Working from home with little ones running around is no easy feat. It’s amazing how such an experience opens your eyes to the luxuries of working in an office. I remember sitting down at my desk and literally just working on a project for hours, uninterrupted. I can’t even imagine what I could accomplish now with that kind of freedom. I wouldn’t dream of going back to 40 hours in an office and an hour commute each way, but working from home would be near impossible without these helpful homemaking tips for the work at home mom.
9 Homemaking Tips for the Work at Home Mom
Know your worth
Before you even begin to create a homemaking schedule or attempt to balance work life and home life, you need to know your worth. Even if you don’t bring in any income for your family but are in the beginning stages of starting your own blog or business, you are working to create something great and improve the quality of life for your family.
The fact that you manage to do anything beyond caring for your children and maintaining the home is impressive. Being a mom is a full-time job and being a work at home mom is overtime. Don’t talk yourself into believing that your goals or ambitions are not providing value, or that your part-time work at home job is insignificant. Know your worth and own it. Without confidence and self-love, this great challenge will be far more difficult and your chances of success are slim to none.
The first step in almost any schedule or routine is to prioritize. Evaluate what your daily homemaking requirements are and prioritize them in order of importance. The tasks at the bottom of the list should be ones that won’t cause a problem if they don’t get done every single day. At the top of the list, the absolute number one priority should be YOU.
There’s simply no way to take on this heavy workload without taking care of yourself. Make sure you get in a shower each day, nourish your body with healthy food and maintain a certain level of physical fitness, even if that just means going for a walk each day.
Not only will this help to keep you feeling good enough physically to manage everything, but it will also encourage good mental health, which you’re definitely going to need.
Take advantage of your mornings
Mornings are a mom’s best friend. If you aren’t a morning person, I recommend becoming one. It’s easier than you think. Make sure to go to bed at a reasonable hour and start forcing yourself to wake up early – before the kids. It won’t take long to get into the habit and, trust me, you’ll begin to appreciate that time.
Make yourself a cup of coffee, breathe in the silence, and tackle those top priority items on your to-do list first thing. If you’ve already checked off your most important task, or at least made a dent in it, before you have to start momming for the day, you’ll be starting your day off great. This will increase your motivation and reduce the overall stress level for the entire day.
Don’t let things pile up
While doing the dishes may not be at the top of the priority list, it’s just one of those things that comes back to haunt you if you don’t get it done sooner rather than later. Take care of tasks before they pile up.
Throw in a quick load of laundry mid-week rather than saving it all for the weekend. Rinse off dishes as soon as you are done using them. Keep some Clorox wipes in the bathroom and give everything a quick once over after your daily shower. These things take relatively little time and effort and will prevent a heavy-duty task later.
A cluttered or dirty home usually leads to lower productivity and less motivation. Maintaining a certain level of cleanliness can keep you from feeling overwhelmed so that you can focus on what you need to do.
Whenever possible, batch your tasks. Efficiency is key when you need more hours in the day than you actually have. Clean the kitchen while you’re cooking dinner. Clean the bathroom while you’re getting ready. Get in your workout while you’re taking your little one to the park. Any time you can combine your homemaking or to-do list tasks, you’ll be doing yourself a favor.
This applies to your work at home tasks as well. As a blogger, I try to batch my writing tasks, design tasks, and social media/marketing tasks. The less bouncing around I have to do the better. When your mind is already in the zone of one particular type of task, you’ll be more efficient sticking with it rather than switching gears every fifteen minutes.
For me, batch tasks work best when I know I will have a set amount of time to focus. I’ll often try to batch all of my writing tasks for the early morning or during my son’s nap time, when I know I will have a decent window of uninterrupted time.
Schedule a homemaking day
Speaking of batching tasks, I highly recommend scheduling a homemaking day every week. Designate time to put down your work and just focus on the home. I often find that when I do this, I don’t need an entire day. I can accomplish quite a bit when I make cleaning my entire focus.
Taking the time to do one thorough cleaning each week makes the other cleaning tasks so much easier. If anything has started to pile up, despite your efforts, you always know that you have this day to get it taken care of.
When your homemaking day is done, you can truly take your mind off of housework and focus on whatever else it is that you need to get done without that nagging voice in the back of your mind saying “you really need to clean the shower.”
Just because you work at home rather than in an office all day doesn’t mean that you should be solely responsible for every homemaking task. Delegate some of the responsibility to your family! Ask your husband to cook dinner once or twice a week. If your little ones are old enough, assign certain chores to them.
At the very least, make sure your family is pulling their weight with the little things. Whoever uses the last of the toilet paper should replace the roll. If someone eats the last yogurt they can write it on the grocery list. If they drop or spill something, they should clean it up!
It’s amazing how many of these little things add up if you allow yourself to be responsible for everyone else in every way. Not to mention, it’s important for your kids to learn that the world won’t pick up after them. And your husband, ha!
Give yourself time off
Remember before you had kids when you worked in that office? What did you do at 5:00 each day? How about on the weekend? Probably whatever you wanted to do! Now, once you enter the world of parenting, it’s not that straightforward, but you still deserve time off. Give yourself off-the-clock time.
If the end of your “workday” is 7 PM and there’s a dish in the sink, leave it. If you decide that you don’t work on Saturdays, then seriously, don’t work. You’ll still be a mom and you’ll still have to make sure that things don’t completely fall apart, but your to-do list shouldn’t be the priority on your day off.
Related Post: 7 Ways to Treat Yourself Without Feeling Mom Guilt
Ask for help
I’ll admit, this last one isn’t a strong suit of mine. I tend to take on the world and never ask for help. This is partly because I don’t want to inconvenience others (or feel like I owe them). and partly because I am a perfectionist and I want everything done a certain way. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only mom who is like this.
While it’s often hard for me to take the initial leap, whenever I do finally ask for help, I’m always glad I did. I’ve learned to appreciate that things are done. Even if they aren’t done exactly how I would do them, the burden of having to take care of that task is gone and that’s a beautiful thing.
Ask your friends or family to help you with a big homemaking project, or to watch your little ones while you work at home. Ask your husband or kids to tackle something around the house so you can get some quiet time to get caught up on something else. If you have the funds for it, hire a cleaning service or a babysitter one day a week.
One last note
Go easy on yourself. Some days are just going to be a disaster. Before I had my son I was all about perfect routines and schedules, and I still try my best, but kids change everything. If my son has a bad day due to teething or not feeling well, that perfect daily schedule I had planned goes right out the window. The best advice I have ever received is to just take one day at a time. What can I do right now, in my current situation? You can only do what you can do. Just keep chuggin’ along!
For those days when the to-do list just isn’t getting done, check out my post on 6 Secrets for Making it Look Like You Do It All as a Stay at Home Mom.
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