Being a work at home mom is hard. I’m not going to lie to you. It’s one of the best decisions I have ever made, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t days where I question my sanity! I am a freelance writer. I do this on top of having my blog, homeschooling, raising my three very active boys, and babysitting two more active boys three nights a week. Working at home is the best option for me because I don’t use babysitters unless I have to. Having two special needs kids, one of which still primarily nurses [purees here and there, but not often] makes childcare difficult. Unfortunately, that also makes working pretty difficult! It is especially hard during the holidays when there is so much activity going on! Here’s how I survive and stay productive as a work at home mom during the holidays!
Staying Productive During the Holidays as a Work at Home Mom
Know Your Limits
Seriously, I’m not very good at this one yet. I think that I can write four articles a day sometimes. I can’t. I’m pretty fast, and technically there is enough time for me to write that many, but my brain shuts off after two most days. I think that I can write while the kids are playing. I can’t. They are super distracting and scream and it makes what would have taken an hour take all afternoon. Not a productive use of time. Instead I mainly write during nap time and after bedtime. Occasionally if they’re watching a movie that I know will keep their attention [Frozen] I will write a bit, but for the most part when they’re awake I am not on my computer. Another part of knowing your limits as a work at home mom is learning to say no which brings us to…
Say No Without Guilt
Holidays are crazy. If you are invited to seven ugly Christmas sweater parties, or Suzy Somebody asks you to bake dozens of cookies for the holiday bazaar, learn to say no. Now, if those are activities that you enjoy and fit into your schedule than by all means say yes! I love to bake, and I am quite fond of anything obnoxiously Christmasy. But if you need those hours to work, say no and feel no guilt about it. You are making an income for your family. Often work at home moms choose a job that they are passionate about. You do not have to feel guilty for choosing your passion over something that will take your time and energy but give you nothing in return.
Make Sure Friends and Family Respect Your Job
This is a huge issue a lot of work at home moms face. No one would ever tell a bank teller to bake 6 dozen cookies during her work day, but because we are at home it is obviously fine to interrupt us. Explain to your friends and family that you have set work hours, just like any other job, and if you don’t have set work hours set them! [but more on that later..] I think that it can be hard for some people to understand what we do all day as work at home moms, so explain it to them! If someone asks to stop by for coffee while you’re busy working, don’t just say “I am working”. Say something like “Well, I would love to grab coffee, but the kids nap is almost over and I need to finish this article before they wake up. How about next week?” Making clear that you have an actual job to do and that you’re not just on facebook all day in jammies helps to get that respect from friends and family.
Treat it Like a “Real” Job
Many of us have worked outside the home before. We would not show up to a job in our jammies with our hair all a mess. We would not show up and leave whenever we “feel” like it. We would not spend all day doing nothing and then try and scramble after midnight to get everything done. Treat your work at home job like any other job. Get dressed in the morning. Fix your hair. I’m not saying you need to be a beauty queen, but hanging out all day in jammies isn’t very productive. Though I will admit, I am TOTALLY still working on this one.. I may or may not be writing this in my jammies with my hair a mess. Work in progress, right? Have at least a loose schedule. If you work during naptimes and for an hour after bedtimes, then do that every day. Sometimes you won’t feel like working. Sometimes the never-ending pile of laundry will be calling your name louder than your laptop, but respect your schedule and work during your work times. Let it go the other way as well, though. If you take Sundays off, do not even check your email on Sundays. Also, don’t feel guilty taking days off for holidays. Everywhere is closed on Christmas, you deserve a break too.
Be Sure to Enjoy the Holidays
Bake some cookies with your kids. Watch your guilty pleasure Christmas movie *cough cough Love Actually*. Visit Santa and go look at some Christmas lights. Chances are you are a work at home mom to be able to be with and enjoy your family. So do it! It can be really easy as a work at home mom to never stop working because there is always more to do, and it’s right there. It’s so important, though, to put the laptop away sometimes. Take a whole day off to just relax and have fun with your family. They are what it’s all about! Have some holiday fun, and you’ll be refreshed and ready to tackle your next to-do.
How do you stay productive during the holidays? Do you take more breaks, or try to keep a strict schedule? Let me know in the comments!
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