Now, I’m not trying to ostracize anyone here, but I’m going to make a bold statement: Being a work-at-home parent is a tough gig. You've got all the perks and all the drawbacks of being a stay-at-home parent AND a working parent. It's tough to remember to come up for air sometimes. Here's the way I see it...
It doesn't matter what your work life looks like, though, because any kind of parenting has plenty of stress attached to it. There’s nothing easy about it at all. Despite all the exhausting challenges, though, I don’t think I’d have it any other way. My work-at-home lifestyle is best for me for many different reasons, but it does come with a price: incredible amounts of stress. Plus, related stress headaches, stress-induced binge eating, long nights and early mornings with little sleep, and the like. It ain’t pretty.
But for moms like me, who have to work for extra income but still can’t afford daycare, how can it all be done? I’m still working out the details myself, but here are some of the little tips I’ve picked up along the way in my nearly 8 years of writing and momming at the same time.
#1 – Schedule Your Time
Admittedly, I can’t always stick to my plans but I make them anyway and then I try my damnedest to make them happen. When you know that you are going to work from 1-3 pm today, you can spend the morning focused on your kids, running your errands, or taking care of odds and ends around the house. Plus, when that scheduled time rolls around, and you’ve trained yourself to respect it, you can flip modes easily and get right into your work.
#2 – Take Some Time
As tempting as it is for me to start power-writing as soon as the kids’ heads hit their pillows, I have to take some time off once in a while. Everyone else gets downtime; so why would work-at-home parents deserve any less? I like to make Tuesday my “Sunday” as my husband says. It’s a day without deadlines that I can relax and recoup; it’s the perfect way to get ready to start off a new week of work.
#3 – Have Family Time
You can’t live your life in black and white: when the kids are awake and when they aren’t. When your kids are awake, it’s not just “other task” time, it should be an opportunity to enjoy your growing family and get down on the floor to color, play blocks, or make the noises for the train. I can’t do it every week, but I also try to go out on one of my husband’s kid adventures with the whole family. And what’s even better more important is that I won’t allow myself to think about work while I'm there.
#4 – Take Time to Organize
Back in the day, I just wrote until my hands hurt and sometimes I forgot to pay bills or send emails or other important things. Now, I have a sacred bullet journal that holds all my secrets… my calendar and to-do list and more. I write everything in organized little lists and keep a section devoted to each week’s workload. As I take care of things or complete writing assignments, I cross them off. It’s a simple idea but one that pays huge dividends when you’re juggling so many things.
#5 – Find Meditation Time
If you want real stress relief (not just stress minimization), the key is meditation. Keeping yourself centered through mindful meditation practices of at least 5 minutes each day can do much for your brain and body. Stress is reduced, clarity can be reached, and everything gets reset mentally. It’s like getting a fresh look at your day to day life through a sharper, cleaner lens. Don’t procrastinate this; start making time now and you won’t regret it.
What other tactics do you enjoy to help you minimize or eliminate stress from your busy life? All parents can benefit from the techniques mentioned above and I’m sure you can help me come up with more that I haven’t thought of yet!