Time Management While Working From Home With Kids
10 Steps To Managing Working From Home With Kids
Hey, Friends! I am so excited to be here today to share some of my favorite tips and tricks (and bribes..) for managing your time while working from home with kids. As a mommy to 2 (3 if you count my husband…just kidding Sean) a full-time wedding planner, and the administrative manager for my husbands business, you could say I have my hands full, but to top it all off I do it all from home with the kids! So, Grab that cup of coffee you have re-warmed in the microwave at least 3 times today or a glass of wine ( I won’t judge you!), go hide in the bathroom, and give me a few minutes minutes!
Step One | Breathe.
Girlfriend, I can’t tell you how many times a day I have to stop, close my eyes, take a deep breathe, and promise myself that it’s all going to be okay. My kiddos are 7 and 3, and they really give me a run for my money. I was blessed with strong willed, independent, opinionated children. They love to see how many times a day they can rapidly go from sweetly getting along and making my heart melt, to screaming like someone lit them on fire. Just remember to take a deep breathe and refresh.
Step Two | Give Yourself Grace, a whole lot of it.
I am not the perfect mother. There have been occasions where I have lost my temper and screamed at them, then, in turn, felt absolutely terrible for doing so. The stress adds up y’all. You have deadlines, lunches to make, client emails to send, diapers to change and butts to wipe, invoices and proposals to write up, fights to break up, consultations and phone calls to make, crafts that need to be done, projects that need to be completed, homework that needs to be done, errands that need to be ran, dance classes to drive them to…. the list goes on and on and on and on. Remember to give yourself the grace to not be perfect, to take a break and relax. Give yourself the grace to close your laptop, leave your phone in the other room, and have a tickle fight on the living room floor. If I am ever overwhelmed with work, kiddo giggles are just what the doctor prescribed.
Step Three | Plan It Out.
Once I get my kids tucked into bed, I like to crawl in bed and brain dump the things I have to do the next day. Whether it be extracurriculars for the kids, school drop off/pick up (during the school year) client meetings, projects, important emails, etc. Then I begin to map out my day. I put the things that are set in stone down first, and then fill in the other things around them. I strongly recommend working in chunks, that way the day is broken up and nobody (kids or business) feels neglected.
A Sample Tuesday for Us ( The busiest day of the week in this house!)
6:00 am – Wake Up. I always wake up before my kids. I wake them up at 6:30 and this extra half hour is totally worth the extra yawns during the day. I get to get dressed, brush my teeth, apply dry shampoo for the 4th consecutive day, and possibly eat something, by. my. self.. It is worth it friends, try it.
6:30 am – Wake the kiddos up. My kids hate mornings. So it is important that we be happy and prep as much as possible the night prior. We lay out outfits, make the majority of our lunches, pack our bookbags, and prep breakfast the night before.
7:50 am – Bella and Dayton are dropped off at school.
7:50 – 10:40 am – I turn in to a productive power house. You would be surprised how much can be accomplished in 2.5 hours when your kids aren’t around. Bella is currently only in school 2 days a week so I know that if I have an important phone call, meeting, etc I try to schedule it during this time if possible.
10:40 – 11:40 am – Pick Bella Up. We spend time talking about her day, unpacking her book bag, making lunch and just spending some quality time together. It is important that when you work from home with your kids you make sure that they know they are important and a priority. Don’t make them feel like an inconvenience or they will let you know they feel this way.
11:40 – 1:30 – I set Bella up with a movie, some toys, etc and we set up camp in the living room. I have my laptop and make sure that I am working through my to – do list of emails and important tasks for the day, while also giggling with her and being present.
1:30 – 2:30 –This is the golden hour of my day. Remember how I said I was a productive power house in the morning? Scratch that. Every day, without fail, I get this hour. Dayton doesn’t get out of school until 2:30, yet we leave at 1:30. I park my car in the pickup line and Bella usually takes a nap, watches a movie, or just calmly hangs out in the backseat. This is where I make more follow up calls, schedule meetings, return emails, etc. Anything I didn’t get done earlier, I try and accomplish it here.
2:30 – 4:30 – Dayton gets home and we go through his book bag, work through his homework, read a book or 2, and usually make a treat. Whether it is fruit salad, brownies, dinner, etc, I like them to feel involved in the kitchen. This 2 hours of time also gives us time to talk and opens the doors of communication.
4:30 – 6:30 – Work. By this time, the kids are settled and playing. Whether I am working from the couch, the kitchen table, the park bench, etc, I am working on work that I may not have finished for the day yet. Tuesday nights Dayton and Bella have dance class, so I am often working from the waiting room at the studio.
6:30 – 8:30 – Every client I hire knows that this is a sacred time. I don’t respond to emails, I don’t return calls or texts, I unplug. Bedtime is absolutely sacred to me. Absolutely nothing beats crawling in bed with my kids, reading to them or having them read to me, and singing them to sleep. We have a pretty amazing bedtime routine around here, and I want them to know that no matter how busy we get, they will always have that.
