Life with kids is hectic. It doesn’t matter whether you are a stay at home mom, work at home mom or you work outside the home. If you have kids, you have chaos.
Today though, I want to talk about the chaos we work at home mothers deal with. Think about all you have to do in a day: meals to prepare and clean up after, kids to take places, and to make sure they are dressed, clean, loved, and have their homework done. Then there is the house to take care of, and laundry to do. Sometimes it’s hard to find time to actually work on your business.
Being home makes it too easy to be distracted by all these other things that need your attention too. Believe me, I have been there. I have been running a business from home since the early nineties. Sometime I also held a full or part time job. And I was raising 3 kids at the same time. And we always had multiple animals too.
Now, with only one child left at home, and he is in college, things should be easier right? Well, they are a little but not all that much. I still watch my granddaughter almost every day and a few nights too. She is two. Need I say more? I also am my elderly mother’s caretaker and actually she is more work than the toddler. And we still have multiple animals. Right now I have 4 dogs and 2 fire bellied Asian frogs. So life is still pretty hectic here.
But I still manage to get work done. I have had 20 years in learning how to do that, even with lots of activity and distractions going on here at my house.
The first thing you have to do is have your mind set on doing whatever it takes to make it all work. That means you may have to sacrifice sometimes.
I don’t watch much television, except for a few shows during the week that I like to watch with my family. Sometimes if I’m doing mindless work, I will have the TV on in my office. Or I’ll listen to music or to podcasts. If I’m doing anything that needs my full concentration, I won’t have anything on.
Often when I am watching TV with my family, I’ll bring my lap top out and do mindless tasks like checking for bad affiliate links or doing maintenance work on my sites.
With meals, I have other family members make dinner one night a week. I always have a meal plan in place ahead of time so there’s no wasted time trying to find something to make for dinner or having to make a last minute dash to the grocery store.
I do a lot of meals in the crock pot. It’s so easy to put the meal together in the morning and have it ready that evening. I also sometimes make a double batch of whatever I’m making and freeze the second batch for later in the month. I do have one night a week (Friday) where we pick up fast food for dinner.
For cleaning, I have a ritual. Mondays mornings, I dust, sweep all the floors and mop them. Tuesdays, I clean all the bathrooms. Wednesdays, I sweep again (4 dogs, lots of dog hair). Thursdays I work on whatever organizing project I have planned. I do all this the first hing in the morning and it usually just takes an hour.
I also try to keep ahead of things. Whenever I walk through a room, I pick up anything I see that shouldn’t be there. Before I got to bed, I load the dishwasher and so a 5 minute walk thru to make sure everything is in it’s place. Just little things like this keeps things from getting out of control.
When I had a full house, I did laundry everyday. I would bring down a load in the morning and when I took a break an hour or so later, I’d throw the load in the dryer. After lunch, I’d put the dried load away. I still do laundry this way but now I just do it 3-4 times a week.
I work whenever I get a free 15 minutes. I try to do my work in 15 minute increments when I don’t have several hours at a time to work. You would be surprised how much you can get done in 15 minutes.
If the baby is napping, I work. After the dinner dishes are done, I work. I often will work late into the night and sometimes I will get up earlier than everyone else to get a few hours of work done in peace.
When my kids were younger and home during the summer, I’d work in the morning while they would play on their own. They also had a few simple chores to do during this time. Then after lunch, we would do something fun. Sometimes we did a craft or went to the park. Sometimes we’d go to the beach, or to a movie. When they had something to look forward to, they would give me that time to get some work time and most of the time, they behaved well.
Keeping us all on this loose schedule seems to work best when you are dealing with children. We all know how fast things can change. The need to be flexible is important.
Now with young children, like my 2 year old grand daughter, it isn’t as easy to work but I still manage to work some with her here. Like I mentioned before, I will work when she naps. I also will do some easy work on the lap top while sitting out on the deck and watching her play in her playhouse or sand box.
And I bought her own little Fisher Price desk that I put beside mine in my office. She will “work” while I wirk. I let her watch videos or play games on my ipad. She can work that ipad as well as I can. It’s amazing watching her on it. She also has paper and crayons so she do her “paperwork” while I am working. Our “office time” will last between 30 minutes to a few hours, depending on her mood. I can usually get a lot done in that time.
Most people think that when you are working from home, you have loads of free time and are just laying on your couch eating bon-bons. Actually it’s hard work to keep life balanced and in control. I’m here to tell you it can be done and after awhile it will become second nature to you.
Do you have any hints and tips on how you keep your life running smoothly? I’d love to hear. Leave a comment and share!