Tips for Successfully Working From Home as A Parent

When we each decided to start working from home, we both made a well thought out decision that was the best for our families at the time.

Then this blog was born…the same day as Meghan’s twin boys!

And…well…we haven’t really looked back or slowed down since!

Staying at home with twins is wild…babies, toddlers…and, yes even school-aged twins! With our role as full-time parents during the day, and bloggers/authors by day/night, well needless the say, the line between can easily become blurred. 

But let’s get real for a second here, working from home does have some pretty awesome perks! We can be at home in pajamas on a conference call with a client who has no idea that we haven’t brushed our teeth or put on a bra. But, we would be lying if we said there weren’t days that we miss the day-to-day camaraderie of working with amazing teachers full time!

We are grateful for the opportunity to be home with our boys and super lucky that we get to run a business as best friends! 

Along the way we have learned a few things that help us manage parenting full time while working from home. Most importantly, we keep it simple.

Tips for Balancing Life as a Parent While Working From Home:

Schedule:

We’ve said it a million times in so many of our other posts, but we will say it again.  Babies, toddlers, and even school-aged kids thrive on a schedule and so do working adults.  We each keep a day planner and fill it in each day with work priorities as well as family priorities (laundry, feedings, naps, errands, etc).

We begin by making a list of all the things that we want AND need to accomplish, breaking the list down into what NEEDS to be done vs. what can wait if we don’t actually get to it that day.  Prioritizing in this way allows us to eliminate stress with unrealistic to-do lists.

We like to cross out to-do items that are completed and put a circle around items that are in progress to help us visually see that stuff is getting done.  When our boys were infants, we were sure to schedule in meals and a “short breather” for ourselves into each day, because those necessities took back seat a lot of time. Even if we didn’t stick to the schedule, at least we had an idea of what needed to get done.

Now that our kids are older, our days have more flexibility.  So whether you like a day planner, a scrap piece of paper or a dry erase board, it helps if you write your to-do’s down!

Get Crafty:

Working from home as a parent in charge of little humans requires us to get creative with our time. Meghan’s boys stopped napping while we were in the middle of writing our first book!  Jenn’s boys had just wrapped up Pre-K and were home for the summer. We had deadlines to meet and zero time during the day to make that happen.  We had to think on our feet and figure out how to get the work done. 

Meghan joined a local gym with childcare and poached wifi in the lobby. She would work out and then spent a little time working there afterward.  Were there days where she didn’t use the gym, just the daycare? Absolutely! A girl’s gotta do what a girls’ gotta do.

The moral of her story is…get creative with your time. If you are a night owl, then, by all means, work late after everyone is in bed.  Find a strategy that works best for you, giving you the time and flexibility you need for your family while allowing you to get your work done.

Set Goals:     

Setting both long term and short term goals not only helps to keep you on track professionally, but goal setting also helps to quantify accomplishments along the way! 

As former teachers, backward planning is part of our mindset.  Now as bloggers and business owners, we get together to set annual goals, and then work backward to set quarterly, monthly and weekly goals we want to achieve.  Write your goals down in a place where you will see them often. Meghan writes them on a “whiteboard” wall in her office and Jenn keeps hers in a note on her phone.

Keeping your goals in a place where you will see them often will make you more likely to accomplish them.

Now, we recognize that life ebbs and flows with parenting as children grow, as will your life as a parent working from home.  Here are a few tips for managing work at home as your kids grow.

Tips for Managing Work at Home As Your Kids Grow:

Babies

The thing about working at home while your children are babies is that they sleep quite a bit.  Nap time, or anytime really, that your kids are sleeping are the ideal moments to get things accomplished.  However, that doesn’t mean you have to work during each and every break! You’ll burn out. It’s just not realistic. 
 
Prioritize those things that you absolutely HAVE to accomplish and divvy them up into the nap times that occur throughout the day. 
 
But, don’t forget to take time to kick up your feet for a few moments of “me time”.
 
When you face the challenge of short naps or when your babies begin fighting naps, the amount of time you can devote to work gets cut in half. Therefore, you might have to start to shift your workload into other parts of the day. 
 
Meghan is a morning person, so does the majority of her work in the early morning or on walks with the stroller (client phone calls are a great thing to accomplish while getting some fresh air!) If you are more productive at night, maybe save some of your work to do after bedtime.
 

Toddlers-Preschool Aged Kids

As babies turn into toddlers they slowly learn how to spend more time playing independently.  While they still need your attention, you can find activities that keep them occupied for periods of time, usually long enough to get a few things accomplished.  The key to working from home with toddlers is to set realistic expectations. They aren't going to build Magna-Tiles for 3 glorious hours one day 1. If you do, we need your secret. 😉 Click To Tweet
 
Start building their stamina to play independently by working in small increments of time and slowly add more time.  You can start with a small increment, like 5 minutes and build up to 8 minutes, then 10, and so on!
 
Having an arsenal of engaging activities for your kids that keep them curious is key!  We are constantly scouring Pinterest to find new creative activities that our kids will love.
 

School Aged Kids

Once your kids head off to school and are out of the house for the majority of the day, it seems as if working from home would be easy.  However, just because the kids are gone during the day doesn’t mean that the basic household responsibilities have headed out of the door with them.  In addition to this new daytime routine, you will start to juggle activities, school, and work.  When everyone is out of the house for the day, it helps to designate times for specific tasks. For example, you work from 10-1 every day and then use 1-3 to do laundry, grocery shop or run errands.  Setting aside blocks of time helps you stay organized, allowing you to see what you can actually accomplish in a day. 
 
 
Whether you begin your workday early in the morning while your family is still sleeping or you burn the midnight oil to get those final items on your to-do list checked off, just know that you are doing an amazing job. 
 
There is never anything called perfectly balanced. It will get off.  If you have to work in the kitchen or even on the floor of the nursery to get the kids to kids nap…go for it! Work is work and as long as you are finding time to fit in what you need to get done, well, then you’ve done your job. 
 
At times you will feel overwhelmed by wearing all of your different hats, and that’s ok.  With a little organizing of your day, hopefully, you will accomplish a lot of little things, that in the end, are really the big things!
 
Tell us, how do you make time to work from home with kids? Do you always rely on nap time or do you have another creative solution? We’d love to hear your comments below.
 

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