(41 weeks pregnant — bathing suits and 90º temps at the end of September!)
If I had a dollar for every single time someone remarks, comments, or questions my ability to work from home while my kids are also at home… I’d have a lot of dollars! 🙂
However, as I always share with the questioners, MY situation is most likely much different then THEIR situation (and probably YOUR situation too). It might seem like I’m doing more than you or them, but really, I’m just doing different things.
If you’ve ever wondered how on earth I’m able to work from home without sending my kids to daycare, I hope these 6 reasons help to clear up any confusion.
I’m no “better” than any other working parent, I just have different skills and I’ve figured out a way to use those skills in a way that works best for me, for my personality, and for my family.
1. I am naturally organized, productive, and efficient.
I have been organized, productive, and efficient for my entire life (way back to when I was a very little girl)… it’s how I’m naturally “programmed” to be, I guess. I never had to LEARN to be this way — I just WAS.
Without even thinking about it, my brain naturally thinks of ways to better-organize whatever space I’m in, ways to be more productive with my time, and ways to create more efficiency in everything I do (seriously, even something simple like snapping beans or folding towels).
I have always been good at juggling many different tasks and activities, as well as breaking down bigger projects into manageable chunks to reduce stress and alleviate that overwhelming feeling that sometimes arises when there is too much to do!
Yes, there have been stressful periods of life for me — but for the most part, the fact that I am naturally organized, productive, and efficient is VERY helpful in my ability to manage working from home with raising my children and everything else I do each day.
2. Dave’s schedule is accommodating and his personality is supportive.
We know many families where one or both parents don’t get home from work until 5:30, 6:00, or sometimes even later. Then they still need to pick up the kids from daycare, make supper, try to get in a little quality time with their kids, and then get everyone to bed. Once the kids are in bed, they still need to do all the “normal” household stuff they couldn’t do during the day while they were at work — laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, other errands, etc. There’s no way they could have time for anything else on the side.
So the fact that Dave is almost always home by 3:30 every afternoon means our kids get to see him A LOT, we can eat dinner really early (usually by 4:45), we can spend a little quality family time together after dinner, and still have our kids soundly sleeping by 7:00pm — often earlier!
Plus, Dave is home all summer and he has really scaled back on the number of “extra” school activities he participates in — all in an effort to be home more often (which is super helpful for me).
Dave has always been very interested in, and supportive of, my blog and VA work (even way back when I wasn’t making any money), and he’s great about reading through all my posts before they go live to (hopefully) catch most of the typos!
Without his supportive personality and accommodating schedule, it would be very difficult for me to work from home with kids.
3. I worked from home BEFORE kids.
I’ll be honest, the thought of STARTING a business (or really anything big) with multiple young children at home with me all day is pretty much unfathomable for me right now.
I know plenty of parents who have done it successfully; but for me, one of the keys to working from home with kids is the fact that I had my “work routine” in place before kids were ever in the picture.
Of course, I’ve had to make several tweaks and changes to my routine as we’ve added more children to our family (see #4 below), but the bulk of the work was already finished before children entered our lives, making it easier for me to focus more on my family while my business now moves along in maintenance mode.
4. I’ve scaled back on my workload as our family has grown.
When I had Nora, I felt 100% confident I would be able to continue doing everything I did before she was born… and maybe if she hadn’t been such a fussy baby, I would have come close. However, it only took a month or two before I realized I would have to drastically change my work, social, volunteer, and extracurricular lifestyle if I wanted to maintain some shred of my sanity.
Thankfully, over the past 5+ years, I have diligently worked to simplify and streamline every aspect of my life — from my blog, email, and VA work, to my volunteer opportunities, meal planning, and my strategies to keep our house “clean enough”.
- I went from publishing 6-8 posts per week to 5 posts per week.
- I quit 3 of my smaller virtual assistant jobs.
- I quit reading most other blogs.
- I do almost ZERO social media — just a handful of Facebook posts per week because I enjoy interacting on Facebook.
- I don’t send out any email marketing — just the daily post email that goes out automatically to anyone who subscribes, which requires no effort on my part.
- I have turned down EVERY SINGLE travel, conference, and speaking opportunity I’ve gotten over the past 4 years (this was very difficult at times!)
- I have turned down 3 book offers.
- I have quit almost all my volunteer work
- I don’t do nearly as much with friends (we all have little kids and it’s just easier to connect over email or phone these days)
- I have scaled back on cleaning my house and keep it “clean enough” without spending too much time
- I have a great system for laundry that saves me tons of time each week
- I don’t feel bad saying ‘no’ to new opportunities that don’t fit my stage of life (even if they are fun activities)
As I mentioned above, Dave has really scaled back too — he went from coaching 3 sports and being SUPER involved in so many aspects of school life to no coaching and, essentially, no extra curricular activities at all.
We both know this is just a season of life for us — and we both hope to eventually add a few more things to our plates once our children are older, but for now, we are happy to enjoy less busyness and less stress.
5. All of my at-home work is flexible.
I have been offered SO many different work-from-home opportunities over the years, but I’ve turned almost all of them down because they have strict hours, important deadlines, or require lots of time-sensitive work.
I’m sorry, but with multiple little children around all day, there is NO WAY I could ever commit to having certain pieces of work done by a specific time each day or each week — and I certainly can’t set aside multiple hours in the middle of the day for a conference call, video chat, or group project. That’s just not realistic for me right now.
So I only accept job opportunities that are VERY flexible, with tasks I can complete in my own time, after the kids are in bed, when they’re playing with Dave, etc. etc.
Yes, this means less over-all income for me, but one of the main reasons I enjoy working from home so much is that I can work it around MY LIFE. I can throw in a load of laundry, put dinner in the slow cooker, and take my kids to the park for the morning… and then tackle my to-do list once Dave is home or once the kids are sleeping.
Without this flexibility, working from home with kids definitely would NOT work for me!
6. I LOVE being home!
I think it goes without saying that if you don’t enjoy being home, you probably won’t like working from home (with or without kids!)
When Dave and I were first married, I was convinced I would keep working full-time outside the home even after we eventually had children. However, only a couple years into our marriage, I discovered how much I just LOVED working from home, and generally being home all the time.
After Nora was born, it felt so natural for me to be at home with her (even though I NEVER pictured myself as a stay-at-home-mom). I’m so thankful everything worked out for me to be home with her, considering she refused to eat when I wasn’t around! I can’t even imagine the amount of stress and “mom guilt” I would have leaving her every day, knowing she would eat little to nothing while I was gone.
Without any one of these pieces to my puzzle, it would most likely be VERY difficult and VERY stressful for me to work consistently from home with young children at home.
However, based on my lifestyle, my personality, Dave’s schedule, and Dave’s personality, working from home doing the jobs I do seems to be the perfect fit for me and for our family right now.
I’m completely aware that this could all change at any time — but for now, working from home with kids definitely seems to work for me!