Do you want to be a work at home mom?
It sounds dreamy, doesn’t it?
…Rocking the mom bun and snuggling a baby while making boatloads of money as an Instagram Influencer or Youtube star while surfing Pinterest for content ideas in yoga pants…
That would be the life, am i right?
But can I be real with you?
Working from home is not all that dreamy.
And if I wrote a piece telling you it was? Well…that would be like using a Snapchat filter and advertising it as my real face… #misleading.
Working from home does have perks, but I think you should know the TRUTH before you take the plunge yourself…
So, what makes me qualified to write this article, you ask?
Well, I’ve spent the last three years working from a makeshift office in the corner of my dining room and I’m about to dish on the good, the bad, and the ugly…but first…
Before the Industrial Revolution, motherhood looked about the same for everyone here…
All moms took care of their homes and their families…Made sure they were clothed, fed, and healthy.
Women helped nurture their families and taught their children…
But post Industrial Revolution, motherhood started to evolve.
More and more moms began working outside the home due to rising costs of living and Madison Avenue convincing us we need more stuff to be happy…
Now we’re seeing another trending change…
You’ve probably noticed it.
With rising childcare costs, many families are choosing to live on one income instead of working to pay for their kids to go to daycare.
But with that decision comes a sacrifice…
Due to the financial straps of living on one income, and the stressors of being isolated from the rest of the adult world, many moms have turned to a mompreneur lifestyle to help support their families and reconnect with their communities.
P.S. Why in the world aren’t we talking more about how dang LONELY motherhood can be??
I mean, I thought motherhood would look like day after day of this…
But it ended up looking something akin to this one on repeat…
And after working alongside many of these newly founded mompreneurs, I realized that we all have the same battle cry…
We need something of our own…
Something beyond motherhood.
We called out and opportunity answered…
From Etsy stores that sell handmade goods to lifestyle blogs for every occasion, the Mompreneur Revolution is in full swing.
Now you can’t throw a rock on Pinterest without seeing promises of being able to “Make Money Working from Home Today!”
This is the new American Dream.
And since it is being sold so hard these days, it’s high-time someone tell you what you’re really in for if you become a work at home mom.
Diffused Awareness is basically just a fancy term for what makes you good at being a mom…
And it’s what allowed our ancestors to find the ripest berries while making sure their kids weren’t eaten by predators…
But every up has a down, and the down here is that WE SEE EVERYTHING.
We see the dishes that need washed, the laundry that needs folded, the legos and trucks and barbies and dress-up stuff that no one is playing with, but is still scattered across the floor…
We see it all…
And though it’s a built-in safety system, Diffused Awareness can be a pain in the butt when the place you work is also the place you live.
The Tip: Create a workspace where you are as isolated as possible from the to-do’s that are “yelling” at you.
Now listen, I realize that may seem like an impossible task. Maybe you don’t have the space for a home office (Me either…Like I said, my “office” is in my dining room.)
However, it is possible to create a work nook where you’re not facing the rest of the living space, and that makes all the difference in the world.
The Truth: If you’re like me and have some kids that aren’t school-age yet, then that means that they work from home, too.
The top stressor that I hear when working with other mompreneurs is that it is difficult to balance the responsibilities of motherhood with the responsibilities of business…And that struggle is no joke.
Working from home requires you to put in lot of hours, especially if you are hoping to produce an income.
But our little guys don’t understand what we’re up to…
The Tip: The best way to balance this is by creating time and space for play.
Working from home requires boatloads of self-discipline. And by setting a clear schedule for yourself and your kids, complete with play breaks, you lessen your mom guilt and help establish expectations for when you are available.
I take play breaks with my boys (who are 5 and 3 right now).
It’s kinda like going to the break room at the office…except instead of grabbing a vending machine snack and sharing gossip at the water cooler, you are reading a book, coloring, or playing a quick game.
Speaking of…It’s time for me to take a play break now. I have a build-the-train-set date with these two…BRB…
And the good news is, since I spent some time showing them the attention they wanted, both of my boys are now playing happily together in their room singing “The Wheels on the Bus,” and I’m back to work with minimal distractions.
The Truth: Four words…
(OMG guys, both of the boys literally just came to my desk asking this question…I can’t make this stuff up.)
The Tip: Keep snacks they can grab on their own (a piece of fruit, pretzels, juice boxes, etc.).
They still need to ask permission, but after you give the go ahead, they can grab their own pre-approved snack from the pantry. (Bonus…you’re training them to do things for themselves!)
Make sure they have a water bottle, too. This easily saves you 100 trips to the kitchen a day.
The Truth: Like I said, being a work at home mom usually means that you aren’t home alone…
You probably have at least one kid at home with you at all times.
And do you know what that means?
It means there is always something going on…and there’s always a mess to clean up.
This was my biggest struggle after transitioning from the workforce to being at home with my kids. No matter how hard I worked, there was always something un-done…
I spent days overwhelmed by anxiety because my whole life was spent picking up after my family.
