Whether you’re just getting started or you’re already a seasoned work at home mom, the struggle is real! You find yourself trying to juggle all the things, explain what you do (yes, you really are working on Pinterest), and still make time for yourself and your family.
If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed with your decision to work from home, know that you’re not alone. Here are some of the most common struggles of WAHMs (and some tips to overcome them).
Balancing Family and Work
Making time for your family and work is difficult when you’re a work from home mom. Even when you have dedicated time to work, distractions are present.
As a WAHM, routines and schedules will be your saving grace.
Create your own WAHM routine that fits your family’s schedule and the hours when you’re most productive.
As you create a routine, make sure you take inventory of all of your roles. What do you do on a daily or weekly basis as mom, homemaker, and business owner?
Make a list of your tasks and then put them on a schedule. If you find that there aren’t enough hours in the day to complete everything, reevaluate your routine.
Is there anything that you can stop doing? What can you delegate? How can you simplify your tasks?
For more ideas on how to stay productive while balancing work-home-family-life, check out the resources in The Ultimate Productivity Bundle.
Finding Work From Home Opportunities
Breaking into the work from home world can be a challenge, especially if you’ve been out of the work force as a stay at home mom for a length of time.
To find jobs, first, take an inventory of your skills.
- What are you good at?
- What do you enjoy doing?
- What do you have experience doing?
Next, network! Who do you know that might be looking for help? Let people know your skill set and that you’re looking to start working from home.
A great place to find professional jobs is on LinkedIn. Update your status on LinkedIn and make sure that your profile is professional and clearly showcases your strengths.
Another great place to network is in Facebook groups. Depending on your skill set, there are some great groups for virtual assistants and freelance writers.
If you’ve never worked in the online world, or if you need help getting organized and setting up a great foundation as you’re getting started in your new position, you may want to take some online courses.
Some great foundational courses are:
The VA Bootcamp (The VA Bootcamp only opens twice a year, so join the waitlist. Download a free copy of The Virtual Assistant Checklist while you wait!)
Bonus: most courses also have a Facebook group or forum for participants. Especially if it’s a course for virtual assistants or writers, the group will often share work from home positions or opportunities for course participants.
Also, if you’ve taken any courses, especially if you’re a blogger or writer, watch for people who may need help in the course. All of my positions as a virtual assistant have come from courses and masterminds that I’ve taken.
Explaining your role as a WAHM
Has anyone ever given you the side-eye or accused you of “not really” working?
Once you have a side hustle, and even after you’re rocking your life as a WAHM, it can be difficult to explain to others that you truly are bringing in an income and your work really matters.
Aside from the fact that you shouldn’t feel the need to disclose your income to anyone other than your spouse or your accountant, you may feel pressure to run errands or “volunteer.”
Learning to say “no” will be your saving grace.
Once your routine and schedule is created, you’ll know exactly how much time you can devote to “extras.” If there’s no extra time, say that!
If you have a hard time saying no, there are softer ways. One trick is to defer the decision (“I’m completely booked this week, but let me check my calendar to see if I could help next Thursday”). Another way to softly say no is to choose a smaller commitment (“I won’t be able to run the bookfair committee, but I could volunteer to help at the event on Tuesday for three hours in the morning”).
If your kids are in school, you may find your day is wide open with no human interaction. Or, if your kids are home “working” next to you, you may miss adult conversations.
Working from home can feel lonely.
To combat the loneliness, take your computer to a library or coffee shop where you can see people but won’t be disrupted. If you feel the need to talk to someone, talk to the barista as she makes your next cup or the librarian during a five-minute break.
Another option is to start a “co-working” group. While you could get an office in a shared space, a cheaper option is to join a Facebook group and do a video conference with other people who are working from home.
In Kim Anderson’s Mentored Membership group, members have daily co-working threads to stay focused and productive while still having the community aspect of an office environment.
Making time for self-care
Once you start working, especially if you have kids at home, you may find yourself working in the margins of your day (before the kids wake up, during nap time, and late at night after everyone is sleeping).
It’s so easy to let yourself go, especially if you’re sitting at a computer for long hours.
However, you’re not doing yourself any favors by cutting sleep, skipping exercise, or eating junk food because you didn’t prepare anything healthy.
Make sure you add self-care to your daily routine. Even if it means stopping work and going to bed earlier, carving out an hour to run to spin class twice a week, or using a meal planning service with simple, healthy recipes (I love MyFreezEasy) or a meal delivery service like HelloFresh, you’ll be healthier, happier, and more productive.
For more tips to balance productivity and self-care, check out the resources in The Ultimate Productivity Bundle.
The main problems with working from home are staying organized, finding positions and opportunities, and staying healthy. But with a little practice and intention, you’ll eventually find your groove as a work from home mom.