We talk a lot about working mothers juggling daily tasks or the difficulty of being a stay-at-home parent…but what about the work-from-home mom? What about the work-from-home mom with children still in diapers?
I’m writing this as my 2-year-old is napping and while I might seem to have it all together on social media, it doesn’t accurately show what I’m battling with physically and mentally.
Usually, I end up feeling overwhelmed – maybe feeling like I’m treading water while holding my two-year old and trying to answer phone calls.
So, here are some things I try to follow to avoid burnout and ensure I’m doing my best as a writer and as a mom.
First, call yourself a working mother. I realized that when I wasn’t confident enough to share that with others, I’d introduce myself as a stay-at-home-mom. Nothing is wrong with being a stay-at-home-mom, but your job isn’t only being a mother. It’s running a business. I’d say that there are times where my husband’s job is easier than mine because he gets to have a child-free work zone, while I juggle working in the middle of changing diapers and picking up toys off the floor.
Develop a routine. In all the parenting books, it says that babies and toddlers love routines and it makes life easier when you have one. It turns out that little kids aren’t the only ones that crave routine. Routines help me stay focused, especially when the day can get overwhelmed with other things that need to get done around the house. Like right now, I need to do some laundry, clean the tub, and do some organizing – but that’s all going to wait because it’s not chore time – it’s writing time. If I didn’t have a schedule set, I’d be running around with tasks half-done because I’d abandon something after remembering to do something else. Take a breath, follow the routine.
Set aside time to work. If I get up early enough, I can set aside time to work, otherwise my usual time is during naps and in the evenings. During naps, it’s hard to find the motivation to work when all I want to do is lay on the couch and rest from the runny nose and tantrums. If it’s a particularly difficult day, I’ll practice some self-care, but usually I push through my lack of motivation and get to work. Once it became a habit, it’s hard to break from the schedule without feeling guilty.
Try including your kid(s) in your job. I know that this depends on the type of job you have, but I am lucky to be able to include Fischer in some of my work. For one, I can write about him and share silly anecdotes and I can drag him along to events I have to cover. It might not seem like much, but being able to involved Fischer is such a blessing some days.
Release some of that mom-guilt. Occasionally, I’ll get a big story that I need to write and in order to do that, I need to pop on some cartoons and pull out my laptop. I always feel a little guilty for working while Fischer is present, but there’s no reason for it. As long as he’s fed, changed, and not hurting himself, he’ll be fine for 30 minutes while I quick do an interview.
Practice self-care. Burnout is real, whether you’re a mom or just a busy worker-bee, so self-care is extremely important to keep yourself on the best level you can be at. When I talk about self-care, it’s not just the make-up, hot baths, wine & Netflix, girl’s nights, etc. that are important. Emotional and spiritual self-care is often forgotten about, so be sure not to neglect yourself physically or mentally. Set aside time every day for you, even if its just for a few moments.
How do work-from-home-mom’s do it? Add your tips in the comments.