By Zoe Clark
Reconciling work life and motherhood involves challenges but also enormous benefits—the main one being time with your children. They show you their pictures, play with you, and feel protected.
But kids also demand your attention and sometimes don’t like seeing you work on the computer. They need time and dedication, and your challenge is to find ways to work smarter to give them the time they deserve. How can you do that when you have so much work to do?
The key is to make the most of the hours dedicated to work so that it’s 100% productive. One of the main disadvantages of working at home are the many interruptions.
My name is Zoe, and my family consists of my daughter, Meggy, who is now 3, my husband Niguel, and our dog Rocket. When I had a baby, I was on maternity leave, as most women usually are. I tried to get back to work when Meggy was older, but I felt great remorse about leaving her and it did not work out. She was also sickly all the time, so it was even more difficult for me.
Fortunately, my job allows me to work from home, but I had to work really hard on making my work time productive. The organization and willpower to get all the work done were tough to start, but with some helpful tips, I believe every woman can be a successful work-at-home mom.
Define a specific place for your work
The space in which you work can largely define the quality of your work. Make sure the area you’ve chosen to work from home is dedicated solely to this purpose. Create your own office space and fill it with office furniture so that nothing can cause any distractions. This will improve your concentration and allow you to better organize your work.
Make a to-do list or schedule every day
Time management is perhaps one of the biggest challenges of working from home. Establish a routine like you would in any office and try at all costs to meet the goals you set for each day. Include spending time with your kids and housework in your routine however it works best for your family.
Your ability to stay competitive while working from home relies on your techniques and skills. That’s why it’s essential for you to grow your capacities and learn new things to provide more comprehensive services to potential customers or employers.
Use your time well
If you were in a regular office, you wouldn’t be able to spend all day on the phone or checking your social networks. If you want your work from home to be successful, you should avoid most of these distractions. Home-based jobs require the same dedication and commitment as any other work.
Seek help when needed
Sometimes the workload is too great and the time difficult to distribute among the family, household tasks, and work. When necessary, ask (or hire) someone to give you a hand with any of these tasks. The idea is not to overload yourself and get crushed by stress.
Set aside time for rest
Don’t just think about work. Naturally, you also need a little space to move, clear your mind, and stretch all your muscles. Since you have the autonomy to decide when you rest, give yourself a chance to recharge your energy during the day and become even more motivated to work and share time with your children and your partner.
Don’t confine yourself
Working from home can be as stressful as being in any other workplace. Make sure you still allow time for fun, to leave home when you need to and meet with people. In addition to your workplace, your home is your temple and you should not burden yourself all the time being within four walls. Try not to let go of family activities for work.
Look after your health
Eat well, try to stick to an exercise routine, and always watch your posture when working. Do not be stingy with the time you spend for yourself. Devote several days or several times a day to share with your family.
Mothers who choose to work from home in order to be with their children sometimes need to rediscover the pleasure of being with them, which for various reasons may become complicated. Sole dedication to work can make you tired and cause further exhaustion around children.
Before you take the step of working at home, prepare yourself for a constant companion. If your child goes to school, you’ll have more concentration while at work, and time to enjoy your child’s company later. In addition, the comfort of knowing that if your kid is sick or has a holiday, you’ll be available, is something to be grateful for. Above all, value your lead role as educator and mother. Concentration and planning are necessary in order to not waste time on things that don’t benefit you.
For successful managing of work time and family life, accept the fact that you can’t do everything perfectly right. Set your priorities, choose the activities that matter most, and give up the rest. One thing you must be clear about is that the life of a mother and a worker are perfectly compatible. All you need is to set up a good work-at-home system for yourself.
Zoe Clark is a proud mom of one baby girl and a miniature schnauzer. When not obsessing about designing perfect homes, Zoe is spending time with her family. She enjoys writing, cooking, traveling and loads of chocolate. You can find her blogging at Smooth Decorator.