*Article written for and published on The Mom Empire
Let’s get a little vulnerable and pull back the curtains for a sec.
Working from home has been a dream of mine since.. I became a mom.
I have a deep respect for moms who work from home. With small children.
I used to think sharing an office with adults was hard.. until I realized they don’t sporadically scream in my ear, hit me in the head with a bowl when they’re hungry, or demand immediate attention the minute I sit on the toilet.
Ever try doing a conference call while your kids are home? Something WILL go wrong, I promise.
5 minutes before the call, you will realize your home office turned into a storage room and the living room transformed into a giant toy box overnight; so you scramble to find any blank wall without crayon marks and set up a chair to “appear professional.”
The call starts in 2 minutes and your 4-year-old is suddenly starving.
The call starts. The baby wakes up early. You can hear her crying in the background.
Your 4-year-old all of a sudden needs help with something ridiculous that he’s been doing on his own for years (like wiping his hands after eating an orange).
You pause and mute the call and run upstairs and toss 5 different foods, some toys, and a bottle in the baby’s crib and run back downstairs, hoping and praying you had actually hit the mute button. Fail. They heard everything.
Back to the call.
You get one sentence in. Now the baby is hysterical upstairs, shrieking like a gremlin. Your 4-year-old suddenly decides to ask you some deep, soul-searching questions that he’s had all YEAR to ask, and needs an answer at this very moment. And the baby is not giving up either.
You mute the call, run back upstairs, grab the baby and put both kids in front of the TV and throw Cheerios at them like you’re feeding chickens. “STAY ENTERTAINED!!!!!”
Back to your call.
The minute some intelligent words roll off your tongue, the internet cuts out and you can’t hear what the others are saying.. and just as you decide to end the call and consider quitting your job out of embarrassment, 2 other women on the conference call have kids that show up on screen demanding attention and wondering why they weren’t invited.
Yassssss!!!! Someone gets it!
Does this sound familiar? Maybe?
Here’s what I’m gonna tell you. My working-from-home is not the picture-perfect scenario I envisioned. It’s definitely been a learning process.
I’m not perfect. I’m a great mom and a skilled marketing professional, but things don’t always go as expected. My kids seem to want my attention the moment they see my laptop open.
It seems my company needs me just as much as my kids need me. So how do I divide my time fairly? How do I stay productive while working at home, with kids? How am I able to successfully meet deadlines, manage a team of people, and put out high quality work that impresses my boss and clients every time? Here are a few suggestions:
1) Stay in contact with your team and clients. It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of each task and forget to communicate with the people who are requesting the work. If you don’t understand something – ask. Ask twice if you need to. Send that check-in email, make a phone call, double-check your work. It’s better to get all the facts and details prior to working on your project so you don’t miss something and lose credibility.
2) Take notes and create lists to stay organized. “Mommy brain” is REAL! I use Google Drive and Trello (a task organizing app) so my team can stay on the same page for each project. There are other task-organizing sites like Wunderlist, Todoist, and Asana that are just as useful.
3) Relax. You are working from home because that’s where your priorities are. If you’re working for a company, they hired you to work remotely, so they’ve got to understand that schedules change, kids get sick, and some nights you just don’t get any sleep. If you are working for yourself, go easy on yourself. Maybe hire another work-at-home mom for the smaller tasks that you can’t keep up with (Hey The Mom Empire can help with that wink-wink!).
4) Remember that you CAN do this. Being a mother automatically makes you a multi-tasker and an entrepreneur. You’re used to doing many things, all at once, and you’re very good at it. You have persuasion superpowers. You can be authoritative and compassionate at the same time. There’s nothing you can’t learn and do.
My work hours are during my kids’ naptime and after 10pm when they’re asleep. That’s my prime time to focus, plan, and prepare. And I’m okay with that. It works for me.
Working for a company that lets me choose my hours and make my own schedule allows me to work when my creative juices flow and not when my kids’ juices spill on the carpet.
And guess what?
There are many, many other moms in the business world who work from home also, who understand what you’re going through, and are cheering you on.
So I’ll say it again.
Work at home moms – we salute you, we praise you, we encourage you, we’re inspired by you. We’re all in this together. You got this, Mom.