When I first made the transition from a stay at home mom to a work at home mom, I’ll admit, it was rough. I was used to a flexible schedule and not needing a super structured routine. Certain things like meal times and bedtimes were structured but overall we could wake up when we wanted and figure out our day as we went through it.
But when I began working more hours from home with my part time job and once I started blogging, my working hours increased to closer to a full time job.
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Initially I tried to keep the same schedule of working during naptime and a few other times throughout the day. But that wasn’t enough time. I tried going with the flow throughout the day and taking advantage of the time when it presented itself but the problem with that was the time rarely presented itself. Life was very distracting and I found myself making excuses about how I’d do more tomorrow, or on the weekend.
To combat that, I had to get really intentional with my time. Again this was hard for me because I’m much more of a flexible routine type person at home.
So what does being intentional with your time mean and how can it work for you when you’re transitioning to working at home?
Being intentional with your time means you have to know what you need to complete every day. There can’t be anymore, oh I’ll get it done later or tomorrow. Because you know that’s just another procrastination tactic. In order to take control of your day, you have to plan out your time.
I had to wake up every morning at the same time, plan out which job I was going to work on during naptime and after the kids went to bed. If my oldest didn’t take a nap, I already prepared her that she would have quiet time and need to play independently because I was going to be working.
Commit To Your Plan
Not only will you have to plan out your time, but you have to actually do the work when you plan to do it. This was the absolute hardest thing for me. I really enjoyed my evenings. After long days of taking care of the kids and working, I liked vegging out for a couple hours and watching TV or reading a book. It was my relaxation time. A time for me to decompress after a long day.
As a SAHM you were probably able to enjoy little parts of your day where you worked on a hobby, read a book, or watched T.V.
But when you transition to WAHM, you’ll have to give up a lot of that time. I know I was really hesitant to do this at first, but when I saw I wasn’t as productive as I knew I could be, I knew I had to make a change.
Once I saw how much work I got done during that time it motivated me to continue. I still gave myself a few evenings to do nothing but relax at night because I’m not a robot and I would go crazy if I never had time to myself! But my point is you may have to give up something you enjoy doing, (at least some of the time) to fit in extra work time.
Plan for Disruptions
Making room for extra work time can come in handy as sometimes you’ll need that flexibility because something may come up. For example, if there is a holiday or a birthday coming up and you know you will be occupied the whole day, you know you aren’t getting any work done.
So plan ahead and do more work throughout the week to make sure you can take that day off. Or sometimes a situation may come up out of the blue, (like you or your kids get sick) and you won’t get work done that day. You will need to plan out the rest of your week to accommodate extra work time to make up for that missed day.
Learn to Say No
You will have to learn to say no to my kids. This is another challenge because as a SAHM you can go with the flow and do projects or play games with your kids at a whim. Your kids are probably used to that if you’ve been staying home with them for awhile.
But now that you have to get intentional with your time you have to be prepared to tell them no. There were (and still are) a lot of times I have to tell my kids I can’t play a game with them or that they will have to wait because I have to get my work done first.
When you work at home, there is a really unique dynamic because you feel like you should be doing all of the things a stay at home mom does (because you are home), but you also have to find time to fit in your work.
I had to learn to keep my activities and schedule really basic. I couldn’t schedule my kids to do a ton of activities because I couldn’t afford to be out of the house every day of the week for several hours. So instead I picked two activities that they really enjoyed and then I still had time for a playdate during the week.
Don’t feel guilty if you have to keep your kids close to home because you need to work. They will be just fine playing at home. Plus if your kids are young, they won’t know they aren’t going to a bunch of activities anyway!
If you think you should be doing more around the house or with your kids, you need to re-frame how you think about this. Full time moms who work outside of their houses probably don’t have time to make every meal from scratch, do pinterest worthy crafts, play a bunch of games with their kids, do a bunch of chores, do playdates, etc. You’ll need to prioritize what is most important for you to do throughout your day and again, plan for it.
Like I said I had to be picky about the activities I put my kids in. Although I do clean and organize, my house won’t be in any home decor magazines anytime soon! Another way I create more time is by keeping meal times relatively quick. I don’t make elaborate meals, so my meal preparation is simple and saves me time.
Make Your Home Work For You
Something else that can help you fit in work is doing specific tasks in specific areas of your house. So when my kids play in the basement, that’s when I work on computer tasks. When we are upstairs that’s when I work on my other job because I don’t need a computer for that stuff. At night, I will usually work on blog stuff but I use a paper and pen and do the preliminary work before I need to type it out.
Figuring out what tasks you can do when you are in specific areas of your house is not just a time saver but can help you become more efficient too.
BE With Your Kids
When you are with your kids, you have to be with your kids. I make it a point to put my phone and work away and really engage with them. Because I have to say no a lot (and of course I feel guilty) really engaging with them helps fill up their love cup and still gives us that valuable one-on-one time. This also improves my mood because sometimes work can be stressful and playing silly games and laughing with the kids is a great stress relief and lots of fun!
Lastly, you have to let go of the guilt girl! It is so hard to say no to your kids or turn down a playdate because you have to work. But do not feel bad! You may be working to feel fulfillment in another role besides mom, you may need the money, or both! And I’ll say it again, it’s totally ok and you are doing the best thing for yourself and your family.
You Can Do This!
Working at home has a lot of benefits, (you get to be with your kids, you can still do household chores, you may even be able to set your own schedule, just to name a few) but it can be a really difficult adjustment from staying at home raising your kids.
You have to be intentional with your time. You need to plan out your time so you know exactly when you will work. You can plan out what tasks you can accomplish in different parts of your house to maximize your efficiency. You need to lower your expectations because you can’t be both a SAHM and WAHM.
Figure out what’s most important and focus on that. And of course, when you are with your kids, really engage with them. After all, they are probably who you are doing this for so enjoy the time you spend with them!
What worked for you when you transitioned from SAHM to WAHM?