Life has been tough lately with stay-at-home orders across the world. Many moms have gone from working in the office to working at home and simultaneously learning how to pivot their home management schedule.
Or maybe like me, you worked out of the home, but your kids had activities and school that made productive time more achievable.
No matter what your situation, all of our work life balances have been thrown way off. Suddenly there is no differentiation between time for work, household chores, home maintenance, parenting and in some cases schooling.
Home Management Tips for a Work From Home Mom
Most days you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. I do! I pride myself on being organized and good at home management. It’s been hard for me to adjust to a different standard.
I am not in a perfect place yet, but after 5 months of learning a new lifestyle, I’ve come up with a few work-at-home management tips to help you get through the chaos!
Get Up Early or Stay Up Late
I feel like the tip of waking up early is everyone’s go to. I have tried. Oh man have I tried. But I am not, and never will be a morning person.
On the flipside, I can be very productive at night.
Find the time that you can catch up on whatever responsibilities you can’t complete during your “regular” hours and be effective. Whether it’s morning or late at night, having a few hours where you aren’t making snacks, supervising outside play or changing diapers can be extremely productive.
The other part of it is adjusting your attitude. Sometimes little feelings of bitterness creep in. I get frustrated that after a long day of balancing a lot of things I can’t just flop down on the couch for a few hours before bedtime. I’ve had to learn to adjust my attitude that it’s just the way life is right now and it’s not forever.
Pick Five Things
You know that feeling where you look around your house and see clutter, check your email and see hours of work, and can’t fathom how you can accomplish everything? The best option seems to just lay down and start again later.
Think of five things that you absolutely need to get done that day and focus on those five things. If you get those done and can knock out more items then that is great, but at least you will have accomplished five things that day and you can start again tomorrow.
Find Your Sweet Spot
Every household has a sweet spot. For us its 2:30-5:00pm. We go hard all morning with work, household chores, virtual schooling, outside time and anything else that falls under home management.
When 2:30 hits my toddler goes down for her nap and my two older children get screen time. It’s my chance to catch up on everything that I want to try and get done. I treat it like a frantic power hour. Most days I go hard for this couple of hours to get as much done as I can. But a couple times a week in the interest of work life balance, I just quietly curl up with one of the boys and catch a 20 min nap while cuddling.
Be Flexible with Your Home Management Schedule
Home management is all about getting things done when you have the time to accomplish it. No two days look the same and you have to be flexible. Especially when you are working full time.
I’ve found the best time for me to clean the kitchen is when my kids are sitting down to eat. I can simultaneously keep an eye on them and help them with whatever they need and still clean in the kitchen. This gives me a solid twenty minutes to keep the kitchen tidy while feeding my kids.
Another way to look at it with silver linings is to think about all the extras you can get done while working from home. My laundry is always clean now. It may not always be folded but it doesn’t take long in between zoom calls and emails to run up and switch the loads over.
We have also been eating much better meals because I can put something in the oven or slow cooker during a work break rather than scrambling after work and in between after school sports.
Get Your Kids Involved
One of the downfalls of working from home is the fact that you are constantly reminded of everything that needs to get done around the house. Sometimes it feels impossible to be productive when you have piles of laundry and dishes that need to be taken care of.
One of the upsides is that you have more hands around the house. If you have kids who are school-aged, get them involved in keeping the house clean. Even toddlers can help with small tasks around the house. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “teamwork makes the dream work,” that applies to families. The family unit is the ultimate team and in order for your household to run smoothly, everyone needs to contribute. If you need ideas about what kids can do around the house, check out my article on household chores called hilarious and practical chores for kids.
Ask For Help and Cut Yourself Some Slack
Sometimes no matter what you do, you still feel behind and overwhelmed. One person can only do much. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Especially if you have a partner, ask them to take over when they get home from work. If they are also working from home, come up with a schedule that lets both of you get kid-free work accomplished.
Asking for help during these times is not always possible. Your support network of other moms, grandparents and most family is not as easily accessible. So sometimes you need to give yourself a break and let it go.
Home management is a lot of things but what it boils down to is making sure everyone’s needs are taken care of. So sometimes you have to look at the clutter, messiness and piling responsibilities and let it go. If you are meeting the responsibilities that are expected of you at work, your kids are fed and smiling and you have some clean pajamas….you are good!
Find Yourself a Healthy Vice
When you heard the word vice you might think of negative things. But I view it as an indulgence to keep yourself recharged and going strong. When you have to wear a ton of hats your motivation can wane very quickly. Recharging yourself with a little indulgence is nothing to feel guilty about.
I have an article on hydrotherapy at home that helps me keep my energy up and going strong. Or sometimes I just stress eat a bag of chips and try not to beat myself up about it.
The Reality of Home Management When Working From Home
Working from home is not for the faint of heart! Hopefully, my work-at-home mom home management tips will help you through those tough days! I promise you that you are doing great and every day is a fresh opportunity to get new things done.
Meghan is a stay at home mom of three kids aged 9, 5 and 1. Her blog, Happy Mom Projects focuses on projects for stay at home moms in the areas of productivity, creativity and hockey. If there is a way to make our lives more fun, easy, creative and happy, she will find it and share it.