Making it work....from home

March 31, 2016

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I often get asked how I do it all. Be a mom. A blogger. Work from home.....And it's funny, because I don't have a magic answer to that question. I don't feel like I do it all. Most days I feel like I just do what I have to do to make it though the day with minimal tears, a few laughs, and most of the teeth brushed and faces (and booties!) wiped.

But I have learned a few lessons that I thought I'd share with you today. I know there are a lot of work from home moms out there....and a lot of stay at home moms and work out of the home moms that can learn a little from this too.

First, a little background....a lot of people ask what I do for a living and really, only bloggers understand! You are my people! I used to work full time as an advisor at a law school. I have my master's degree in education and it was exactly what I wanted to do....until it wasn't. Know what I mean? Having a family and being a blogger changed me (for the better) and made me realize my passion is being at home with my family....and building a community of support through my blog. SO.....I found ways to make a side income by blogging through sponsored posts (thank you for reading them!) and ads. In 2014 I reached out to a blogging network I loved working with....Pollinate Media. They had recently hired a blogger I followed and I was curious if they had any openings that might be a good fit for me.....and believe it or not, they did! I started working with them as a Project Manager and then got promoted to Community Director of their sister company, Weave Made Media. And what a blessing this journey has been! I absolutely LOVE what I do and LOVE the people I work with. 

Loving what I do really makes my job so much easier. 

Back before I had Sadie and I worked full time out of the home, it was hard to balance everything. Mom guilt + raising a child + working is just HARD. But I did find that I had more work/life balance. Now that I work at home periodically throughout the day work just bleeds in to life and it's hard to focus on just work or just taking care of my kids.

If you came here for some advice on how to manage everything, I'm sorry to say I don't have the answers. Most days I feel I'm at my max. Between two kids, and nap schedules, and preschool, and working from home, and blogging, and grocery shopping, and meal planning, I don't have it all figured out. And that's okay. I've discovered I'm much happier each day if I try not to dwell on what I didn't get accomplished, and instead focus on what I did get done. So if you came here for some advice and answers the truth is I'm still trying to figure it all out. I'm still learning. Every day is different, and some days I do better than others. Things don't always get crossed off my to-do list but I'm learning to let that go. 

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Here are a few things I have found to help me be successful (ish) while working from home:

- Get up early before everyone wakes up. I need my alone time and the morning is the perfect time to prepare for the day, make my to-do list, and get a little work done. The days when this actually happens always seem to go more smoothly, and I'm happier too. BUT this doesn't always happen. If Sadie is up during the night I give myself a pass on getting up early. Because as much as I love the extra time to myself, I need to be well-rested. For all you mamas out there who are up multiple times during the night with children, I hear you. I know how hard that is. And all I can say is that it will get better. 

- Try to get both kids to rest/nap at the same time. This one is HARD and has taken a lot of practice. Lately I've really been focusing on getting Sadie to nap at consistent times.....which has helped a lot. Since Hudson doesn't nap anymore, I have him do "rest time" during her afternoon nap. I put him in our bedroom with a special movie or show on TV. He thinks he's hot stuff watching TV in our bed and I get a few minutes to work or clean or on days where I just need a break, relax and watch a show myself.

- Ask for help. I'm guilty of feeling like I should be able to do it all....and sometimes I let my "mom guilt" get in the way. Hudson went to daycare when I worked full time and now that I'm home, I feel guilty when he's NOT home with me. It's like I'm trying to make up for all those daycare days. Which is just plain silly. I didn't even realize that was what I was doing until my husband pointed out to me that it's okay to have someone help me. I don't have to do it all and he doesn't have to be with me all the time. So I asked for help. I'm lucky that I have my in-laws and my mom so close, but if you don't, you might want to consider hiring a babysitter, even if it's just for a few hours a week here and there.

- Say no. I say no a lot. If it doesn't make me happy, or benefit my family I say no. I don't have time to do ALL THE THINGS. One day I will. But for now, it's a nice and firm "no."

- Train my kids to entertain themselves. No matter how I plan my days, sometimes a surprise work phone call will pop it's a must for me that my kids can do something without me for a few minutes. As soon as they can sit up I encourage a little bit of autonomy during playtime. I did this with Hudson and again with Sadie and now both kids are great at entertaining themselves for a few minutes.

- Write it all down. If it's not in my planner, it doesn't get done. I've learned to be super diligent about writing down all of my appointments and to-do list items. Also, it helps to get a planner that works for you. I've tried a few different ones and have been happiest with my Erin Condren planner. They are expensive, but you can write them off as a blogging/office expense on your taxes!

