Want to start working from home so you can stay close to the kiddos but at the same time wondering how the heck you’ll find the time to do all that needs to be done when some days you feel lucky if you can squeeze a shower in?
Since becoming a mom time has taken on a really curious quality for me. Days have a magical quality of being both a blur from being gone in a blink of an eye while dragging on and on with all the mundane repeat tasks that keep a young family alive and well.
While the blurry dragging out days might just be a getting older phenomemon, I like to blame the kids for such things.
Aren’t they just the little style crampers? Especially when it comes to doing what you want to do, when you want to do it and how you want to do it.
And since I recently discovered I’m a Type 7 on the Enneagram scale, it all makes perfect sense to me how I’ve always been seeking ways to maximize my Mama Me Time. We’re the adventurous gluttons! Go sevens. Go sevens.
So after much experimenting (well, on two different kids anyway), I’ve come up with a few tips and philosophies that will earn you a few extra hours here and there so you can make some real headway on your working from home dreams while also ensuring your kids aren’t feeling neglected and maybe even feeling you’re kinda cool!
Yes! I’ll just keep telling myself that.
Home in On One Business Theme
It can be pretty overwhelming when you think of all the moving parts that go into birthing then growing a business. It can overwhelm a mama pretty darn quick. So please do choose just one area of this big biz picture to pour your efforts in to when you do magically find yourself with the mama time to devote to mama biz time.
Aim to devote just three months to one theme. Or one season if that’s easier to get into the zen spirit of the impermanance of this mindset. Like, this can be the spring of list-building. The summer of website building is coming up. Quickly followed by the fall of ecourse building.
This will take some of the edge off of feeling you must do it all now and progress toward your big picture goals.
Get Up Early or Stay Up Late
Deciding (and then honoring) which team you play for – the Early Birds, or the Night Owls – can buy you buckets of mama time. We’re talking up to one to two extra hours a day which quickly add up to to almost part time hours with simply embracing your inner insomniac.
And it doesn’t have to be the case everyday of the week because you’re body’s going to start communicating with you whether this is sustainable or not.
I use the weekends now to take a break from my five o’clock awakenings, and even then, I’m only doing this insane hour because my theme this season, list building, which is pretty important to my big picture plan for 2018.
Saturdays and Sundays I turn off the alarm off of my phone and see what my bod’s telling me to do. Interesting enough it tells me to sleep in until 7:30 to get caught up. Duly noted.
This pointer, like all the other ones here, is meant to be fluid and observed with curiosity. And to be applied with compassion. This this early bird during the week only is a recent phenomena. And to do this I had to encourage myself to get to bed earlier with a really cozy and enticing get to bed earlier routine. (Reading Gone With The Wind before shut-eye these days. Can’t wait for bedtime tonight! The Yankees are coming!)
And on that note…
Get More Sleep
Sounds counter-intuitive, no? The concept of being unconscious for more hours of the day to make more time happen? Well, if you’re more refreshed you’ll stay healthier (less sick days), more able to focus with the time you do have (less FFA – Facebook Farting Around) and you’ll be better able to tap into your mama intuition.
If getting a decent amount of sleep that you know that you as an individual needs, journal too as a way to brainstorm on different ways you can make more hours of sleep happen. A question that always helps me in such a pinch is ‘what has worked in the past’.
Or, not to be grim, think of what would you do in an emergency situation. Like, if you were recovering from a hospital stay and it was of utmost important to get extra sleep. Would you enlist your partner to be on toddler patrol? Stay at a hotel? Sleep in the east wing of the house (or at least in the guest room)?
With those of you with smaller kiddos – rest assured (no pun intended) that you will get uninterrupted sleep yet again. For us personally our youngest started to sleep through the night for the most part around five years old. And then the years leading up to them, he was open to sensing when I really needed sleep and was really cool with honoring that when it was a true sleep deprived situation.
But until that fateful shift in sleep sanitation, do what you can to get caught up at least occasional and on a regular basis if you can. It is that important!
Relax Your Standards in One Area of Your Life
Some of these pointers might sound a bit drastic – and maybe drastic’s a drastic word to use. But again, my stance is that the sweet spot for embracing sweet habits seems to be three months. Kinda like a trimester when you’re expecting your little style-cramper.
So after three months of embracing on area, you can drop it like a hot, time-sucking potato and choose another area to focus on. Or not focus on at all.
But just for now, decide what is a task or an expectation you normally get pretty uptight about that you can let go of for the next few months to buy you time to go for your biz dreams.
Some examples of my own life include making homemade desserts, regular vacuums, washing the car (ha, ha – that last one’s a family inside joke. I think I only washed my car once and that’s when I spilled a gallon of raw milk inside it.)
Make a Detailed Work Schedule
So much time is wasted just figuring what the heck to do next when the time does present itself to get to work on your biz or whatever else really you feel the need to push forward down your creative birth canal. Get crazy detailed figuring out what you’re going to do with each hour of the day. I started off doing this when homeschooling my girl and dude! I was SO productive back in the day!
Then protect this schedule like a mama bear. Again, this one’s all about finding the balance between sticking to the plan while being flexible and rolling with the punches.
Start with daily mini-themes for your biz.
For me, I have Tuesdays devoted to blog posts and newsletter writing, Wednesday for connecting with past clients, Thursday for Facebook Lives, Fridays for admin. If I can just devote the bulk of my time on those days to those mini-themes I’ll be making incremental progress toward my major-theme of this season.
