Monday, September 18, 2017

Balancing Work & Home Life as a Work at Home Mom


It's not something that rolls easily off the tongue... I'm a blogger, that's my job. It's a job that a lot of people don't understand, and it incorporates so many more roles than just writing. I'm a writer, an editor, a photographer, a team manager, a web administrator, a social media manager, and more! I don't work 'normal' work hours, as I work from home or on the go. My job as a blogger or influencer helps to pay the bills and allows our family to have a lot of wonderful experiences that we might not have otherwise. As awesome as blogging looks or sounds to others, it's also tough on me and on my family.


Now please don't take this as me gretsing over my job- I am thankful for it. I've worked my tush off for it, and every day, I still can't believe that I get to do what I love for a living. The tough part of it all for me is not having a very good work-life balance. Since I work when I am able to, I am often working in the wee hours of the morning, or very late at night, after everyone else has gone to bed. I don't sleep well, am always worrying about the nine thousand tasks that I didn't get completed that day, or the ten thousand that I'll need to tackle when I wake the next morning.

Taking time out for family time to view the 2017 Eclipse at our local library with other library patrons.

I have two kids- they are ages 6, and 17 months. They need their momma, and their momma wants and tries desperately to be there for them at all times, but she's also always glued to her phone, answering emails, checking messages, applying for campaigns or freelance contracts, etc. Sometimes I know that I am missing out on opportunities to just be with them, making memories, and that I won't get that time back.

My relationship with my husband suffers, too. He is so wonderfully supportive of me. He stays up late with me. He takes the kids over to his mom's house so I can work in peace and quiet before the sun goes down or so I can meet deadlines... but we don't get to spend a lot of time together. I often ask myself if things would be different if I worked a traditional 9-5 job in an office, and I'm not sure what the answer would be. We're so busy that we might see each other only just a tad bit more than we do now.

Just another work day at home with my sweet assistant!

This year, I am striving to achieve a proper work-life balance. Some of the things that help me stay focused and goal-driven are really simple things that anyone with a WAHM job can do.

Get Dressed for Work

Each morning, I get dressed as I would if I were going to a professional job setting. Okay, so I may not dress in office attire, but I do fully dress in a nice top, pants or a skirt, tunic, shoes, and full hair and makeup. I never know what the day will bring about, and I want to be ready for a pop-up video chat with a company I am dying to work with.

Work within a Set Time

I try to work within set hours. Baby S goes to Day School two mornings a week, which gives me three hours of uninterrupted work time during the school day. I pick her up at 11:30, bring her home, feed her lunch, get her down for a nap, and then work until it's time to pick her brother up from school. If I stay focused, I can have a five-hour block, broken slightly up, and then add early morning and late night hours to create a full work day. M/W/F are flex days for my hubby's teaching schedule, which allows him to be the caretaker during the mornings, and allows me to have set work time. I am so thankful for the way our schedules are working out this year.

Set Goals and Daily Tasks

I map out my editorial calendar and keep track of daily goals. My work goals are ongoing, but there are certain things that I aim to accomplish each day. I write them down on paper and cross them out as I finish them. It's an old-school method, but it helps me stay on track.

Work in a Designated Work Space

I work in a designated work area. Y'all, I don't have a home office. I very badly need one, but there just isn't space for it in our current home. I set up a work space every day, which includes my laptop, my notes, my editorial calendar, a bud vase with a couple of fresh flowers, pen and paper, my phone, a hot cup of coffee, and a light snack. This way, everything I might need is within reach.

Take Breaks

I take breaks. If I get stuck on something, I'll take a break from it. Maybe I need to prioritize my tasks, or just clear my head. Sometimes I even take a 15-minute walk just to get the blood pumping and get a change of scenery. It can be hard to work and live in the same space.

Turn Work Off and Focus on Family

I make after school time a no work time for me. I choose to be fully present for my kids after school. I want to hear about my son's day, and want to help him with homework and play with him. I save checking my phone for when I'm prepping dinner. We have no phones allowed at the dinner table, and from dinner to bedtime, I try my hardest to spend that time with the kids, unless I absolutely can't (tight deadline, etc).

Make Time to Enjoy Your Spouse/Partner

Lately, I've been shutting everything down between 8:30 - 9 pm. I need some down time. I need to talk to my husband, or even just sit quietly with him while holding hands or cuddling. I try not to look at my email before getting into bed, because if I do, I'll feel the need to tackle problems or answer questions that I just shouldn't be doing at 11:30 pm. The alarm will go off soon enough, and it can almost always wait until morning.

I'm not an expert on work at home life, nor do I claim to be. I'm still trying to figure it all out. My job responsibilities are ever changing, but the most important responsibilities I will ever take on, are being the best wife and mom  I can be for my precious family. For as much as my job is a gift, my family is much more so.

How do you achieve a work-life balance?



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