I’m a solo professional. A work-at-home mom. My kids go to school during the day, and for the first part of the summer they went to pre-school and daycamp. Obviously, my work hours coincide. Now, unexpected events are bringing them home for the rest of the summer. Eek! What’s a mom to do?
Well, there are several reasons why I wanted to go into business for myself. One of those reasons was flexibility for my family…to be available when they need me. Well, they need me now. My business also needs me, and my family relies on my business income.
Holy Moly, Now What Do We Do?
While of course there was the initial shock of “How in the world is this going to work?” I had to shake myself off, take a deep breath, and admit that there is probably a very good reason why these circumstances are my reality today. For me, after a three-day weekend by myself, I’ve come to realize that perhaps God gave me this gift as a way to say “It’s ok to slow down, give yourself some space, and spend more time with your kids.”
So many times, as entrepreneurs and small business owners, we just keep forging ahead. We’ve got goals to reach; clients to serve; deadlines to make; skills to learn; 50 plates in the air, trying to juggle each one. There’s spouses and children who need us; aging parents; church, community, and volunteer commitments; not to mention our own personal needs that so rarely get met. Did I make your head spin yet? Can you relate?
Well, I’ve been there and done that. I’ve decided to take this opportunity that I’ve been given and look at it as the breath of fresh air that I needed, and the door that will lead to new opportunities in my business as well. I’ve been given the chance to open up my day and spend it with three of the most inspiring, creative, and challenging individuals I know…my children.
And while that means I will be working a lot at night over the next 6 weeks (something I try to avoid) I can’t wait to see what creativity this new adventure inspires in me!
My 12 Strategies for Success While the Kids are Home:
1. Decide on a plan or schedule, in advance, with your spouse. Hammer out the details of when your uninterrupted work time will be. Divvy out family responsibilities.
2. Pre-schedule social media posts for the entire week.
3. Get out of the house. Make a plan for a morning and afternoon activity with your kids. Plan out the entire week. For example, we might play at the park in the morning, and go to the library for a fun activity in the afternoon. Don’t skip this! You must get out of the house at least once during the day.
4. Get up early (as usual), check email and make social media replies before your spouse leaves for the day.
5. Take a shower and dress for the day. Don’t be tempted to schlep around like you’re gonna clean the garage just because you’re home with the kids!
6. Keep a master calendar, and arrange for a babysitter (or to have your spouse at home) when you have a client meeting, a teleseminar, a networking event, or an important call.
7. Have a back-up plan in case something comes up with the business and you need someone to care for your children for awhile.
8. When you’re with your kids, be with your kids. When you’re working, be at work. I only check in with the business for a short time in the early afternoon while the kids are having quiet time.
9. When your spouse gets home, be sure to take a few minutes to catch up with each other’s day, then get to work!
10. Keep a daily task list and prioritize it so that you know what MUST be done by the end of your day, each day. List out those activities or projects that you know can wait until this season passes.
11. Try to get some exercise each day. Maybe you won’t get a trip to the gym everyday, but a good walk with three kids; a bike ride on a trail; or a race through the yard sprinklers can still get your heart pumping, and does wonders for your kids too!
12. Get to bed at a decent time. Try to avoid staying up until all hours of the night working. You’ll be better equipped for your day and be much more patient if you’re fully rested.
And finally…realize that there is no such thing as perfect balance. Give yourself enough space and enough grace to accept that you (and your kids) don’t have to be perfect. That this time is a blessing. And that you can savor every minute of it because your kids grow up way too fast!
Have you found yourself in a similar work at home situation? Comment below and let us know your strategies for success!