I was so happy to finally become a mom. But what I didn't know was how much I would hate going back to work and leaving my baby girl at home. It was the worst feeling.
But, thankfully, after four months, I was able to leave my job and stay home with my daughter.
I knew that I needed to bring in some income, so I focused on my blog, which I started when I was still working. It began with the intention of talking about being a working mom and my journey to becoming a writer, then it morphed into talking about motherhood in general. Very shortly after, I found that I want to be an encourager for other moms. And my journey to becoming a writer was much shorter than I thought it would be.
So, I had to find the balance of working from home, while taking care of a baby.
My daughter was 10 months old when I left work, and is 13 months old now. During this time, I have been able to work out a (mostly) consistent schedule to get work done.
Here are my secrets.
1. Be open to things not happening the way you've planned.
My daughter is still napping twice a day, but I think she's going to be transitioning to one nap soon. She has also been teething, lately. And had a major sleep regression. All of that turns into mom being unfocused and, at times, overwhelmed, which means that work won't always get done when planned.
For me, an important thing to remember, is that the reason I stayed home was to be with her. She is number one, no matter what. Yes, I need to make money. Yes, I have to work, to make money. Yes, I need time to be able to work to make money. But, I have to have an open mind that it won't go perfectly every day.
So, some days, I'm only able to work during the nap that she takes, when she decides to sleep, or I can work a little bit in the evening, after she's gone to bed.
But, as long as I keep an open mind that things won't always go as planned, it makes it a little easier on the harder days.
As any mom knows, you can't force babies to do things. If they aren't going to do it, they aren't going to do it. You have to learn to work with them, and flow together. And that takes some figuring out, too!
2. Make To-Do Lists.
As a new blogger and a new work from home mom, I felt so scatter-brained. And there is so much that goes into setting up a blog and a business. I am also a copywriter, so I do other work besides my blog, and need time for that, and time for finding clients, at first.
To keep myself organized, I had to get everything out on paper. You can use a sticky note on your computer or phone, if you prefer, but I like notepads that I can write on with a pen. It just somehow feels better to hand-write things.
I had a list for everything I needed to do; blogging, learning SEO, learning Pinterest best practices, housecleaning, yard work, shopping, etc. Then I broke that list down into sections. And I made a schedule for myself.
When my daughter naps, I work on writing, whether it's my blog or copywriting (usually taking turns, whether daily, or weekly). When she wakes up, I will do the loud chores, ie. clean the upstairs bathrooms or vacuum upstairs, while she plays in her crib with her toys or a book. The other chores I can do while she's awake in her play area, ie. vacuum downstairs and mop (which I don't always get to, but that's okay), clean the downstairs bathroom and do the dishes.
3. Stick to your schedule.
This may collide with number one at times, which is okay, but you have to stick to your schedule as much as possible. Work is important, and you have to treat it as such.
I'm a big T.V. watcher and, when I worked away from home, that is how I would relax on the weekends when my daughter napped. I would watch my favorite movie or T.V. show and crochet while sipping coffee.
Now, not so much. I sip my, usually cold, coffee in between typing these days. And it's okay, I really enjoy it.
When you've been doing things a certain way for so long, it can be really hard to change, but once you have that change down, you'll be able to stick to it long term.
4. Give yourself time.
Understand that these things take time to happen. You can't all-of-a-sudden be something you've never been before.
Each of the above steps happen over a length of time. It took me about a month to get into my schedule and stick to it. And even still, some days, I don't do the planned chores, or I do them later in the day when Alan gets home and spends time with our daughter.
Giving yourself time takes giving yourself grace, too. We are often so hard on ourselves and expect too much. Just relax into you and into where you are at.
You know the goals that you want to accomplish, and you've made a list of what you need to do to get there, now you will take those steps while allowing for mistakes and imperfection until you are able to stick to the schedule you have made.
Always give yourself grace, and recognize how far you've come already, even if it's only one step, so far.
5. Take a break.
Always know when you've had enough, and when you need to just relax. Or even switch things up. Maybe for one of my daughter's naps, I will go outside to pull weeds or plant the flowers I recently bought. There are times that other things will need to get done, too.
With that, go back to number one. Be open to your schedule changing from time to time.
These tips can seem to oppose one another, but that is the point. Balance is finding the in-between of opposites. It's tough. It takes time. But it happens.
Good luck to all of you work from home moms (and dads, too)!
Melissa started her blog, WorkingMamaBear.com, in late 2018. She focuses on encouraging mothers in the (sometimes difficult) journey of motherhood. She found great wisdom and support from other moms when she was a new mom, and desires to pay that forward by being a support and encouragement for other moms, especially new moms. She and her boyfriend, Alan, have one daughter, named Madison, who is one year old.
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