But over the last decade, I’ve trained myself to breathe through the chaos so that I can actually enjoy this stage of life.
The Tip: We’ve already talked about arranging your workspace in a place where you don’t have to look at the crazy…But what else can you do?
You can adopt the Start & End Rule.
That just means that you start and end the day with a clean house…But in between? Well…
…You seriously lower your standards.
If you want to work from home without being overwhelmed, then adopt the habit of starting and ending your day with a tidy house, and understand that everything in between might be chaotic, but it won’t last forever.
And if the messes start to mess with your focus, then set a 5-minute timer and call a house-wide pickup.
Need some extra motivation? Pretend someone is about to show up unannounced!
The Truth: When you’re a work at home mom, you don’t ever clock out…EVER.
There is no 5:00 wrap-up that signals the end of your workday, and you are always “on.”
This lack of separation can be extremely overwhelming and make it feel like you never have a break.
The Tip: Set a daily habit for the end of your workday that helps transition to family time.
The end of your workday may vary day by day or project by project, but when you have a ritual that signals to your mind and body that you are transitioning from work tasks to family time, you don’t feel the constant pull to get back to that unfinished task.
Even if it just means going into your bathroom and taking a few deep breaths and washing your face or changing your clothes…
Having a short transition in your day, no matter how small, will signal to your body & mind that work is over.
This will help create the same separation that a commute provides for people who work outside the home.
The Truth: Being at home with unlimited wi-fi and unrestricted internet usage can mean access to a plethora of possible distractions…
But streaming shows or scrolling Facebook is a slippery slope straight down to Unproductive Town.
The Tip: Here’s the thing…When I watch a show or a movie, it shuts down my motivation to do anything else.
I go into Netflix & Chill mode and the only thing that resets me is sleep…
For that reason, I have set up standards for myself to protect me from my own laziness.
Until my work day is done, I do not watch anything.
I really love having something to entertain me in the morning while I get ready, but since it is hard for me to break away once I’ve started, I start out with one of my favorite podcasts instead.
This keeps me from turning one episode into a massive binge watch when I should be working.
So the rule is if I’m not learning something, then I don’t watch it until after work is done.
The Truth: Pajamas are the bomb dot com, but wearing them all day will keep you from reaching your top levels of productivity.
Now, I’m not going to lie. Every once in a while, I stay in my jammies and sit down at my desk to check something…
Inevitably, I get distracted by a task and it will be a few hours later before I get up and get ready.
When that happens, there is a big difference in the quality of my work.
The Tip: Get dressed first. When you feel put together, you feel more powerful. And being a mompreneur requires you to summon all. the. power.
I love this excerpt from The Magic of Thinking Big,
Look important; it helps you think important.
Your appearance talks to you. Be sure it lifts spirits and builds your confidence.
Your appearance talks to others. Make certain it says, “Here is an important person: Intelligent, prosperous, and dependable.”
David J. Schwartz
The Truth: When you work from home, there is no one there to monitor your behavior. And as freeing as that sounds, it can make you sloppy.
The Tip: More boundaries…Make your list for the day and don’t allow yourself the reward of “time off” until you big items are done.
Not having a boss requires you to focus on the right things…
What are the tasks that will move your business or project furthest today?
When you start your workday by answering this question, you effectively avoid the “freedom vacuum” where time disappears due to the lack of proper boundaries and structure.
The Truth: When you spend your days working from home, you do a crazy amount of sitting…Even when you have kids to care for.
And your body wasn’t designed to sit all day.
The Tip: Make it a habit to do PT time.
Whether you are going to the gym, doing an at-home workout DVD, or practicing yoga on Youtube, find something that keeps your body moving to avoid developing back pain and weight gain associated will the all day sit.
The Truth: Working from home isn’t always treated with the same respect as working outside the home…
You might find that you get called on to help friends or family because you’re “not working.”
This calls for very clear boundaries.
The Tip: Practice saying NO.
Y’all, I’m a recovering people-pleaser and I still struggle with this at times.
But learning to guard your time is essential if you want to be successful at working from home.
And don’t you dare feel bad about it…
You have to treat working from home like a career, and no one would ask you to take time off from your office job in the middle of the day.
People treat you like you treat you, so treat yourself and your new work-from-home position with RESPECT.
Whether you’re starting a new business or working remotely from a company, these tips will help you manage your time and balance your responsibilites.
Will it make you successful without a doubt?
But it will go a long way in setting you up for success.
Let me be clear…I don’t get it right every single day, and there are plenty of days when I struggle.
Sometimes the only way to get anything done is to let them watch Baby Shark videos on Youtube…and that’s okay.
But on the easy days and the hard days, these tips will help save your sanity!
Share this article with her now and make her life easier.
And do you have a tip or struggle that I didn’t mention? I’d love to hear about it. Tell me in the comments now!
***Like what you read? This article was originally published here.