From Babysitters to Quiet Time, A Guide for “Work from Home” Moms

I never intended to be a working mom, from home or otherwise. When my first daughter was born in 2010, I quit my job as an elementary school librarian to stay home with her. As a hobby, I kept up my blog, Everyday Reading, which I’d started four years earlier, but it was definitely not a job.

But by 2012, when I was pregnant with my second daughter, I started taking on some freelance writing gigs with Disney and a few other big clients. Suddenly, I discovered I was a working mom. 

In the six years since then, I’ve had two more babies, for a total of four little girls and my blog has grown enough to keep me really busy with brand partnerships, conferences, and, of course, writing about books, reading, and our family.

Last fall, just to make things more exciting I launched a line of modern children’s rain boots inspired by the time we spent living in London with our two oldest girls. Having a product business and seeing those little rain boots on so many children all over the US has been a dream come true, but it also means that I’ve had to get even more serious about how I manage working from home.

If you’re a work at home mom too, here are some of my best tips:

  • Hire a babysitter. For a long time, I hoped I could get by with nap times but invariably some one would refuse to nap on a day I had a deadline, and it just made me too crazy. Now I have a babysitter come three mornings a week to play with my girls while I work. It lets me get my things done and then be able to focus on being the mom I want to be when my work is finished, instead of trying to combine the two all the time. It’s worth every dollar, even if it was hard to let go of both the time with my children and the money at first. I’m a better mom when I have some help and it gives me the time I need to help both of my businesses thrive.
  • Institute quiet time. I lived in fear of the day my oldest daughter gave up naps, but then I discovered the magic of quiet time. For two hours every afternoon, my little girls nap and my big girls play on their own, work on puzzles or listen to audiobooks. It’s great for me because it gives me consistent time to work, but it’s also fantastic for my girls, who need downtime after school or playdates or morning adventures. Plus, it’s helped them develop the ability to entertain themselves (which is an unbelievably valuable skill) and has fostered such creativity and imagination in them.
  • Don’t feel like you have to be working EVERY moment. When I’m paying for a babysitter, it’s so hard for me not to feel like that means I have to be working every moment that she’s here. But sometimes even a ten minute break for a walk lets me think clearly when I get back to my desk.
  • Don’t barricade yourself in your house. I’m an introvert by nature, but I’ve discovered that finding other friends who also run their own businesses is such a blessing to me. I LOVE being able to chat with other smart, driven women and learn from them. Earlier this year, I instituted monthly lunches for a handful of female small business owners here in Phoenix and those are a highlight of my month.
  • Remind yourself that one of the beauties of working from home is that you have flexibility. It might mean some nights you have to work when your kids are in bed, but it also means you get to be the one to pick them up at school or attend a morning story time at the library—whatever events and moments you don’t want to miss.

Edited by Nikki Newman Sobhani

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