Working at Home and Mom-ing at Home - Is balance possible?

I'm very privileged. I get to wake up every morning and have a 2 minute commute to the office. I also get to be with my girls all day. The not so great thing is working from home and 'mom-ing' from home isn't the easiest thing to do.

I'm a journalist. I have to make important phone calls, conduct interviews, nail down facts and details and at noon I have to stop it all to make sure the little one goes down for a nap. At some point I need relative silence, peace or just a low, dull roar in the background in order to string two coherent sentences together.

I take business meetings, bill clients, hold hands, wipe butts, kiss boo-boos and struggle to keep it all going and just when I think I have it down, something changes. The kids' sleep cycle changes, someone gets sick, deadlines creep close together or someone pushes my procrastination button.

So is balance possible? Perhaps more so with school-aged children, but you can work from home and have young children, the key is to be strict in some areas while being flexible in others.

Schedules are great as long as you remember the individual needs and changes in your kids. What worked when they were 9 months may not be the solution when they hit two years old.

Kids will drop or migrate nap times, so if you find yourself putting a little one down for a nap three to four times in an hour before they settle in, you may want to re-evaluate the schedule. What should not change is what nap time is dedicated to - phone calls, emails, etc.

Our kids are in bed at 7:30 p.m. which leaves me a good amount of time to tackle things that are fine to work on after 'normal' business hours - reviews, writing, etc., and gives me some hunny time with my honey. When I twiddle this time away, I have to understand it's going to have to be made up someplace else. The thought of getting up earlier to finish something I should have finished is often enough to keep me on task.

My to-do list underwent an extreme makeover. The never ending list was daunting and a productivity killer. The thing a lot of moms have trouble with is reality. In reality you are not going to get a 42-item list finished each day. Stick with the important stuff, add a optional 'want to' like a decorating project or whatever, and you'll feel better crossing off more and leaving less.

On really busy days I call in reinforcements - hubby, friends, family - whoever can make a call, find an all-important soccer cleat, entertain a two-year old or a neighbor who has 2 eggs saving me time from having to run to the soul sucking, time bandit that is the grocery store.

Give yourselves a break moms/business women. It's never going to be a perfect balance, but it is doable if you just keep a realistic perspective.

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Tags: TMFC, TMParenting, parenting

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Comment by bradi nathan on April 23, 2009 at 11:06am
http://www.myworkbutterfly.com/video/dr-robi-celebrates-take-your

Check out this working mom celebrate Take You Daughter to Work Day
Comment by bradi nathan on April 19, 2009 at 5:35pm
Funny, I had an adult temper tantrum the other day while trying to do it all. My 8 year old turned to me and said, "Mom isn't that what your site is all about?" Yes, he gets it! I launched MyWorkButterfly.com for moms like me who try every day to give their careers and families their all. I need Butterfly as much as our members do. And, a "time out" would probably help me too.
Comment by Lisa Barnett on April 19, 2009 at 11:31am
I am a wife, mother and business owner working at home as well. I find it very difficult to find the balance that pleases everyone involved.

I love the work I do so I tend to spend too much time with it. We have certain weekly commitments that I find easy to schedule in, it's the normal everyday stuff I tend to have less time for. I find myself doing laundry all on one day instead of spreading it out. I think if I did a load here and there, it wouldn't tie up my Saturdays so much and then I would have more time for family fun.

I need to be able to schedule all my activities and keep to it more strictly; such as exercising, daily cleaning, family time, and work. I haven't quite figured out when to schedule in reading a good book, shopping with friends, seeing a movie, or just lazy time.

Still looking for that balance!
Comment by Michele PFM on April 18, 2009 at 9:15am
I realized a long time ago it is impossible to think that you can get everything done every day. I figure if I hit the top ten then I'm doing great! And, really, what is "balance?" Some days I spend more time with the children, other times I'm facing a deadline so I spend more time on work, etc. I freelance from home twenty+ hours a week and homeschool three children, plus my husband works out-of-state during the week so I am on my own five days out of seven (I also have no extended family). I do what I can and try not to worry about the rest.
Comment by Shannon Dickson on April 16, 2009 at 8:33pm
I have an 8mth old and work from home - it really is a struggle some days to get it all done but somehow I manage - however how do I stop being tired all the time!!!
Comment by Patrice Walker on April 16, 2009 at 11:47am
I have to say, working from home and mommy-ing in my house is balanced because my husband also works from home! So, it is extra special to be able to run my businesses while my husband is running his business and have Zoe Madison pretty much entertaining the both of us!
Comment by Marina Kamen on April 16, 2009 at 7:15am
Check out this Blog if you have not already!

M

Hard Working moms... Fragile!... aren't we?

Being a 50 year old working mother of three children now aged 15, 17 & 22, I remember all too well the conflict of going back to work after my first son was born in 1986. Oh my! I was never at peace. When I was home I felt I was slacking with my work responsibilities and when I was at work I missed my baby boy. I have learned as the years have moved on that we women are certainly the stronger sex. We have the ability to juggle it all. Home... work... family... oh yes... and look fabulous all at the same time.
My advice is to give yourself a break. There is nothing wrong with your feelings no matter how crazy you feel at times. I have found that some of the best kids have been raised by working moms. Women who maintain a career also maintain a strong sense of self. This can enable a woman to bring a more logical approach into parenting especially as a child gets older and matures. The woman who has spent time outside the home and deals with the real world on a day to day basis may be better prepared to catch the left hooks that may be thrown at us. Parenting is never a fairy tail. I love a line I heard in the film Parenting."...Life is messy" ... ha, ha...LOL... ain't it the truth.
As a fitness singer songwriter and someone who has maintained a 100 pound weight loss, I also find that a daily workout is a great way to clear your mind. Try this... sit up straight... inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth... drop those shoulders... relax your neck and take a minute to stretch. At a tempo of 90 beats per minute here is a song I wrote/sung called "Fragile". Aren't we all? Yes... but oh how strong we ladies and moms can be!

http://www.marinaonline.com/BlogMP3/090-BPM-Fragile.mp3
Comment by Gracie Ramos on April 15, 2009 at 4:31pm
Terrace,
I have both my children in school during the day and I still run out time. I'm going to school online, and try to take advantage of the time they're in school to read, complete homework, do laundry, clean, take care of our 3 dogs and cook. As soon as they walk through the door its double time. We have to knockout supper, their homework, baths, preparations for the next day, bedtime, my nightly excercise and whatever homework I can squeeze in before I passout around 1:30 a.m. Keeping the t.v. off in the evenings has help calm the storm a little.
Enjoy your time spent with your children. Oneday you'll look back and laugh at all the crazy days your gonna survive.
To the almighty powerful moms!

Gracie
Comment by ECHOage on April 15, 2009 at 8:20am
Terreece - I don't know how you do it. I have only just started working form home now that my kids are both in full day school. I have a dream job working for ECHOage from home, part time, flexible. The truth is - the only person affected by this job is me!
I am not sure I could have dealt with trying to do it all like you do. Good for you - you should probably write a book about your experiences.
Cheers,
Roz
ECHOage Ambassador

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