This post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to my disclosure.
Working from home can seem like the dream situation. You get to stay home with your children at the same time earn an income.
Read about how I do that with blogging in this post –> Do These 8 Things to Make Money from Your Blog
And it can be just as amazing as it sounds, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to work for it to look like that.
Working from home comes with its pitfalls. You can’t compartmentalise in the same way as you can with a job that requires you to be ‘in office’.
There is no ‘DO NOT DISTURB’ sign to hang on your door, and even if there was, you can bet that 2-year old of yours won’t respect it.
So it’s going to take a bit of effort on your part to figure out how to be able to both work and mother your children all in the same building.
I’ve personally been doing just that for two years now and I’ve learnt some things that will make a really big difference if you take the time to implement them.
Here are 5 habits to make you a successful work-at-home mom:
1) Pick Your Time of Day
The world can be split into two kinds of people. Morning people and well…those that are not morning people (I’m looking at you, husband.)
This is a very interesting article on the topic –> Biological Differences Between Night Owls and Early Birds
Personally, I work best in the morning. By the time 8 pm rolls around my brain is basically short-circuiting.
I’ve spent the day running from one toddler emergency to the next. Putting coherent sentences together takes a lot more effort than it did at 6:30 am.
But, not everyone is like that (still looking at you, husband). Some people do their best work at 1 am.
The point is, we all have different times of the day when we can be the most productive. My advice to you is to get into the habit of working during that time.
That might mean waking up a little earlier or staying up a little later. Figure out what is going to work the best for you and then make it happen.
2) Make a Schedule
In order to get into the habit of working during your most productive time of day, you’ll need to implement a second habit. That is the habit of creating a schedule.
Don’t worry, I’m not talking about a down to the minute schedule that can’t be deviated from, but you do need at least a basic outline.
Even before I started working from home I always had my babies and toddlers in a fairly predictable routine.
We start our day at the same time and follow a similar pattern as the day goes on. As a result, it wasn’t very difficult to fit in time to work.
Depending on what projects I’m working on at the time, I work at different times during the day.
At the moment it is every spare moment that I can muster as I work to launch this website, my second blog.
Before I decided to move forward with this, I was only committed to my parenting blog, Christine Keys.
Just to give you some background, I have three children. They are 3 (almost 4), 2, and 4 months. Yep, they’re young and close in age, and very busy.
They are with me 24/7. None of them goes to preschool or daycare and that’s the way I like it.
So how do I manage to work when I’ve got all three of them with me all the time?
I work a little during their hour of independent play in the mornings, a little when the older two are playing together outside, and then when all 3 kids are napping/having quiet time in the afternoon.
You are not going to get anything achieved if you wait for time to present itself.
You have to block off portions of the day which you will dedicate to working on your income stream. It isn’t just going to magically happen all on its own.
You have to be proactive in this area, or else you are just going to end up frustrated.
3) List Your Priorities
Balance is not something that is easily achieved, but something that can face you in the right direction is being aware of your priorities.
As a mother, you are often pulled in multiple directions. It can be difficult to focus on one thing at a time when you are needed by so many people.
Having a firm list of priorities will help you to focus on what is important and what can wait.
It will help you to decide in the moment whether you really need to work or if it would be better to take your children to the playground.
I need to be clear. I’m not talking about a to-do list. That is a topic for another time.
I’m talking about your priorities almost as a set of values.
For instance, being at home and present with my children at the top of my list.
My work will always come secondary to that.
It doesn’t mean that I don’t work when my kids are awake, or that sometimes they never have to wait for my attention, but it gives me a guide of sorts.
I never want my job to push me to a point of needing someone to care for my children so I can work (that doesn’t include their father). Having that priority helps to keep my work in check.
Next on my list is that I’m a joyful mother.
If this work that I’m doing starts to really impact my attitude then there’s something wrong and I need to reevaluate.
You see, by getting into the habit of setting priorities and using them as your guide you’ll be less likely to get burnt out and lose focus of what is important.
4) Set Goals
Goal setting is something that I always used to be very sceptical of.
I mean, how does writing something down make any difference as to whether or not it actually happens?
Well, I’ve learnt that in fact, it does. And that the real reason that I was such a sceptic was partly that I was just scared.
I’m a firstborn and if you want to know something about most firstborns, it is that we don’t like to fail.
So much so that we often won’t even start on something if we’re not sure that we can achieve it.
I’m learning with time and hard lessons that I need to let go of that. Not only because it is preventing me from moving forward, but also because it is mostly rooted in pride.
I don’t want people to think of me as a failure. I don’t want them to see me mess up.
However, the greatest achievers in history were not those that never tried. Instead, they were the ones that tried, failed, and tried again. Never stopping until they achieved what they had set out to accomplish.
Lessons from 2018
At the beginning of the year, 2018 I wrote down some goals.
One was to get my parenting blog to the point where it reached the requirements to apply to Mediavine.
Mediavine is an ad company and they require publishers to have a minimum of 25k sessions in 30 days before applying.
The second goal was to make $1000NZD (around $700USD) a month.
Both of those goals seemed ludicrous when I wrote them down. I honestly never thought I had a real chance of achieving them.
Do you know what?
I applied to Mediavine in June 2018 and was accepted and in December 2018 I made over $1000NZD in a month with ad revenue and affiliate income.
I was blown away at the growth of my blog and the power of simply setting goals with the mindset of working to achieve them.
So, set your goals, no matter how far-fetched they may seem.
You’ll never get anywhere if you don’t have something to work for.
5) Pace Yourself
Angela Braniff describes herself as a recovering hustler. And I can so relate.
We can turn being busy into a badge of honour if we’re not careful.
Let me tell you now that resting is just as important as working hard. It isn’t always easy to do, especially if you’re on fire and passionate about the work you do, but it is vital.
Take your work goals and set them next to your priority list. Measure your goals by your priorities.
My priorities of being present and joyful with my children automatically remind me to pace myself when it comes to working.
Work never goes away entirely. There will always be something else to do.
Heck, if you’re a mom then you’ll already know that!
A mother’s work is never done.
The beauty of blogging is that you can set your own pace, your own timeline, and your own schedule.
When you’re setting those things, be sure to include time to rest and recoup. I promise it’ll make you more productive in the long run.
Being a successful work-at-home mom is going to be defined differently by everyone. My personal definition of success is when you can place your priorities and goals side by side and create a method that balances the two.
It won’t be a flawless method or one that doesn’t require tweaking now and then, but the point is that there is one.
It is a beautiful thing for children to see their mother working hard to achieve her goals, whatever they may be.
Show them how to do it in a healthy way and they will be able to take that through life.