Ding. An email notification sounds on my phone. I look down and see an email from a client with the heading, Content Guidelines Version Five. My heart sinks. I just got the hang of Version Four.
“Moooommmm!!!” My child is in severe distress—or the PlayStation controller just died. Same thing.
What is that smell? Oh yeah, I put a pizza in the oven for lunch and it is probably burned to a crisp.
Deadlines are pressing. Friends need a listening ear. Sleep is a distant dream, and I kind of want to lock myself in the bathroom for a few minutes. But I don’t.
In rapid-fire succession, I go from one task to the next and then enjoy a few moments of peace before another burst of chaos that always seems to come out of nowhere.
Ah, the life of a work-from-home mom. It’s stressful, but so worth it.
I’ve had my moments of doubt, that’s for sure, but there are some things I have learned that reduce my stress and help my kids feel more at ease too.
If you’re a work-from-home parent, maybe these tips will be helpful for you also.
Tip 1: A Good Day Begins the Night Before.
I know that everyone is different, but for me, few things feel worse than waking up to a mess because I feel behind before the day even begins. So, even though cleaning is the last thing I want to do at the end of the day, I do it anyway. At least most of the time. Some things I let go, but I try to keep up with the basics. I also try to reserve some time in the evenings for myself. That brings us to the next tip.
Tip 2: Self-Care Is not Selfish
Basic self-care is another must, and this is something we work-from-home parents often neglect because we feel guilty for taking time out for ourselves. This leads to burnout, and a burned-out parent isn’t good for anyone. So, think about it. What does self-care mean for you?
Maybe you spend some time in the evening reading, pursuing a personal goal, or maybe you catch up on some much-needed rest. Take care of yourself, then you will be better equipped to take care of everyone else. If you’re not a night person, then maybe an early start is best for you.
Tip 3: Rise and Shine!
I like to swipe snooze on my phone alarm as much as the next person, but I do my best to wake up early. Having an early start—before everyone else in the house is awake—helps me to get my mind right for the day. Once everyone is awake, things get busy fast.
Having some time to myself first makes such a huge difference because the kids don’t have to deal with a groggy and grumpy mom. This brings me to the next point. Kids need a happy mom. Enjoy your kids. They only get one childhood, and you don’t want to miss it!
Tip 4: Appreciate the Now.
As working adults, we can become so busy and distracted by the seemingly unsurmountable to-do list that we begin to view life as a series of jobs. At least, that’s how I am, and I found that this mindset does not always jive with raising kids. Kids are in the moment. They are spontaneous and the last thing they need is to feel rushed or dismissed by their fast-paced parents.
Slow down. Enjoy the moments. Set aside quality time for the kids that you can enjoy together. For more on the importance of regular, one-on-one time with your kids, you might enjoy this article.
Tip 5: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.
Allowing small things to go awry daily is one of the most freeing things I have done. Sometimes you just have to take a breath, appreciate the goodness of the moment, and move on.
Here is a good example. Childhood isn’t childhood without at least one joyful and uninhibited play experience with flour. This powdery and soft substance is so fun for kids, but as a parent who discovers that their two year old woke up extra early and scattered flour from one end of the house to the other, “fun” is not what comes to mind first.
Take a minute to see the world through the eyes of your child. Be in the here and now. Be with them and feel with them. Appreciate the magic and watch that frustration melt away. These moments are the ones you will remember and cherish.
Tip 6: Embrace the Mess.
There is no way that a person can get everything done every single day. Especially if you are working many hours a day, raising kids, and maybe homeschooling to boot. You have to prioritize, and sometimes that means letting messes go. This was soooo hard for me to come to terms with.
Toys on the floor won’t hurt anyone (most of the time). It’s okay if your clean laundry is still in the hamper or in a pile on your living room recliner. It’s okay to leave some dishes in the sink overnight. Even so, refer back to Tip 1. It’s all about balance and priorities with the ability to make small adjustments to fit the demands of that day.
Another lifesaver is to create a functional yet flexible schedule.
Creating a schedule for myself and for my kids has helped tremendously. Everyone knows what to expect and getting organized helps me manage it all without becoming overwhelmed. However, a realistic schedule allows for some flexibility including random bouts of spontaneity and fun.
If you are interested in how I create a functional and flexible schedule as a work-from-home mom and homeschooler, then subscribe to this blog. The next article I write will go into just that!