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.