- Remember this is a season. It won't always be like this. In a few years both kids will be in school and I'll have more time to get my work done without going crazy. And I'll probably miss them being home with me and interrupting me constantly.

- Set an "end time" each day. As I mentioned before, finding a work/life balance when you work from home is really hard. I've learned it's so important to have a cut off time each night. I've wasted away a lot of evening hours working when I should be focusing on my husband and myself instead. If I save all my work for after bedtime I can work uninterrupted, but it doesn't make for a happy life or marriage. So shutting it down at night is so important! My husband would say I still need to work on this one.

Do you work from home? Or are you a stay at home mom? I'd love to hear your tips on managing your time!

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17 Responses to “Making it work....from home”

  1. Love this post Julie! So many great tips. I love that you've made blogging into your job. So much fun and one of my favorite blogs to follow.

  2. Great tips! I work from home too and definitely struggle with getting up before the girls but I never regret it when it happens! And now that the youngest is a little older, I love that they'll play together while I hammer out emails and projects. Until someone starts crying that is... ;)

  3. Your job sounds awesome! I'm super envious that you're able to work from home and do something that you love. I never have the option of working from home and I know once I have a kid (or kids) doing the working thing and parenting thing is going to be hard!

  4. These are great tips! I work from home, too. My hours are 8-4, but I get a little break at 2:00 every day when I go pick up Mason from school. And when I get back I only have an hour left of work. And with my job I am not tied to my desk all day. I can hear my computer when I get an email, or my phone when it rings. It's nice to have time at home to get other things done. I do have to make myself have an end-time, though. If I hear an email go off after 4 pm it's habit for me to run in and take care of it. But, I've learned that family time is family time and to stay out of my office!!

  5. Thank you so much for this post. I work from home (have my own business) and am trying to figure out how we are going to balance this when our little one enters the picture. My husband can take a 6-7 month pat. leave so that will be amazing in the beginning (he can help while I manage work and breastfeeding), but when he goes back to work we'll have new territory to navigate... and I'm trying to figure out the balance between daycare, working at home with the kiddo, parent help, etc. I really appreciate when work from home mommas come out and share their secrets! How many hours a week do you work?

  6. Great tips - love it! I also work from home and have since my daughter was born (coming up on 2.5 years now!). It's definitely harder now that she's older, busier, louder, more curious and less tired. ;) We have another one coming this summer and, honestly, I'm not quite sure how I'll balance it so hopefully I can incorporate some of your tips!

  7. I love this post! I recently got a part-time work from home job and appreciate the tips. I love hearing how other moms try to make it work! I'm thrilled with how honest you are, thank you!

  8. Loved this post. I hope to acquire a work from home job sometime in the near future. Thanks for sharing how you got one!

  9. Julie, you are awesome and doing a great job! I'm not even a mama yet, and I loved that I can still relate to all of this! Being able to say no every now and again is so FREEING! You are so right, you cannot do all the things-it's just not possible-and choosing things that bring you the most joy and letting go of the rest is all that matters.

  10. Excellent post. I'm in almost the exact same boat as you: work from home (blogger/freelance), with two kids (3 and 1 year old), and I get asked all the time how I do it. The reasons you gave are how I manage it—although, I need to work harder at the last part about finding an end time. I also sell Pampered Chef, so nights are sometimes busy in that regard. Although, the biggest hang up for me is hiring a sitter...they're just SO expensive! As a military family, we don't have family close by, so we have to hire out. It's hard knowing that almost all the money I'm making is going straight back into child care. It's still worth it to do things that I like, but man is this job tough some days!

  11. Love this post and can definitely relate to all of it. You're one amazing mama!

  12. I just want to cheer for you about saying no. It's so important!!

  13. Julie, you are amazing! Great tips, great honesty. You rock!

  14. Hi Julie,

    These tips are awesome! I love reading post like these. Keep it up and keep posting for more articles.

  15. seriously. asking for help is my biggest weakness but is the only way to stay sane! and waking up before the babes. . . its just SO EARLY. but i'm always SO much happier (and tired) ;)

  16. love this, Julie. I too struggle with wanting to work some but also be home with my kids full time. I took time off of blogging for a while because I just couldn't find the balance with two kids, both who never slept! lol I know you can relate. But these are great tips and I appreciate your honesty and real life perspective. XO

  17. Brilliant tips - I am slowly finding my feet as a work from home mom and it is not easy! x


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