Juggling Work and Family
When You Work at Home

by Jill Hart

Many a mom longs to work at home so she can spend more time with her kids. But there's a catch: actually getting that work done requires time away from your kids. Here's advice on how you can work more efficiently and reduce frustration when have young kids and work at home.

Q: I have been having my home based business for three years now and I still am struggling with how to juggle business and being a mom, wife and housekeeper. How do you juggle these? I want to make this a success, but so far it's only been frustration.

My children are four and two years old and they are more challenging than most (not as in spoiled, but as in needing more time than the average kid). Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

A: GREAT question. My kids are now seven and four, so I now have a little bit of help in my seven-year-old. But, I found something that I had written a few years ago. In it, I listed my kids' ages as four and one. I could tell when reading it that I had been very frazzled. I think I lived in a state of frazzled during those years when they were both so small.

My main advice would be to cut yourself some slack. Things will get easier and more manageable as your kids get older.

My practical advice is this:

1. Plan out menus each week.

I literally spend about two minutes on this. I have a small magnetic dry-erase board that I keep on my refrigerator. Each Sunday, I write out the days of the week and what we'll have for supper that day. (Lunches almost always consist of sandwiches or something easy like that since it's just me and the kids.)

This makes grocery shopping a breeze because I know just what ingredients I need. It also alleviates the nagging thoughts of "what are we going to eat tonight?" If possible, have one or both of your kids help you decide what to put. You'll be surprised at how much they like having a say in what goes on that board!



2. Set a day for everything.

My days look something like this:

  • Mondays - Housework and laundry (and business tasks as time allows)
  • Tuesdays - Grocery shopping and business tasks (this used to be during naptime, but is now during preschool time)
  • Wednesdays - Bible study and lunch with hubby (and business tasks as time allows)
  • Thursdays - Business tasks as much as possible with playtime in between
  • Friday - Take it Easy Day (and business tasks as time allows)
  • Saturdays - Laundry
  • Sunday - Church and a good, long nap

It seems a little boring on paper, but I can't tell you how much this little schedule has saved my sanity. I know when I get up in the morning what I have ahead of me and it is broken into manageable segments. You'll find that scheduling things amongst these "main" schedule items will get easier and easier as you get used to the schedule.

Jill Hart is the founder of Christian Work at Home Moms, CWAHM.com. Jill is a contributing author in The Business Mom Guide Book: More Life, Less Overwhelm for Mom Entrepreneurs and I'll Be Home For Christmas and co-author of the upcoming book, Home Based Blessings. Hart and her husband, Allen of CWAHD.com (Christian Work at Home Dads) reside in Nebraska with their two children.

 
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