Which is worse—a server crash, or your three-year-old’s 4pm crash after skipping naptime?
If you’re lucky enough to be both a stay-at-home mom and an entrepreneur, you probably know these situations all too well. In fact, you are probably juggling them at the same time.
Whether you’re just starting out after a decade of staying at home with the kids, or are returning to your thriving brand after a few weeks of maternity leave, we’ve got you! These are some of ways to keep it together at work and at home when your workplace is your home.
Create A Workspace
This may be a separate room in your house, the end of the never-used dining room table, or just closing your bedroom door so you can get some quiet. Having a designated area to work allows you to mentally focus and get in your business headspace. Even a small clutter-free corner in the chaos of a family home can be a sanctuary for a busy mom. Having your own area also serves as a physical cue to your family that you are in your workspace, literally.
Establish A Routine
Establish a routine…with some flexibility. The unpredictable nature of children means things don’t always go as planned, but having an ideal schedule helps, even if it varies day-to-day. Mothers often pride themselves on their ability to multitask, but there is something to be said for fully focusing on the work at hand. Scheduling dedicated work/family time means you can give 100% to that FaceTime call with your logo designer you’re paying a pretty penny for in the morning, and making that 6pm PTA meeting at night. (Though no one’s going to blame you if you are updating your Pinterest boards during the meeting. It’s important work, right?)
Join A Gym
Take advantage of the childcare center at the gym and get a kid-free hour for yourself in the middle of the day. Meet other moms in a group class, hit the elliptical with one of our favorite female entrepreneur podcasts, or just rock it out with some weights and some non-kid-friendly music in your ears. Your body and your mind will thank you.
Manage Screen Time
A big product launch, a client crisis, or one of many, many other chaotic situations sometimes means plopping the kids in front of the screen to get stuff done. Just be mindful of how often it happens, and make an effort to really focus and power through your work during these screen sessions.
The same goes for you, Mom. While every single email may seem pressing in the moment, the truth is most inquiries can wait a bit for a response. Prioritize what you need to get done, and figure out areas where you can wait until the next morning to respond.
Sure, you can do everything yourself, but why stress yourself out like that? Figure out what daily tasks at work and home don’t require your specific skill set and let someone else take care of them. (Be honest with yourself here! Just because your partner doesn’t load the dishwasher to your exact specifications doesn’t mean you have to do it every time.)
You may be a one-woman show when it comes to your work, but you know what your strengths and weaknesses are. Delegate tasks that fall within your weak spots. That buggy WordPress plugin might send you into a YouTube tutorial black hole for hours while paying someone to fix it may be cheaper than you think and can save you several precious hours.
Or cut down on your daily workload and spring for something like that premium social media scheduler. Your followers will never know that you created your social content earlier in the week during toddler nap time and you’ll get to spend the morning at the coffee shop with your kid instead of behind a laptop screen. (Though you should still totally ‘gram that latte art and chubby little hands holding a pastry.)
Just Say “No”
You don’t have to chaperone every single field trip. You don’t have to agree to every blog collaboration. And volunteering as chair of the school’s spring auction is a huge undertaking that is definitely not required a part of motherhood. (Seriously, it’s not.)
Forget about that mom guilt and know that you can say no. Take a cue from that certain song you just can’t seem to escape and just let it go. YOU set your limits–no one else. ‘Cause who’s the boss? You are.