8:30 – Midnight – If I have things that absolutely need to be done for the day that I couldn’t get to, this is when I do them. I am not going to lie, I am a night owl by nature. I am naturally more productive at night (blame the former healthcare worker in me) some of my best ideas come out at 3 am. I used to beat myself up about it, but I have come to terms with it. However, If I don’t need to do any work, this is when I brain dump for the next day. After that? It’s Netflix and cuddles with my handsome hubbs.
Now. It might look easy. But it isn’t. On “lighter” days, I try to work from a friends house and make it play date/work day. I also need adult interaction to avoid going crazy, so this helps. I will also work from the pool or the park. Which brings me to….
Step 4 | Bribery.
I am not above bribes. I don’t know how many times I can tell you I’ve said “Mommy has a very important phone call to make. If you guys stay upstairs until I’m done and don’t yell or scream, you can have… (insert treat, trip, toy, etc. here)” I am also not above “If you guys can’t behave so that mommy can finish working, we won’t do…. (insert trip, toy, etc here)” I am also not above taking away toys, screen time, etc. Working from home with kids means they have to understand that the work you are doing is important, that your business is important. My kids get a double dose of that. My husband owns a business where is gone and works late nights a lot. Therefore, my son who is older is incredibly thankful that because of what I do I am able to drop him off at school, pick him up, and tuck him in at night. He also understands that in order for that to work, he has to help me. Communicating with children and just being open with them is incredibly important.
Step 5 | Get Them Involved
Whenever possible I like to involve the kids. Whether it be “Bella, can you help mommy and go grab those papers off the printer” or “Dayton, which tablecloth do you like best for this table design?” They love feeling involved in mommy’s business.
Step 6 | Communicate To Your Clients
If you take one thing away from this post, make it this. From the first touch point of my business, every potential client knows that I have a family. In my initial consult and my welcome packet I make sure that everyone understands I have a family, I have small children, and I love my hubby so so much. For me, my “ideal client” had to include someone who understands and respects family, time, and boundaries. My brides know that if I don’t text them back, odds are there is a very good reason. For my business, my clients are also family. So I do things like share about my kids on Insta stories or Snapchat with them, I friend them on Facebook(it’s not for everyone), I let them see a glimpse of our lives. My brides feel involved. They ask about our kids, they respect our time together, and they know that in supporting my business they are supporting our family.
Step 7 | Learn To Type With One Hand
Say what? Okay, this one might be just for me. However, my kids love to nap. That said, they only love to nap if they are cuddled up to me. Often times if Bella is asleep, it’s because she’s curled up in my lap on top of my arm. Therefore I became a pro at typing one handed.
Step 8 | Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
Don’t be afraid or too proud to ask for help. There are often times where I will call our sitter or one of my parents and ask them to come hang out with the kids so that I can get some work done. If I know I have a really heavy day with important work, I will ask for help. We can not do it all alone, and while most days we feel like we are getting it done, there will be days we need help. Ask for it, take it, be grateful for it.
Step 9 | Find An Escape
There are going to be days where your work can not be done at home. I can’t do consults with potential clients with two kids running around (Skype or In Person) Occasionally I have couples who work all day, and we will do a late night Skype session and I can make those happen, but that isn’t the norm. I also can not do venue walk throughs, planning sessions or certain work at home. Therefore I have a studio space that I rent to work from when I need it. Whether it be a studio, a coffee shop, a co-working space, or sitting in your car in the driveway, find a space to go to every now and then. I currently spend 1 day a week in my studio until the kids go back to school, and then I won’t be there even close to that often. However, it gives me an outlet to work without breaking up fights. Nothing beats blogging without the sweet sound of screaming children the background.
Step 10 | Always, Always, Always Have A Bottle Of Your Favorite Wine Chilled.
There are days. Those truly rough, grind you down, make you feel terrible days. The ones where you feel like a crap mom, an awful business owner, a lack luster spouse, and everything piles up. Tuck those babies in bed, shut that laptop, pour a glass (or drink from the bottle, like I said, no judgment) of your favorite wine, turn on your favorite Netflix show to Binge (Grey’s Anatomy anyone?) and relax. You have to remember that there are going to be days like that. They do not define you. They do not define your abilities as a mother, a business owner, a wife or a person. They happen to the best of us, and I find that an ice cold bottle of Moscato and living in some Mer-Der drama is just the cure.
So. There you have it. My 10 tips for managing to work from home. Some days are harder than others, some days are easier. There is no magic recipe to finding “balance” because honestly “balance” is a unicorn that doesn’t exist. There will be days that kids need more, there will be days that business needs more. I am in no way a pro, but if you find you are needing help, reach out to me! I love to help fellow mamapreneurs find their groove. It took me 2 years to find what feels remotely like a “groove”. At the end of the day, your babies love you, your business is growing, and the work you are doing is important. Let your kids see the mess, the hustle, the hard work. They will love you more for it <3
Post Written By: Jordan Williams of Ever After Planning