I severely underestimated how much more simplistic things were before I had my son. I believe every phase of life has its difficulties but when you become a parent, you really do have to change every part of your schedule.
I spent years before my son went into kindergarten trying to make it work as much as possible in order to grow my business without sacrificing my family life.
Now that we’re (due to coronavirus) back to the way things were, I’d love to share my tips with you on working from home with a small child. Keep in mind these are my tips I live by – by no means am I saying you have to do what I do. But, I do get a lot of questions and so I’d love to share what works best for us.
And I do believe these tips can work for anyone – even if you don’t have a kiddo. Lord knows I wish I would’ve utilized these tips BEFORE I had my son.
I’d also really love to hear YOUR tips in the comments below.
1: Set a schedule. Stick to it.
In all honesty, routines are one of the most important things you’ll ever implement within your family life. Before my son went into kindergarten, I woke up at 4am and finished the most important tasks first. And, while that isn’t feasible for everyone, it certainly helped me a lot. Now, I’m waking up around 5 or 6am and that gives me about 2.5 hours before my son wakes up to knock out the most important tasks.
Bedtime, meals, everything – it’s scheduled.
2: No distractions.
If you say you’re going to devote 10am – 12 pm to work, you’re going to need to ensure you can get as much done as you can. I highly suggest turning phones on do not disturb and putting social media to the side during that time you’ve devoted to work. If your child is young enough to still bless you with nap time, take advantage of it in whatever way you can!
3: I don’t drink.
When I’m home alone with my son and working, I won’t even consider one glass of wine. Even just one glass makes me sleepy and completely unmotivated. It’s almost like my treat to myself for getting my work accomplished during the day. Wine & Netflix after my son goes to bed? Best treat to myself ever, but usually only if my work is caught up & I don’t have to wake up early the next day.
4: Be realistic.
You may feel like superwoman(or man) some days after you’ve successfully kept your kiddo(s) entertained, cooked, cleaned, and worked – but it’s important to be incredibly realistic about what you can and can not handle. If you aren’t able to complete something in the timeline you’re hoping, it’s important to communicate that to your client(s). Feeling like I’m running behind while my son asks for his fourth brownie for the day makes me feel like my world is spinning. I don’t like that feeling.
I respect communication and honesty and now, more than ever, I believe it’s so important to be honest with one another about our expectations. We’re all battling something – new schedules, lost jobs, lost friends – so many things.
5: Set boundaries.
Having your kid home with you while you work is difficult enough in itself – now is not the time to worry about being available to everyone. It’s incredibly important to focus on the tasks that take up the majority of your brain – for me, that’s my family & work (and now, add in a move + home search!). When I can focus on my family & spend time finishing the work I need to finish, I’m a much better & more dedicated friend. When my head space is clear, I can be there for others.
If someone needs to “pick your brain” and you don’t have time, it’s okay – please remember that.
6: Meal prep is your new best friend.
Trust me, I know this is going to sound annoying but I’ve found so much solace in having things prepared beforehand to eat. My favorite? Crockpot tacos. Seriously! We love to cook chicken, quinoa, hamburger meat, and so much more ahead of time so we don’t have to stress over what to cook. Also, keep in mind my husband works in Chicago and has for years now (we’re in Dallas) so when he’s gone, it’s easy to make smaller meals. When he’s home, he takes over cooking duty! I also believe it’s important to communicate who does what and how you (or they) need help.
7: Make time for YOU.
One of my non-negotiables is my health & wellness. I make time 5-6 days a week for an outdoor workout (I love the BBG Sweat app so much!), I make sure to get at least 8 hours of rest every night, and I always take MySoulCBD to stay calm, level headed, and focused. You can use code “lovekait” for 10% off – I put that bad boy on autoship.
8: I am very strict about my work schedule.
I use a google sheets calendar I made that I live by. What happens is this: everyday of the week, my work is very specifically mapped out. Once I’m done with each item, it gets highlighted (gray if its finished, pink if I’m waiting approval, etc). Once I’m done for the day, I’m done.
If a client emails me and asks for something, I immediately put it on my calendar, respond to the email, and remove the email from my inbox.
Doing this allows me to stay focused on exactly what needs to get done vs giving myself busy work. Because, just as with any other parents, mom guilt is real. I want to spend as much time as possible with my son and giving myself busy work doesn’t allow me to do that. It’s also incredibly pointless – I’m busy enough as it is, trust me.
9: I remove what frustrates me.
Some of the smallest items some days can really throw me for a loop when our studio is busiest. Things like going to the grocery store (heck, especially now) are just one more thing to add to my list. If I need groceries, I use instacart the day before or that morning before I need the groceries which saves me a good two hour grocery store trip in itself. I also outsource as much as I can to my wonderful assistants.
We hired a Pinterest Marketing BOSS (@brittanysavnik) who helps us with marketing our business on Pinterest because it’s a place we get a ton of traffic from yet I have no time to devote to it. This saves me so much time and energy!
AND…I do want to add in – be kind to yourself. In this time where you’re getting inundated with crafts and snacks to make and cookies to bake, please please know that you don’t have to be all things to everyone. What you get on instagram is a very small snippet of my life. At the end of the day, I’m just a normal mom who would kill for a hot bath and a glass of wine. During this pandemic, I work full time while packing an entire home and getting it into storage, homeschool, and move to Dallas. I can guarantee we did not partake in crafts and we certainly had a little too much tv time.
The last thing on my mind right now is arts & crafts and hey, if you have the time and energy I think that is AMAZING. I’m not going to even try to keep up with the moms who can do everything perfectly and still keep a clean house – I highly suggest giving you some GRACE.
In a time where parents are meant to homeschool, entertain, work, cook, clean, AND somehow provide exercise for the kids…trust me, you’re doing enough. You don’t have to have art class & bake the most beautiful concoctions. Be easy on yourself. You are doing as much as possible – hang in there!