Working at home with kids around is tough.
It is possible to find a balance between the constant pull of motherhood and working at home.
As the school year was coming to a close I began dreading the summer time. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around how I was going to keep the momentum that I was building up with the kids in tow.
A few things crossed my mind.
I considered postponing classes for the summer. Classes are the number one time suck in my life right now. However, I knew that if I put my classes on hold for the summer I would be resentful and unhappy.
I thought about hiring a babysitter. Over the years, I have rarely used a babysitter and I really didn’t want to spend all my extra money on one. So that was out too.
I tried doing everything at night after the kids are in bed. This one is laughable if you know me well…I haven’t stayed up past 9pm in YEARS!
I almost quit all my side hustles. We really enjoy the few extra dollars I make each month. I enjoy having a little financial independence again so I decided this was another bad idea.
There HAD to be a way for me to continue working at home with the kids around.
When school had finally ended I decided I would find a way to make it all work without losing my sanity.
Having the kids home all summer taught me a lot about prioritizing and time management. I didn’t want to put my goals on hold for the summer nor did I want to wish my children away. Out of necessity, I learned very quickly how to work at home with the kids around.
So here we are. The new school year just started and I finally have things figured out!
That is what I am sharing with you today. My tips on working at home with kids. It isn’t easy, but if you are determined it is possible.
Routine, routine, routine.
I have always been big on routines. Our kids really thrive on a good routine and I am willing to bet yours will too.
When kids know exactly what to expect and when to expect it, generally their behavior is better. It has something to do with replacing chaos with order in their brains. I am not a doctor or psychologist so I don’t know the exact science behind it.
But what I do know is how our kids behave with and without a good routine in place. The difference is rather shocking. So if you take ANYTHING from this post and apply it to your life, let it be this.
You will also do things quicker and more effectively if you are following a routine. In a sense your day is on auto-pilot. All the decisions of what to do next are already made you just have to follow through.
Take frequent breaks and spend time with your kids.
This doesn’t mean you have to play with them for hours on end. A few minutes every hour or so goes a long way in keeping them happy.
Kids that feel loved and fulfilled will be less needy for your attention. Instead of getting annoyed the next time someone interrupts you take it as a cue to take a short break and play with the kids for a little bit.
This leads me to the next tip…
I’ll be the first to admit that I am a rather inflexible person. But to be successful at working at home with kids around I had to change this about myself.
Remaining flexible and going with the flow of things will keep you from stressing out and being in a perpetual bad mood. Things are going to come up and others are not going to go as planned.
Some things are going to have to go on the back-burner and others are going to be tossed completely.
It is what it is, just go with it and jump back in as soon as you can.
Let your kids control when you take your breaks.
This was a last ditch attempt to get something done on a day that was just extra hard. As it turned out, it was actually a genius move on my part.
But like I said, I was just desperate this day. I had a paper due that night and was struggling to get it finished and the kids were fighting like rabid wild animals.
I gave the kids a timer and told them to set it and when it went off I would take a break and we could play for a bit. But they HAD to leave me alone until the timer went off, otherwise I wouldn’t play with them.
The first few times they had me taking a break every 10-15 minutes. A short time later, they started trying to see how long they could “make” me work!
This was where the magic happened. They had me working in hour long stretches and thought it was HILARIOUS that they were “making” me work for such a long time.
Little did they know that they were helping me! To them it was just a game. They were having fun while I finished my paper. A win in my book!
Plan your days, weeks, months and year out ahead of time.
While you don’t have to be detailed planning so far in advance, I do like to have a game plan for the entire year.
This way I can work extra hard during the months of the school year and have the flexibility to slow down a bit when the kids are home on their winter and summer breaks.
As I get into the days and weeks portion of my planning I get more detailed in my to-do lists. Planning also helps keep me from over booking myself as well as allowing me to plan for days off completely.
We could all use some relaxation time right?
Prioritize your time.
I have been asked many times by friends and family how I am able to “do it all.” Truth is, I don’t. I am just VERY selective with how I spend my time.
I don’t binge watch Netflix or Hulu shows anymore. I don’t spend hours a day scrolling through social media or Pinterest. I have also not picked up a crochet hook in a while.
Do I enjoy those things?
Yes. But when you have goals that excite you, it is easier to make working toward your goals a priority and forget about the other stuff.
Wake up early.
Early morning hours are a glorious time for me.
I am able to have a bit of quiet time before the hustle and bustle of the day begins. During this time I go over my to-do list that I made the night before, enjoy a little inspirational reading and get dressed for the day.
Sometimes, if I have a lot of work to do I will dive right in to my work and power through a couple of hours uninterrupted.
I love getting all this done before the kids wake up.
These 7 tips really transformed my days this summer.
I don’t want to fool you here…
At times this summer was really difficult.
I may have lost my sanity just a little bit and added a gray hair or two…
But it was worth it. I proved to myself that I could accomplish anything I truly wanted to!
In the short spurts of time that the kids were playing quietly, I learned how to work very fast and efficiently. This summer also taught me how to narrow down my to-do list to only what truly matters.
Once the kids realized that I had an expectation for them and that I wasn’t going to budge on it, their behavior changed quite a bit.
These lessons will remain with me for the rest of my life.
It is my hope that you found this post helpful! Working at home with kids is hard, but with a little perseverance anything is possible.