And to get even more detailed than that. I like to wrap up the work day with looking at what’s happening the next day and marking in my daytimer what I’m going to work on when. This will depend of course what season in you’re in in your mothering and/or biz, but this one in particular is a take away from my homeschooling days.
Nerd out and write out when you’re going to eat, when you’re going to walk the dog, milk your cow and mark out your when your going to work times too. Then protect it like the mama bear you are.
Play Less With Your Kids
Gasp! Someone call the authorities. Just joking! Unless you’re calling the Board of Awesome Mamas (BAM)!
I know this one might sound harsh but if you think about it, it’s pretty win-win. Except that there are no games being played between the two teams. This little time making tip has been originally brought to you by my own mom. A mom who never played with me.
Now don’t be too sad! It was a truly awesome childhood. I have the loveliest flashbacks whenever I have one of those flashback sequences to my childhood in this movie that’s constantly playing in my head about my life. Starring Gal Godot as moi.
My mom, while a super stay at home mom in the sense that that was she ultimately felt was her calling, was also an extremely talented seamstress and took on a bunch of sewing clients when we were growing up. And she LOVED it. And as kids, we picked up on her loving this gig.
If she wasn’t cooking or cleaning, or playing tennis or bridge, or doing her nails while watching General Hospital, she was sewing. Essentially she was blissing out – seventies style!
And my brothers and I, being sensitive little creatures called kids, picked up what mama was putting down. Bliss! The bliss of leaning on a routine, heeding her calling, using her gifts to bring joy to the world outside of home while giving her kids the gift that keeps on giving. Boredom.
And because boredom is such an important part of the human experience, it just works so sweetly with our time making mission to allow this to happen to our own kids.
Release the self-imposed pressure to be keeping the kids entertained 24/7. I really feel that having a mom that only plays with grandchildren has helped create all these precious memories of my and brothers and I doing these pretty cool things as kids on our own and has inspired me to let my own kids to be super work-from home friendly kids with fun creative projects that suprise me everyday.
Rituals can have a powerful effect of getting the time-making ball rolling. Helps grease up the mechanisms that make momentum and motivation happen – just be sure that the ritual is kept simple, blissful and not too much of a time suckage. Because that would totally defeat the purpose, wouldn’t it!
I like to recommend three rituals as a work from home mama. One to wake up, one to start work and one for bedtime. And if you want to go really wild and crazy, there are mini-rituals you can sprinkle in from there that can include a ritual before and after a client call. A ritual to start your work week. A ritual to close the quarter. A ritual to start the new year.
But start small and be sure to keep the ritual super simple and fret not if it’s not super glam or goddess-y. And, should I mention this again? Allow it to be fluid and give yourself permission to switch things up once in while to accommodate life stuff that happens. Three to four months or so, assess and switch things up but I’m sure life will do this for you automatically.
So yeah, wish I could say I start the day off meditating, tapping, drinking mushrooms while nasal cleansing, but… my morning ritual looks like, getting up at 5:00 am to let the cat in. Feed the big lug. Feed the dog too because he follows me wherever I go. Put Barney (the giant cat) back outside. Make my coffee which takes 20 minutes these days for some reason. My espresso maker’s due for a tune up I guess. Go to my office, put my headset on, and get to work on my mini-theme of the day until 7:00 – which is time to wake up the kids.
See? Totally not glam! But having these rituals in place helps me get on autopilot from the moment my alarm goes off. My brain just does what it needs to do, no questions asked, and next thing you know, I’m at my desk doing what I’m doing right now. It’s like the time fairy came and visited!
Ditch the Housework
I know my mom would be SO disgusted to hear me type this. But, as she has confided in me, keeping house is a full time job. One, mind you, that I would totally get fired from.
Ways I work around this so I can use my prime creative energy to pour into the work I love so much is to a) hire a cleaner to come for a deep clean twice a month and b) only do the other bits, like vacuum, bathrooms and getting dinner started when the kids are around to either witness that all this (waving my arms around my head right now) doesn’t happen all on its on, or… help me clean/cook/wave my arms around the air.
This one is SO individual. Choose your Friend. Are you a Monica or a Rachel? Just asking because that Enneagram test I recently took told me my personality type can be summed up with the words “if it makes you happy do it, if it doesn’t don’t.”
Something my parents always observed in me funny enough.
Luckily it works to my entrepreneurial spirited mama favour. But unfortunately, as much as I’d rather work on my biz than clean the toilet, a dirty house does makes me grumpy, so that motivates me to get the kids involved and hire someone to do the the heavy duty cleaning twice a month.
There you go – tips to make the time. Do you see the very subtle underlying thread here, Mama? It’s all about prioritizing.
If you want to make a go at working from home as a coach, or an ecourse creator, or other online entrepreneur, tap into that juicy ol’ why of yours.
I know my why is to live into the option that is available to us in these times to be home with the kids if they need me (but not to play with them of course, sheesh!) as oppose to have to lug myself out of the house and work for someone else’s entrepreneurial dreams. AND help other mamas get to do the same if that’s what they want in their heart.
Of course, to each their own. There are definitely perks to punching in the clock and getting paid no matter what. But if you choose the entrepreneurial path, muster up the discipline to stay consistent and put in some mama time.
It’s the best time!