7 ways to keep your sanity as a work at home mum

1. Set yourself a flexible routine

I've lost count of the times that I've sat down to work then been distracted by the pile of ironing looming over my shoulder (it's actually in the corner at the other side of the room but I can feel it watching me). If it's not the ironing, it's an interesting website I've come across or planning the children's tea or... The list of potential distractions is immense and endless so creating a slot of time when you will commit your attention solely to your business (and adhering to that commitment) is a useful and valuable habit to get into. Of course there will always be days when your child is off school/nursery ill or some other disruption forces itself into your slot and that is where the flexibility comes in, enabling you to move part of your slot to the evening when your children are asleep or earlier in the morning before the rest of the family gets up.

2. Write a blog!

Blogging doesn't have to be expensive. Sites like Blogger and Wordpress provide this service for free. I'm what you could call a blogging obsessive. I have one for each of my home businesses which I update regularly. I use them for publicity and to keep returning customers in the loop. They're an excellent way to add personality to your websites too.

3. Network with other WAHMs

As a WAHM (work at home mum) myself, I sometimes feel isolated and neglected by the outside world, especially as I'm the sole employee of my two home businesses. Joining an online network of your peers can be the answer. There are websites and forums for fellow business women such as Giant Potential which for me has opened up a whole new support network, provided useful business advice, shared experience and raised visibility of my businesses. I no longer bend my husband's ear. I log on instead.

4. Relocate

It's a beautiful, sunny day and you're stuck at the computer rattling away on the keys. The four walls of your office space seem grey, grey, grey. Relocate. Go sit in the garden. Go to your local library. I can often by found in one of our local cafes, making notes on my mobile phone. Just because you operate a home business doesn't mean that you have to actually work at home all the time.

5. Take a break

Not quite the same as relocating. What I mean is 'take a lunch break'. It's easy to carry on working through and munch on a sandwich as you type but there are real, justifiable reasons for taking a lunch break, even just for half an hour. Firstly, crumbs and keyboards don't mix. I know this from personal experience. Secondly, taking a break enables you to return to your work refreshed and often with a solution to the dilemma that has been bugging you all morning. Finally, home workers deserve a break too.

6. Park the guilt

Harping back to that pile of ironing I mentioned, you will always find things you could be doing for your family instead of working. You could be treating your toddler to a trip to the seaside instead of leaving them with the childminder. Your school age children would love for you to bake them a cake instead of strain your eyes over the yearly tax return. You could paint their bedrooms, tidy up your partner's side of the bed, and spend hours planning sumptuous evening meals and delightful packed lunches. I've come to the conclusion that guilt is just one element of the juggling act of parenthood. Don't beat yourself up.

7. Connect with your community

Another answer to those feelings of isolation (and often envy of your friends who go out to work, with their capsule wardrobes and coffee bar lunches) is to find a way to combine your home business with reaching out to your local community. Whether it's getting involved in a school fair, offering your services to mums you meet at school or publicising through the local press, making that connection can not only provide you with extra support and raise more business, but it can also create a feeling of being part of something bigger.

Comments

  1. Great advice. When I lost my job I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to begin my writing career, that I would have plenty of time to devote to it. I'm easily distracted just like you say about the laundry. Good tip to take the laptop and get outside or make a trip to the library.

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  2. Great advice. It is amazing how many distractions you can find in your own home.

    Love the idea about working outside. Today will be a warm and sunny day--in February!--I definitely need to be outside in it, even though I have lots of work to do.

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