Although working from home is one of the best decisions I’ve made so far, I still have this thought at times that what if I unintentionally neglect my most important role in life – being a “mom” to my children. Being visible is not just it. Yes, they see me seated on my chair as soon as they come home from school, but there are times that I couldn’t keep up with what they really need from me. Guess, I’m just lucky to have a house helper around to assist me, but there will always be things that only a mom can and must handle, personally.
Some days, I feel like things are working the way I like it. I get to spend time with my children on weekends, and in between my working hours when they need assistance on their homework. On other days, I feel like quitting and just be a SAHM, focusing on household chores, school events and the likes.
I’ve been an on and off WAHM for over 9 years now and finally settled to being one again, just this year. I still remember vividly when my brother knocked my bedroom door to tell me that my 2 y/o daughter then was making milk for herself, just because I wouldn’t wake up from a graveyard shift. That was the reason why I had to resign from my home-based job in 2008 and went back to the corporate world which lasted for 4 years. The rest is history. So many unfortunate events happened in between after that, which made me stay at home for good.
Finding balance when you work from home is definitely a challenge. It’s not like when you’re in the office. You just check-up on them and give instructions to whoever is around with your kids. When you’re at home, you just can’t seem to ignore what you hear and actually see that need attention i.e. dirty dishes in the kitchen, a messy bed, piled-up laundry, scattered toys, or even a sick child etc. You may be gifted with multi-tasking hands but you just got to find ways to balance everything, for your own sake. Of course, you don’t want to end up exhausted at the end of each day.
Here are some of the things that a Work at Home Mom needs to remember and actually do:
- SCHEDULE. Time-management works well for me, both ways, at work and at home. Dinner MUST be served at 7pm, and I make sure to have it quickly so that I’d have more time to spend with my girls before bedtime. I get an hour break for this so might as well use it wisely. Before accepting the job, I made sure that my working schedule will not conflict with my time for my children. Meetings and school events are usually done in the mornings; therefore, I chose a job with a schedule that does not overlap with any of these. I’m just glad that when urgent things or emergencies happen, I am allowed to make up for the lost hours with no pressure.When my children were still babies, I made sure that they’re tucked in bed before my shift, unless otherwise, they get cranky for no reason. If you think this will never work for you, choose a job that does not require a quiet background or a client call on video. In short, you must first know your ideal working hours before getting to a decision to work from home.
- THINGS-TO-DO LIST. Believe it or not, despite the many tools found online these days, I still go the old school way. I have a spare notebook always on standby and keep notes for myself. Aside from that, I keep back-up notes on my desktop for easy access.
- HOUSEHOLD SCHEDULE. Just as you have your to-do-list at work, spare a page of your notes for the household chores, or keep notes on the fridge for you to see. There was a time when I had no help, I would get up as early as 4am and made sure that everything that my children need are ready before they are up from bed. As soon as they left home for school, my day begins but I have kept a rule for myself and that is “FINISH WHAT YOU CAN ONLY DO FOR THE DAY”. That is why scheduling chores are as effective as scheduling your things-to-do at work. Errands, in my case, are done in the mornings and on weekends while market and grocery trips have now been a family fun trip with my children. Involving your children will also help lessen your loads i.e. sorting of the laundry, setting the table, etc.
- KEEP COOKED MEALS READY. If your kids go to school everyday and preparing lunches are a part of your daily routine, make your life easy. You don’t need to get up at 3am to boil a kilo of meat. Do it while the kids are busy watching TV and you are seated on your chair – working. Or better yet, keep cooked meals in the fridge ready to heat up in the morning. If your children are picky eaters, then make use of Google and find 5-minute prep meals.
- GET RID OF THAT GUILT FEELING. I know, when you stare at your children while they are fast asleep, everything kicks in. Talk to them and explain them the situation. In my case, my husband works abroad which makes it more difficult for me. I play the role of a trying-to-be-a-perfect-mom and a father at the same time. There is no one else to attend to every school activity but ME. I have no choice but to make my schedules wisely and keep my Employer informed.
At the end of the day, once you get the hang of it, you’d be able to tell yourself “Good job”, and then smile. It’s all a matter of trial and error, balance, and self-worth, which most of us “moms” forget. It doesn’t mean that just because we work from home and have kids to attend to, we won’t need to dress up and put make-up on. Make yourself important, too. Glam-up once in a while if you need to. Spend a little on a brand new dress and your favorite book sometimes. It won’t kill your budget, trust me.