Stay at Home Mums: How to Work from Home
In the best of circumstances, being self-employed and working from home is hard work. You have to manage your own time, escape the temptations of social media and Netflix, avoid the fridge like the devil. There is nobody to tell you if you’re doing well or not and there is nobody else to blame if you’re not doing well. Ad being a mum to that, and the task becomes even harder. Work at home mums are superheroes to me, the ones that do it successfully because, for me, even though I get a fair bit done, I am far from success still. I’m not going to lie, I don’t know what their secret is, but below is what I have learnt so far about being work from home mums.
Of course, working from home has its advantages too. It’s flexible, you work whatever hours you want. Nobody is breathing down your neck to finish this or that. You have full control of your business and how you manage it. You are, after all, your own boss.
Mums have it really hard. Yes, sure, we don’t have to go to work, where you’re, more likely than not, surrounded by idiots, and have to meet deadlines and do a job that you are not necessarily in love with. Actually, more often than not, you dislike your job. You don’t have the stress of being the bread winner.
It’s not Easy to be Stay at Home Mums
Well, here comes a secret. Stay at home mums have a much bigger concern. We have to keep [insert number that applies to you here] people alive. And not three (I’ve three kids) random people. Not three full-functioning people. Rather, three tiny, reckless daredevils who have no sense of self-preservation yet a huge sense of selfishness. It’s the way of nature, of course, but children will thoughtlessly throw themselves on the road at the least expected moment, grab something that’s been on the floor, under a cabinet, for a week and eat it, and demand, from the other end of the house, that you bring them… whatever, no matter if you just sat down for the first time that day or if you’re sitting in the loo.
While they are awake, you are constantly stressed. It’s not until they’ve gone to bed and they’ve finished calling you for the fifteenth glass of water that you can actually relax. At this point, you are exhausted, but you don’t go to bed, because it would feel like you are wasted your only time to yourself or with your partner, in going to sleep. So you stay up. Then you wake up tired. And the, repeat.
With all of that, you often feel bad because you’re not contributing financially to the family. This is an unrealistic thought. The saving in childcare alone is a contribution, but there it is nonetheless. I wasn’t raised not to work. My mother has worked all her life. I was raised to be an independent working woman. And yet life takes other turns. That is one of the reasons I decided to take my hobby, my dream, and work hard to make it happen. Whatever I achieve, at least I will not end my life wondering what I did with my time. Being working from home mums might be the answer.
A lot of working at home mums make it work. They might write, or they might make one or another product.
Whatever you choose, if you have kids, here are things you can do to make your time count. There is really only one secret.
Organization, Organization, Organization.
Sorry, it wasn’t anything flashy and miraculous. Unfortunately, it comes down to the three steps to get what you want: set a goal, plan how to achieve it, follow the plan. There is nothing else for it.
Sounds easy, but what sort of goals should you set? Should working from home mums have daily goals? Weekly? Monthly?
Well, all of the above.
When planning, you need to consider your goals. Now, logically, we tend to set the smaller goals. What do I want to have done for this week? But it is probably better to work backwards. Where do I want to be in 5 years? To achieve that, what do I need to have achieved in 2.5 years? And then in 1 year? Six months? Three months? Six weeks? Three weeks? This week?
Your small goals need to be targeted, otherwise you might find that you’ve worked for a whole years on goals that are not contributing to your final dream.
Keep a diary of your goals. Keep dates. Have your own achievement reviews. Pat yourself on the back for every milestone. Celebrate. Be proud of the work you’ve done. And keep thinking.
This might be the hardest part and the most tedious. Especially if you are just starting. It can be overwhelming. What do I do? Where do I start?
Research is a good place to start. Find other people who do what you do. Successfully, if possible. Find out what they are doing. Try things. Keep note of what work, what doesn’t. Look even at what big corporations are doing. Are they succeeding?
Buy a planner. A nice one, one that, when you see it, you want to open and check and work from it. Something where you can add a check list too. There is nothing more satisfying than ticking off items on a list. Get stickers, colourful pens. Anything that makes the task less dreary. But beware, working from home mums! If it’s too nice, your kids might get their hands on it. It’s a hard balance to get.
Of course, the cheap option is keeping a spreadsheet, and that’s absolutely fine, but pretty things make boring things easier to do.
Once you have done your research and you have a few strategies, consult your milestone dates. Which of those strategies should you use first to tackle your more immediate goals? Refer back to those goals often to make sure you’re on track.
And keep researching. Strategies change, the market changes. What worked yesterday might not work tomorrow. Plan time for research too, even if it’s once a year.
3.Stick to It
This is the tricky bit when you have kids. When do you find the time? Of course, if all your kids are in school, the answer is much easier.
But if not, here are some tips.
The Big things
My husband takes the kids away for a few hours on weekends. It’s mostly for me to relax and clear my head before I lose my mind, but I use this time to cover the big things. The blog posts and even planning in more detail what I am going to do during the week. This is also valid for that time after the kids go to bed. Anything that requires a lot of concentration will be very hard to complete if the kids are running around your legs.
The smaller things
If you have planned your week well, you might find that you can complete smaller things even while the kids are running around. Posting on social media, for example, might be done during the day, especially if you know what sort of things you want to post. Make sure the activities you keep for that time are not ones that require your full, undivided attention. They should be smaller tasks that allow you to attend to the kids’ smaller demands. For example, if you 2 year old is asking for the fifteenth piece of toast of the day, you might submit that last tweet and go and make the goddamn toast, so you can come back to do the next, before it’s time to make the sixteenth piece of toast.
Resign yourself to the fact that, sometimes, nothing will get done
There are always days like that. The kids might be sick, they might be having a bad day, you might be sick or tired. It can’t be avoided and beating yourself up for it will achieve nothing. Tackle the next day with energy and move on. Motherhood has demands, and, while having your own occupation is important, keeping the imps happy and healthy is the priority.
There are, sadly, no shortcuts to being a mum and working at home. Well, there are, but you need capital. There are plenty of companies and freelancers out there who will take care of your marketing, design, SEO and even accountancy. But they all need payed and, usually, when you start a business, you don’t have that sort of investment money. Hard works is the only way at the end. It’s also the most rewarding.
Keep them entertained for a while with free printables to colour in when you register to our Young Readers Club!