As a single mom who works from home, I’ve had a hard time balancing work and parenting. If I spend too much time with my child, I feel guilty for neglecting my career. If I spend too much time working, I feel guilty to neglecting my toddler. However, after two and a half years of working from home, I believe that I have mastered the basic skills necessary to maintain a healthy balance of priorities.
Here are a few tips for work-at-home parents who struggle to balance work and family.
1. Take a family day. At least one or two days per month, I try to set aside time dedicated to just me and my daughter. I put my phone on “silent” and tuck my laptop in my sock drawer. Then, we spend the day doing fun things, like visiting the children’s museum, having lunch with a friend or going to the petting zoo down the road. After dedicating a day to “us” time, I feel much better about encouraging her to play solo for a while.
2. Set work goals. The Almighty Deadline is one of the world’s most powerful forces. If you are self-employed and do not function within anyone else’s schedule, set goals for yourself and stick to them. How much money do you want to make this week? How many hours do you want to spend working? When you’ve established these goals, do your best to stick with them.
3. Set parenting goals. As a work-at-home mom, you should consider setting parenting goals in addition to work-related goals. I’ll often tell myself that, on any given day, I’ll complete at least one craft project with my daughter and spend at least half an hour reading books with her. Then, even if I have to use “The Lion King” as a babysitter while I finish an article, I can be assured that I’ve met my own mommy-goals and that I’m not unintentionally neglecting my toddler.
4. Take care of yourself. It’s easy to drown in your work, both as a mom and as an entrepreneur, if you work from home. Remember to take time to yourself. Have a margarita after your kids go to bed. Watch an episode of South Park. Take time with your spouse or significant other. Call a friend. You can’t take care of your child or your job if you are not meeting your own social and emotional needs.
5. Get peer support– for your child, too. Socialization is critical to your child’s development, and it can give you much-needed time to complete your own work-related goals. I will often take my daughter to the playground and let her interact with other children while I knock out a few articles. It keeps her entertained while also supporting her social development. Ideally, try to connect with other work-at-home moms and stay-at-home moms who have children the same age as yours. You’ll both get to have much-needed time with your peers.