While it may seem like the dream set up, being able to stay home and work as well as having the ability to be there and raise your kids, it isn’t easy! I’ve been freelancing since before my son was born, and when he came into my life everything I knew had to change and that included my work.
I would work whenever I had free time which would be during his nap times. As he grew older the nap times became less frequent until there were no naps and I had to adjust how I handled work each time and it became frustrating because eventually I would be too tired to sit down and concentrate. I found my self working until the early morning hours and that my friends, would result in ‘zombie mom’.
Now my son is 4 and he’s in Kindergarden, full day on alternate days. ‘OOooooo she has more time!’ you say.. not necessarily. Remember I am a stay at home mom and wife too. So into the mix are the chores and daily duties (drop off pick up son from school), I cook dinner every night, I bring my son to all his appointments and then I need some me time too.
With all this chaos in my life I finally have found some normalcy and have found that I can’t take on everything that comes my way, my son is my first priority and I will drop work in a heartbeat to be there for him. With that said I have found a way to fit work into my schedule and here is how I did it.
I set my hours.
I will work in the mornings while my son is at school, this includes social media and marketing stuff, checking and replying to email as well as researching. Mid day is lunch and break time. By the afternoon I’ll work on client projects and check my email before going to pick up my son from school. We’ll get home and we’ll have some us time and snack time before I start cooking dinner. By the evening I might fit in a chore or two, spend time with my husband, then an hour or so of work on the computer after my son is in bed. I’m usually in bed by 10:30pm and up in the morning by 7am. All in all my work day is anywhere from 5-7 hours. This is my magic number to keeping a happy family and keeping myself sane. There are times where I’m in a crunch and I have no choice but to stay up until the early morning hours doing work, but it’s not that often.
I make use of a planner/calendar.
There are some days where you will have appointments and other things to do where you need to leave the house. Have a planner and use it to plan the days that you know you won’t be home during the hours you would normally work, this way you can adjust your schedule like skipping the chores or maybe staying up an extra hour at night to finish the work so you are not in a crunch.
I don’t say yes to all projects.
Know your limit! If you already have quite a load of work and know you may not have time for a new one, then let the customer know. If they are flexible you can let them know when you’ll be free to take on their project which may be weeks down the road. But if they are not flexible then don’t feel bad, taking on more than you can chew will affect you more than you think when it comes down to trying to get everything done on time. You are just one person after all, but if you can contract out work then go for it! Your family will thank you for not sacrificing your time with them.
I have a workspace.
I found that having a workspace to call my own gives me the feeling that I have an office and can separate work from home. It’s also quiet, I can close the doors to block off noise from the rest of the house.
I do ALL of the above so I have time to spend with the family.
When I wasn’t doing the above I was neglecting my family and my son who needed me the most. Setting the hours and sticking to it will make it manageable to work from home and stay at home too. You will also have peace of mind to and not thinking about work all day everyday.
I hope some of these tips helped. Play around with what works for you as you may not have a 4 year old like I do :)