A mom’s life is hard. We need to focus on our children, home, and careers all the same time. The modern mother is often showcased as a multi-tasker by media. She can be seen handling everything all at once. But all this work takes a toll on the mothers mental and physical health. Working from home with baby has quickly become a favored option for moms. But not many talk about the work from home challenges and how to help moms navigate this type of work situation. It is not as easy as sitting at a laptop all day in pajamas and getting to work.
I have been working from home since 2015 even before our baby was born and continued in the work from home mode post my maternity break in 2017.
Some of the challenges I faced as a work from home worker before baby are still the same post-baby. But things got exponentially difficult for my work from home career post-baby.
While there are many benefits of working from home, it is also important to highlight some of the struggles work from home moms go through day in day out. There is no talk about this subject and hence no reference point for mothers looking to get back to the workforce.
In today’s post, I talk about some of these work from home challenges and my tips on how to overcome these bumps in the road and keep working on your long term goals.
Common Work From Home Challenges And How To Fix Them
The first and most common work from home challenge any remote worker faces is loneliness. You miss the camaraderie of office colleagues and having someone to talk to during your workday. It’s always nice to have someone to bounce off ideas or troubleshoot with.
How to overcome loneliness
If you are a remote worker at a company ask for a colleague to touch base with every week to discuss your work, ideas and challenges. If you are working for yourself, find someone in the same field or confide in your partner. Unloading your doubts and ideas with someone is important to feel confident in oneself. So go out there and find a mentor/friend or work colleague to help you overcome the loneliness.
One of the challenges of working from home is staying motivated. Especially when you are running your own business, it can get difficult to stay motivated and put in the work each day. You start to get a little relaxed about deadlines or feel bored to sit at the laptop when at home. Goes without saying no motivation means no productivity. You start slacking on your goals and before you know it you are wondering why you are even doing what you set out to do.
How to stay motivated as a work from home mom
I use a daily and weekly planner to help me stay on top of my to-do list. I don’t over schedule myself, because even seeing too many things on the list is a put off for me to start working.
Each day I plan 3-4 activities for the blog on my work at home mom schedule. I divide them into 1-2 big tasks that require more time and attention and 1-2 smaller easy tasks that I can do any time of the day, even with distractions around me.
For the tasks that required my un-divided attention, I sit at my work table and keep my phone away and use my son’s nap time and park time (his granny/dad take him to the park) so I can work without interruptions.
Another trick I use as a work from home mom is to divide my time creatively. I plan my day in a manner that I work in short bursts of time. This way I don’t really feel like I am working. I schedule 30 min dedicated time periods for my work and I make sure to include some of my hobbies like reading and listening to motivational talks on my schedule too.
This small tweak in my schedule helps me feel refreshed and keeps me motivated to keep working throughout the day.
Spending quality time with my son also gives me the boost in motivation I need on slow days. Watching him grow into a little human being discovering new things every day, drives my efforts to be a good role model for him.
I want him to see a mommy who is resilient in the face of changes in her life and continues to work on self-growth in every season of her life.
When you work from home with little kids, interruptions and distractions are commonplace. A little bit of distraction is not a bad thing, but when those distractions ruin your workflow you are in trouble.
Staying on top of your to-dos for the day is very important to be productive as a work from home mom.
How to minimize distractions
I won’t paint an ideal picture and tell you that you can remove all distractions during your work hours at home. That’s not possible. Even with the kids napping or being away at school there are phone calls to be attended to or deliveries at the door, sometimes your mind can’t focus with the 100 things you are juggling all at once. But the following steps help me keep distractions to a minimum,
- As I mentioned, I work on tasks that require focus during time periods when my son is napping/at the park with daddy, when he is at school or bedtime. This is the only real quiet time of the day to work from home as a mom.
- Second, depending on your life situation, you need a mother’s helper or another adult to babysit/ or daycare in order to work from home for a dedicated number of hours each day. This is needed for moms who work full time from home.
- Set boundaries: Set certain expectations around your work timings, and your needs as a work at home mom. Explain to the children that if they need anything during mommy’s work hours daddy/nanny is there to help them.
4. Deserving acknowledgment as a working member of the family
Unfortunately, we live in a time when parenting is primarily a mothers role. Most work at home moms struggle with managing the home, children, and their jobs. Mothers are carrying an invisible load of to-dos lists and routines. Think about it, in most homes mothers are routine keepers. This means that even when you work from home, you are still in charge of everything that is happening in the home.
Work at home mothers are doing home chores and childcare duties like diaper changes, fixing snacks and meals all in the middle of work hours. This lack of understanding and consideration as a working member of the house leaves most working mothers doing way too many tasks that can be easily shared with the partner.
Though I don’t believe in labels like working mom/ and stay at home mom. The sad reality is that the work at home moms face the worst work circumstances because they are still considered stay at home moms, which means they should work and do everything else a stay at home mom would do.
How to reduce the work at home moms load
Talk with your support system. Voice your needs. Too many women are silent about their needs and bearing a huge workload unnecessarily. It is our job as mothers to explain to our partners what we need. Have clear expectations on how you will work and what type of support you will need from your family.
Share responsibilities wisely between your partner and you. This way you get the time you need and you are not breaking down to the pressures of modern motherhood.
5. Long term goal setting
When you are a solopreneur working from home it becomes difficult to gauge how well you are doing. With no one to report to you can sometimes feel like you are not going anywhere at all.
How to set goals and slay them
Remember this, you are your own champion. You need to keep track of your goals and celebrate when you achieve them. Especially when you work for yourself, you need to take a moment to celebrate your wins too.
Planning and goal setting are vital elements to success in any life situation, but nowhere more important than when you work remotely or on your own.
Decide on how you want to proceed. Early years in motherhood can mean a slower pace but do not mean a full stop towards achieving your goals.
I usually set yearly goals and monthly goals and revisit my list from time to time to check things off the list or tweak my list. Some of us need help in guiding us to set goals and planners like the Slay Your Goals Planner do just that. This planner takes you through the different stages of goal setting and helps you stay on track at every stage.
Most importantly, give yourself grace even when you fail. Maintaining a balance is hard, and you are doing a great job. The fact that you are here reading this article itself shows that you are invested and willing to make working from home with kids work for you.
I hope this blog post acquainted you to some of the realities of working from home and help you prepare for a new mindset as you explore this option.
I feel truly blessed to be able to work from home. I see the best of both worlds, I see my child grow in front of my eyes and I grow my career on the side. This is was one of the reasons to work from home for me and it is this reason that keeps me committed to growing both these aspects of my life.
Are you a work from home mom? What are some of the challenges you face? Do you have tips for other mothers looking to explore this option? Comment below, you never know how your words can impact another mothers life.