Working from Home with Little Ones Without Losing Sight of your Relationship

by TTMK on January 14, 2015 · 9 comments

The following post is written by Sarah Brooks

Whether you work from home and your partner works in an office or you both work from home, it can often be hard to separate work-life from home-life. I know this first hand, as I have been working from home for nearly three years. Add in two little ones to the mix, and it can be even more difficult to balance your work life with your personal life.

Tips on working from home with kids

Oh my—where to start. Working at home with kids is not for the faint of heart. It requires extreme organizational skills, the ability to be flexible (kids are unpredictable) and motivation on your part. To be successful in working from home, you have to want it—bad. Raising kids is more than a full-time job in itself, so adding working from home to your day will make you even busier.

I have two little girls, age two and one, and I do not receive any help with them as of now. I’ve been working from home since my oldest was a newborn. To make it work, I do these five things daily:

Wake up before my kids. The girls are normally up for the day by 7:30, so I set my alarm for 6:00 am every morning. This allows me time to have coffee, straighten up the house, check emails and write one article or blog post. By doing this, I can focus my full attention on them as soon as they wake.

Tire them out in the morning. Most days, I plan an activity in the morning to get them out of the house. Not only is it good for them to socialize and be active, but it also tires them out for their afternoon nap (critical if you work from home). We’ll go to the local library, meet with friends for a playdate, run errands or even just pop in an exercise video that they love to do alongside me.

Coordinate their naps. I put both my girls down for a nap at the same time so I can get some work done in the afternoon. My oldest doesn’t always take a nap, so she sometimes has quiet time in her room. If your kids don’t take naps, consider allowing them to watch a movie in the afternoon so you’re able to work.

Always work ahead. This has been a life-saver for me. With kids, you never know when someone is going to get sick, need more attention than normal or just be completely rowdy for the day. To give myself some wiggle room without stressing out, I always work ahead of schedule by at least two days. If something is due on Wednesday, I have it done by Monday. By doing this, I never fall behind on my work—even with a toddler and a baby at home!

Consider hiring help. I’m in the process of deciding this myself. Basically, if you can make more money than it costs to send your kids daycare, it’s probably worth it. Having your little ones in a daycare program a few mornings a week could be good for everyone!

Making your spouse a priority when working from home

Now, what about your spouse? As a work-from-home mom, I am usually very exhausted by the end of the day and sometimes have a little bit of work I need to finish once the kids go to bed. But, I know I need to make my husband a top priority in my life, and I like to think that I do.

First, if you don’t have time for your spouse, you’re overworking yourself. Sure, I have days where I need to work in the evenings, but for the most part I’m able to complete all my assignments before my husband gets home from work. My evenings are spent with my family and then once my kids go to bed, my husband and I make sure to spend quality time together.

Second, make your time together count. Whether I’m with my kids, my husband or I’m working, I try to make that time count. I can’t work productively if I’m on Facebook, texting friends or watching television. I also can’t count quality time with my husband as us sitting on the couch with our own computers. Some of our favorite activities include playing cards, cooking dinner together and sitting on our porch talking with a drink.

And finally, I involve my husband in my work. While he may not know every assignment of mine in-depth, he does have a general understanding of what I do, problems that arise and what my goals are. We are in this together—and without him supporting me, I wouldn’t be able to work from home while taking care of our daughters!

About the author: Sarah Brooks is a wife, mom of two and freelance writer, editor and blogger. She just moved to Charlotte, NC from Phoenix, AZ and is loving life on the east coast. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, cooking healthy dinners, spending time outdoors and finding new ways to save and make money.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Christina @ Embracing Simple January 14, 2015 at 11:59 am

This post really speaks to my heart! I’ve been struggling lately with how to make sure my Husband and I get quality time as well. There are so many evenings we find ourselves plopped on the couch with our laptops together….that does not make for good quality conversation or allowing the other to feel important.

I’ve also been considering hiring someone to help me with my babe; even just 2 hours a week would be so wonderful. I feel like I would be a better Mom too if I had some “me” time to get my work done uninterrupted.

Great post Sarah, thanks for the reminder that the relationship with your spouse should always remain a priority!

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Sarah January 14, 2015 at 4:17 pm

Thanks Christina for the sweet comment! Yeah – it’s all about balance and when it comes down to it, our husband’s and family are more important than work. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of that 🙂

One thing we’ll do is after the girls go to bed we’ll decide to spend 45 minutes (or however long) doing our own thing and then we’ll make sure to do something together – whether that’s playing cards, talking or even watching a movie. It helps to talk about it in advance!

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Christina @ Embracing Simple January 14, 2015 at 9:55 pm

So very true. When you’re passionate about what you do for work, it’s so easy to get caught up in it and forget to balance it well with family life!

That’s a great idea, I should talk to my Hubby and implement that too. We always have good intentions, but then before we know it the night is over and we’re both too exhausted to spend time together. We need to plan it out better!

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Jayleen @ How Do The Jones Do It January 14, 2015 at 1:28 pm

I’m still stuck on the fact you can write a blog post before the kids get up?! You must be a natural at writing! I don’t have little ones any more but the teenagers’ school schedule keeps me hopping. I have a good solid six hours to get stuff done. Sounds like a lot but, let me tell you, it FLIES by.

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Sarah January 14, 2015 at 4:15 pm

I can’t WAIT until my kids are in school!! I love them being little, but I also am looking forward to having time to work and get stuff done during the days. Trust me…if I had that time I would not be up writing blog posts at 6am 🙂

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DC @ Young Adult Money January 14, 2015 at 10:54 pm

Well I don’t have kids, but I am married. It’s not easy to balance everything, to be honest. With the blog there is ALWAYS something more to do. I should mention that I don’t actually work from home, except the work I do on my site outside of my 9-5. I do think there are trade-offs. It’s tough to get a ton of work done without sacrificing a bit of your relationship, social life, etc.

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Holly@ClubThrifty January 16, 2015 at 7:26 am

I work at home, but I do send my youngest to daycare while my oldest goes to school. I work a full 40-hour week and wouldn’t get as much done if they were here. I also make significantly more than it costs to send them, so it just makes financial sense.

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Jon @ Money Smart Guides January 16, 2015 at 8:26 am

I work from home, but we don’t have kids yet. If I am still working from home at that time, I think I will either get up before the kids to get some work done or stay up later and work at night. I will also be working ahead. I do this now and things occasionally pop up that make me thankful I did so. With kids, it will probably happen more often.

As for my wife, I make sure I make time for her. I have dinner cooked the majority of the time (unless we want a pizza, then she just picks it up on her way home) and I make sure I take care of a lot of the other things around the house.

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Little House January 16, 2015 at 8:44 am

Good thing your kids don’t get up at the crack of dawn! I think it’s awesome that you are able to get work done before your kids get up. I have trouble balancing work and personal life, let alone throwing kids into the mix. I’m just glad that after working with children all day as a teacher, I can come home to a quiet house.

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