From leaning in to off-ramping; from stay-at-home dads to on-the-job nannies, one thing is clear: Women want to have it all. The career, the family, the marriage.
But is it possible?
While the perfect work/life balance may not truly exist, the work-at-home moms who make up Hay There Social Media like to think we have it down to a science. Founder Emily A. Hay assembled a team of dedicated professionals – who happen to be moms – to work at home. Fussy baby? No problem. Tantruming toddler? We can handle it. Persnickety preschooler? We have an app for that.
WAHMs are similar to stay-at-home-moms in that we can help out in our child’s classroom but be home in time for an afternoon conference call. We draft emails while taking care of a sick child or feeding the baby and we can create a proposal while sitting on the playroom floor. We balance our time just like any other employee who works out of the home, but instead of working in between bouts of office gossip or long lunches, we work between naps, LEGO building and school pickups.
Lucky for us, the nature of social media means regardless of where we are, phones, iPads or laptops keep us in the loop and alert to any issues that may arise. Working as a team ensures our client needs are always met – at all hours of the day. Seamlessly.
When it comes to work requiring high levels of concentration, working with children around isn’t ideal, so we have to find a balance. It may seem impossible, but rest assured. It’s not!
Our team of WAHM experts chimed in to offer 15 Tips For Work At Home Moms in a few categories: Time management, entertaining kids while trying to work and knowing when to unplug:
- Get up before your kids to respond to email and get some focused work done.
- Break down tasks into manageable pieces so you’re not relying on a big chunk of time (like baby’s nap) to get the work done. It’s easier to sneak away for 10 minutes to accomplish a small task. Whatever doesn’t get accomplished during the day can get finished after bedtime (just keep a notebook handy or use your phone’s note-keeping feature to track tasks!).
- Schedule work time into your calendar as if you are going to an office: Full days when a sitter is available, or a couple hours in the morning, at naptime, or in the evenings. If “scheduled” work time doesn’t happen because of kids or life, plan to stay up late to ensure an assignment gets completed.
- Get childcare when needed – whether it’s from the husband on the weekend or daycare, a babysitter, relative or friend…it’s necessary when focused work is involved.
- Create a workspace away from the chaos. This will help your mind to focus versus sitting at the kitchen table and seeing the dishes that have piled up.
How to keep kids entertained while working:
- Have a couple of busy boxes or bags full of new or cool items to pull out to get 15 or 20 minutes of work done. Ideas include watercolor pages, sticker books, kinetic sand or a rice bin.
- With a portable device, work in the bathroom while your kid(s) take a bubble bath using bath paint or bath crayons. This can buy up to 30-60 minutes of work time (Wi-Fi is a WAHM’s best friend!).
- Periodically put all devices away and give your kid(s) bursts of focused attention every hour. It’s way easier to sneak away and answer a few emails or make a quick call if your kid(s) have a full bucket. Have a dance party, make cookies or read a few books.
- If you have any fellow work-from-home friends with kids, schedule a playdate and take turns watching the kids for a short burst of productivity.
- When all else fails, lollipops can work miracles for conference calls!
Knowing when to unplug:
- Some days you may have a sick or clingy kid. On those days, it’s OK to put work off until bedtime – just consult your team to see where someone can help.
- Networking is still a big part of your job, even if you work from home. Take time to meet with other like-minded professionals for a fresh perspective – and a guilt-free night out.
- Set boundaries on when you work. Unplug daily for dinner with your family, or make sure you truly take a weekend off.
- Budget time for yourself. It can be tough trying to meet deadlines while a big pile of laundry glares at you. Take time out to enjoy lunch or exercise – your body and mind will thank you.
- Remember going offline can actually help your work – talking current events with friends, being present for family and experiencing life outside the computer will refresh your brain and make you a better employee overall.
Here at Hay There Social Media, we think we truly have it all: Great clients, the opportunity to contribute financially to our families and best of all – we get to be the ones that take care of our most valuable assets, our children.
Are you a work from home parent? We’d love to hear your tips!