What is a stay at home working mom? When I was in college I remember thinking that I wanted to pick a degree that would allow me to be at home with my children as much as possible if I needed to work to support my family.
Growing up, my mom was a teacher. It was a wonderful “mom job” because she was gone during the day and was able to be at home with us through the Summer. She worked HARD and also helped by designing/creating/painting porcelain dolls and ceramic in her “spare time.” If I was to spend time with her, it was often sitting on her sewing room floor, prepping her classroom, or helping around the house. She and my father both were hard working, in the education system, and giving their all to us and to their jobs.
I decided going in to Family Consumer Sciences education was a good choice for me because it covered so many things I was passionate about: motherhood, child development, interior design, nutrition, adult roles, and finances. Foods and sewing just happened to be something I had to learn along the way (thank goodness, because I learned a lot!). After working in the mortgage/finance world for six years, I had my first son. I LOVED being able to be at home with him and explore through the day together. It was my dream to be able to be at home with my children to help them grow. I found that for ME, I wanted something to do at home to help contribute to the family finances and to give me a place for my brain to go outside of the day to day mom routine. I personally felt a strong connection to who I was as a woman and mother when I allowed space in my life to make a little money, and it really helped with us paying down student loans and purchasing our first home. I started this blog as a passion project. I did it because I love it, and I was able to share knowledge that I learned in my education degree but more importantly what I was learning hands on with my babies every single day. Through years of blogging, from personal, to professional, I was able to start developing a business that I still love today. Thanks to the internet there are more mothers and fathers that are able to work AND stay at home with their kids and it is so awesome! What can be tricky is figuring out the balance at home to get things done and still have quality time with your kids. Here are some things I have learned along the way of how to be a successful stay at home working mom. I made this fun video with Special K to show you ” a day in the life” of a typical day I might have.
- Prioritize. There is no way to do it ALL. That is why taking a moment to sit down and figure out what you want most and giving up the things that matter least will be the difference between reaching what you desire or falling short into the same patterns of what you’ve always had. This can be applied to your day to day goals or long term ideas that are brewing in your head.
Sometimes you will have days that are filled with more “work” type stuff and other days you will have days that are filled with more “home” type stuff and that is perfectly okay. Prioritize each day to complete the things that NEED to get done and then sort out the rest as you go. Always start the day by attacking the thing that you want to do the least when you have the most energy. Another approach to success could be getting something done first thing in the morning that automatically puts you in “go mode.” For me, it is typically getting a load of wash and dishes going before I head out the door to get the kids on their way.
2. Discover your why. I adore this ted talk from Simon Senik on “finding your why” that helps you pinpoint exactly what you want from this life. Dream big! It is my personal belief that motherhood is a divine calling that I am meant for. This IS my most important work. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for me to work toward something that burns within me to give more or be more than the woman I am today. I have found that I am a better mother and a more patient mother when I find moments to develop who I am as a woman. It is my goal to teach my children hard work, passion, direction, and self discovery. Helping my children have a brighter future fuels me. Write it all down, find what YOU want, and go after it!
3. Create lists & set timers. I have heard that something that you want should to be written down to turn from a wish to a goal to an achievable dream. That may sound “like a fairytale” but I have found that this really applies from day to day tasks to achieving long term goals. Biting off goals into small, achievable goals takes an unsurmountable goal into something that we chip away at each day. This applies so much to getting things done as a working-stay at home mom. Juggling laundry, dishes, kids, and work tasks takes real effort and focused time. Use timers for yourself for chores, working out, playing with your kids, and getting work done. This will help you to keep a real perspective on how much time something is actually taking you. You may find that 5 focused minutes is all you really need to get the kitchen clean, or that you need 10 focused minutes folding the laundry. 15 minutes of working out could be all you really need to get that workout in that has been hanging over your head for days.
4. Fill in the in between moments. Find what work/home balance works for you. Are you a night owl or an early riser? To fit all the things in, it is important to fill in those moments that you are most alert and ready to tackle the things you need to get done. I find that early morning works best for me, but if the baby has kept me up the night before, that is less likely to happen, so I adjust and do late nights. If you are a mother of young children, you may find that you can’t really stick to a day schedule because your kids will need you so much during the day. As your children get older and the day opens up, you won’t have to nearly so creative with your time. I still allow for “pleasure” filled moments. They just look differently than they did before. I watch TV shows while getting my run in rather than going to the gym, or I will listen to an audio book as I do the laundry or the dishes.
5. Recruit help when you can. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help where you can get it. As your kids get older, set up a chore routine that helps you with the chores, hire a cleaning person to help with the deep cleaning, or swap babysitting with a friend so you can tackle the mom world together. As women, we can often get into the habit of doing it all because we figure it will be done right, or more quickly, or you don’t want the guilt of asking for someone else to help you. I’ve been there in many different circumstances. We are in this together, and asking for help when it is needed is totally fine. Necessary even!
6. Take time for you. It is paramount to take time to take care of YOU. Take time to workout. Take time to eat well. Take time to re-energize with a girls night out. I struggle with this. I try my best to work out 3-5 times a week, and plan healthy snacks to have at home and on the go. I notice that when I do this for myself, I am so much more patient and I have so much more to give to my kids and my husband. Even if it is a stay at home 15 minute work out, I always feel so much better and never regret doing it! No one can give from an empty well. Take time for yourself and everyone around you will benefit from it. Own your time and taking care of yourself as a woman and a mother. Special K‘s new Nourish and Protein line is all about encouraging women to value themselves, their time, and owning the need to take care of oneself! I love this message and all of their new products. Each is made with quality ingredients that you can see and recognize. My favorites are the Protein Bites, Protein Bars, and the new Nourish Coconut Cranberry Almond Cereal. Fit in the workout, Even if it is a stay at home 15 minute work out!
Each bar, bite, and cereal is made with intention of filling your body with the nutrients you need to stay energized and feeling strong.
7. Quality time. Take time to create quality moments with your kids. If you take time to really focus on them, even 15-20 minutes of un-interrupted time, you will find that they are much more likely to respect those moment of, “I’m on an important phone call, please be quiet.” If you find time to create moments for each other, you can truly enjoy being together and enjoy your role as mom. Read a book together, go to the park, play a silly game, get messy creating something with your hands, watch a movie or just waste time together. As John Lennon noted, “Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.” Enjoy your time with your kids, because when you look back you will never wish you had worked more. Stick to #1 of what your priorities are and you will be just fine! Whatever you do, realize that there will be days that you feel overwhelmed and like you are falling short one way or another. Don’t let that get you down! Tomorrow is a new day, and we are all doing the very best that we can to keep the circus going. Motherhood is a journey that always comes with surprises.
What ways do you find your balance?