When I began writing this post, it was intended to inspire women who work from home on a regular basis with their little one(s) present. What I didn’t realize was by the time I finished writing it, the number of women working from home with their kids would be increased significantly. (If you’re reading this in the future, this post is being published during the COVID-19 outbreak which has changed our everyday lives as we know it.) Suddenly, more of us are working from home with our little one(s) running around in an effort to slow the spread of a virus we never even heard of until a couple months ago.
As I prepare to hit “publish”, my hope now is that this not only inspires the “typical” work from home mom, but also the mom who has suddenly found herself in a work environment she hasn’t had to navigate before. Being a work from home mom has many challenges, especially when it comes to finding a healthy balance between professional life and mom life. It can feel like a never-ending battle with no happy medium. However, I am here to share that working from home and doing it with kids can be achieved as long as you develop healthy habits that foster productivity at work and quality time with your kid(s) and making those habits a part of your daily routine.
12 Healthy Habits for a Work From Home Mom
1. Mindful Morning Routine
If you’re going to get anything done during the day, starting off on the right foot is essential. The key to getting off on the right foot is creating a proactive routine full of mindful activities. Take a good look at your morning routine and determine if your activities are proactive or reactive. Are you waking up each day to your little one’s cries (reactive) or are you setting your alarm early enough to rise and get yourself together before he or she wakes (proactive)? Are you checking your social media notifications as soon as you wake (reactive) or are you setting dedicated times to log in, respond to messages and post to your feed or stories (proactive)?
Once you’ve identified your actions, for every reactive action you are taking each morning, replace it with a mindful routine, and you will notice positive changes almost immediately. Beginning your days with your mind in a positive place will set you up for success the rest of your day.
Types of Practices to Implement into Your Mindful Morning Routine
- Drink Water
- Listen to Music/Podcast/Audio Book
- Get Ready
- Make Bed
- Record Daily Gratitude
- Eat Breakfast
Want to know what my mindful morning routine looks like? Head to this post where I share exactly how I’ve restructured my mornings to create my most productive days.
2. Eat, Play, Sleep Routine
We’ve shared a few times our love for the Moms On Call method. If you’re not familiar with the MOC method, be sure to check it out! In a nutshell, Moms On Call is a resource that teaches you how to structure your days with growing children based on their developmental age. MOC helps you develop healthy eating, playing and sleeping routines for your little one which in turn helps you better structure how you spend your days. All in all, your days become more predictable so you know when you can dedicate undivided attention to not only your little one but also your work. For example, based on my baby’s age right now, he takes (2) four hour naps each day, so I know I can give my business four hours of undivided attention during those times. This ultimately brings me to my next healthy habit.
3. Work When Little One Sleeps
Being a work at home mom certainly comes with its challenges and dividing your attention between your little one(s) and work might be the most challenging. The reality is, if you’re trying to complete anything work related while they are awake, you’re probably not getting much done. Instead of trying to work all day long through diaper changes and play time, plan to work while they sleep. You will be surprised just how productive you are in those smaller windows of time. This may also mean you’ll have to complete some work in the evenings after your little one(s) goes to bed, but just remember time with them will be more valuable when it’s undivided. In return, the quality of your work will be that much better when you aren’t tending to someone else’s needs.
4. Get Outside
You will never understand how important it is to get outside until you start doing it often. It not only allows you to take mental breaks but also allows for you and your little one(s) to get some fresh air and stretch your muscles. Getting outdoors has many scientific benefits, but here are a few worth noting when it comes to working at home with kids. Getting outside helps boost your energy as well as your immune system, enhances creativity and helps restore your focus. Being healthier, more creative and better able to focus helps you to not only be a more attentive mom but also more productive in your work.
5. Get Social
While it can feel overwhelming to add one more thing to the calendar, it is imperative to carve out social time for you and your little one(s). Getting social improves mental and emotional well-being. Some of our favorite social activities include educational opportunities like story time at the library and music time at the local recreation center where we can invite others to join us and meet new friends. Pick at least one activity a week and make it a part of your routine. Schedule it for when your little one(s) are normally awake, and it shouldn’t disrupt your daily routine.
6. Use Phone During Designated Times
This habit has been a game changer when it comes to maintaining a healthy work from home lifestyle. Having designated times to use your phone not only frees up more productivity time for work, but also provides additional quality time with your little(s). Strive to only use your phone when they are asleep and only when necessary (i.e. client calls). Designate time for when you will respond to family and friends’ messages, rather than answering them all day long. Set specific days and/or times for client calls to ensure your time is focused and productive. Whether you use social media apps to manage a business account or to keep up socially, schedule specific times during the day to log in and always set a time limit!
7. Everything Has a Place
In your home, everything should have a place. This includes your household items and your workspace items. If you don’t have room for something, that is the perfect indicator to go through your belongings and purge. Once you have purged down to your most essential and loved items, give each item a place in your space. After everything has a designated place, know nothing else goes there, not even temporarily. After a while, it will become second nature to place your items where they belong which will ultimately eliminate clutter. When your spaces are free of clutter, your mind will feel less cluttered, helping you to become more productive and attentive.
8. Take the Two Extra Seconds
This habit goes along with the “everything has a place” notion. As daunting as it may seem at the time, take the two extra seconds it takes to put something away and put it away. That outfit you tried on this morning but don’t plan to wear? Put it away. That toy in the middle of the floor you keep walking past? Put it away. That clean basket of folded laundry sitting at the edge of your bed? Put it away! Again, the less clutter in your physical space will help eliminate clutter in your mental space.
9. Use Your Creativity
Even if you don’t consider yourself a creative person, try and make it a habit to get creative at least once a day. Whether it’s a craft with your little(s) or a new recipe in the kitchen, creativity can improve your overall health. Creativity helps you focus your mindset and calm your nerves. It reduces anxiety, depression and stress while increasing happiness and boosting your immune system. Furthermore, creativity develops your problem-solving skills and makes you better able to handle uncertain situations.
10. Put Little One to Bed Early
When I first had my baby, I assumed if we put him to bed later, he would sleep later. It turns out, that is not how sleep works. Instead, sleep begets sleep. With that, we implemented an early bedtime that allowed for him to get plenty of rest (turns out kids need LOTS of it!) and to sleep to a normal and regular hour. In turn, this freed up more time in my evenings to complete any unfinished work for the day, indulge in some self-care or sit on the couch and veg out. Basically, it’s the perfect time to unwind and relax which helps prepare your mind and body for the next day.
11. Consistent Evening Routine
Just as important as it is for our little ones to have a consistent evening routine, it’s also important for us to implement one for ourselves. First and foremost, set a time to stop working every single day. Say goodbye to the days of working odd hours into the night. Instead, cease working at your designated time and plan to complete any unfinished work the next day or on a later date. Fill the rest of your evening with relaxing activities such as reading, listening to music, journaling, meditating, praying, etc. Make those activities as part of a consistent evening routine for a more restful night which will set you up for success the following day.
12. Take a Day of Rest
This habit may just be the most important of all. When we work from home, boundaries can become more obscure. However, it is imperative to set boundaries when it comes to your time. Commit to taking at least one day of rest each week, free of work-related tasks and personal responsibilities. Taking time away from your work will give you time to connect with your little(s) on a deeper level. It will also help reduce your stress level, restore mental energy and improve short-term memory. As a result, it will ensure you will be more productive on the days you do work.
Have any additional healthy habits for a work at home mom you’d like to share? Please leave them in the comments below!