Guest blogger Emily Graham is the creator of Mighty Moms. She believes being a mom is one of the hardest jobs around and wanted to create a support system for moms from all walks of life. On her site, she offers a wide range of info tailored for busy moms — from how to reduce stress to creative ways to spend time together as a family.
No one demands more attention than a baby or toddler. They are notorious for being the center of their own universe and have little understanding of anything but themselves being a priority. So how do you get your work done when you have little attention-hoggers in the house?
Maeband, the pregnancy belly band that lets you keep wearing your favorite pants all through your pregnancy, offers some ideas on how to adjust your work to accommodate your babies. (see what we did there?) Maeband founder, Holly, and her mother Darla Rae created the belly band when Holly was pregnant with her fourth child, so she knows a little bit about working with children in the home. What tips does she have for you? Let’s see.
An alarm clock set for an hour or two before the time your child usually wakes up can give you some quiet time to either get a few tasks done or to get yourself prepared for the day’s work. You can use that time to gather your thoughts, do some yoga stretches, and lay out the plans for that day.
A papoose carrier is wonderful if your infant is small since it frees you up to do whatever needs to be done while keeping them happy and content. Most infants will fall asleep to the gentle rocking as you walk, which can be a real help for those long phone calls. You can see Holly’s favorite carriers in her previous Maeband BLOG.
The television has gotten a pretty bad rap as a source of entertainment for young children, and it’s true too much screen time is never good. However, there are quality programs made for very young children that, in short spurts, can keep them occupied when you need to focus your attention on something else. Sesame Street has been helping preschoolers learn for more than five decades and is never a bad choice, but there are a few more that can help children learn while keeping them entertained. Holly’s babies loved Baby Einstein and Baby Beethoven.
Hiring a babysitter for those times you really cannot do it alone is the best option for many work-from-home mothers with young children. Care.com is a great resource for finding childcare help since many caregivers are flexible with days and hours. Whether you need someone most of the day or only a few hours a week, you’ll probably be able to find a sitter that can work with your schedule. Make sure you hire someone who has completed their background check and can provide referrals.
Use tools to simplify your job. Many tools are available, free of charge, for a lot of the tasks you do. If you’re a business owner, you can do things like making your own business cards online. An invoice maker can really make a difference in the amount of time you’re spending collecting fees and payments. Using an easy and free template that you can customize with your brand, colors, and design means eliminating long hours on the phone or trips to the printer.
Look for ways to alleviate stress. It’s not unusual to feel overwhelmed, and guilt is the last thing you should be carrying around. But sometimes it’s unavoidable when you’re juggling so many responsibilities. Many counselors and therapists offer virtual sessions and oftentimes insurance companies cover those. Physical activity can also be a huge source of relief.
If your job is the source of your stress, consider taking online classes to earn a degree in a field that you’ve always wanted to pursue. By getting your degree online, you can fit classes and assignments around your work and home schedule.
Take time to give your children your undivided attention. By giving them 100% of your attention periodically throughout the day, they won’t be clamoring for it when you’re the least able to provide it. It isn’t easy to work their needs around your work schedule, so plan to be flexible. But remember, small children thrive on routine, so if you can plan those times, you’ll both be better for it.
You’re working hard. Remind yourself you don’t have to be all things to all people. Prioritize your own well-being too. You’re just as important as anyone else in the room, even if you’re not the one who needs the most attention.