is and you don’t have time and have so much on your plate already.
But having a hobby can have great benefits, too.
My favorite is adult-coloring.
Maybe for you, it’s writing stories, taking photos, making scrapbooks, or bird watching. Anything that can take your mind off work so you can take some breather and relax, even just for a few minutes can do wonders to your sanity.
7. Take care of yourself
I recently realized that when I fail to shower, I get easily get cranky and lose my focus. Since I’ve realized this, I always try to sneak in a shower when my toddler is taking a nap. I need to it so I feel brand new and ready to tackle my to-do list.
So find that one thing that makes you feel energized. Maybe for you, it’s a quick exercise. Or, dressing up and applying makeup. Or maybe a warm bath with salt scrubs.
Do that thing that makes you happy.
Take care of yourself so you can better take care of your family and business.
So there you go. I hope these tips would help you keep your sanity. 🙂 A word of caution though. As helpful as these may be, you may not able to do everything in this list. And that’s okay. In a perfect world, WAHMS would be cooking the perfect meals, cleaning our houses until their squeaky clean, while homeschooling our kids and working at home full-time. Ah, and never letting the kids use a gadget.
But we live in a real world. And real life with kids is messy. Don’t be jealous of that mom blogger who seems to get her life all figured out.
What your family needs is you. Accept that life is not perfect, and neither should you.