This is one of those questions that work at home moms (WAHMs) often ask themselves – in fact, it’s often something potential WAHMs ask before they even begin working from home: how are you going to balance work, home and family? No one is perfect at this, and no one has the perfect formula. But, there are some good tips out there on how to balance these important elements of your life. Here are some of those tips.
Organize Your Time.
As a mom, it can sometimes seem like everyone wants a piece of your time and attention every minute. It helps to look at time as a big pie – if you take out a piece now, that’s one less piece that you’ll have later. So, divide up the pie.
You can make a pie chart of your day if you want to, but a day planner or online calendar will work just fine. This might work best if you do it weekly rather than daily. And it does not have to be done in this order – just because business tasks are listed first here does not mean they are the most important. If family time is a bigger priority for you, then list it first.
First, list everything you need to do for your business that week, dividing it up into urgent priorities and not-so-urgent ones. Then estimate the hours that the urgent ones will take, and plug those hours into your work week. Those are the non-optional work hours. Then, plug in the less-urgent business activities – maybe using a different color – so you know those are not absolutely vital.
After that, make a list of household chores for that week – laundry, meals, errands, etc. Divide those up among the non-work hours. Take into consideration thinkgs like weekly events (religious activities, soccer games, etc.) that will require more laundry. If possible, set this weekly household task list up to repeat each week so these things will be on autopilot and won’t require re-scheduling each week. There’s no need to re-invent the wheel every week!
Make another list of family time. Do your kids go to school? Do you homeschool? What about family dinners and game nights together? What about a date with your spouse, or if your single, a date with a friend? Schedule in these social things into your calendar too, and rearrange accordingly. Maybe a non-vital business task can be set aside to spend some extra time with your kids this week.
Give yourself time off.
People who work in an office get weekends off. While you may not be able to spare two whole days every week, set aside time one day a week where you can rest and spend time with family. Organizing your time is fine, but a little down time can be therapeutic…even if you have to schedule it in!
Consider a mother’s helper.
Mother’s helpers can be such a help for busy WAHMs. Mother’s helpers come to your house rather than you having to drop your kids off with them. They are cheaper than a babysitter, and your kids still stay at home with you present. The mother’s helper can help out around the house, entertain the kids or even run a short errand.
Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Director of Communications for Our Milk Money, the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of Buy By Mom and Buy By Mom Blog. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.