Successful work at home is hard, crazy, messy, and rewarding all at the same time. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone. We all face so many of the same struggles, issues, and successes.
While we all struggle, some seem to handle work at home so much more smoothly than others. Why such a difference? Successful work at home moms have a few things figured out. I had to learn the hard way, and it’s still a constant balancing act, but maybe the list will save you some of the headaches.
5 things successful work at home moms do differently:
1. They realize they can’t do it all.
We are only one person. It’s okay to ask for help, to outsource, to let some things go.
When we moved to a new town, everything happened so fast that I didn’t have much time to think through the layout of our new house and how I wanted to arrange the kitchen cabinets, storage, etc. The movers were trying to get everything done and get home to start the weekend. (In their defense, it was THE hottest Friday in August. We all wanted to be done.)
We spent the next couple of days getting the kids ready to start school that coming Tuesday. About two weeks later, I started working full time from home. It was a crazy busy job that involved juggling a lot of projects and deadlines. I had to travel a lot for training the first month. Needless to say, I didn’t get the house in order nearly as quickly as I wanted to. There was no volunteering at school parties or making homemade Christmas gifts that year.
Some things just had to give. I couldn’t do it all. As much as I wanted to, I had to recognize that I had to let some things go for a season. I didn’t like it because some of those activities were important to me, but it was temporary.
After I stopped working full time and switched back to client work, I started volunteering once in a while. I was able to catch up on getting the house organized, painted, and decorated. I’m still working through some of it, but a house is always a work in progress.
As hard as this can be, saying no is absolutely necessary sometimes. Moms tend to think we “should” be able to do everything we’re asked, so we say yes out of guilt, obligation, or fear. If you can’t say “heck, yeah” when you’re asked to do something, maybe it needs to be a firm no.
Pay attention to your body language – if you’re feeling dread or tense up just thinking about a job or request, maybe you shouldn’t do it.
3. They know when to say yes.
There are some things that we just know are the right thing to do. It fits, and we feel good – about ourselves, our work, our family. When those things come along, by all means do them. Everything you say yes to means you’re saying no to something else. Make your yeses selective and make them count.
4. They take care of themselves.
This is another thing too many moms skip over. We try to fix the world and take care of everyone else, but put ourselves last. That’s a fast track to burnout and depression.
Taking care of yourself will look a little different for each person, but it’s still important to make it a guilt-free priority every day. Your needs may also be different in each season. Which brings me to #5…
5. They realize parenting and working at home are seasonal, and they roll with that instead of fighting against the current.
What I mean by that is things shift. Our kids grow and change; our work opportunities come and go. What works in one season may not be good in another.
Many factors affect each season – health, finances, kids, moving, job changes, relationships, extended family, and the list goes on. We need to recognize that no season is permanent. The kids won’t always be in diapers; another job opportunity will come along; someone will get sick. Don’t wish away the season you’re in; enjoy it because it will pass sooner than you expect.
Here’s what I’ve learned about seasons: While some seasons are harder than others, no season is all bad. Every season has valuable lessons and growth. Each one is shaping us and preparing us for another phase, whether we see it right now or not. If you’re going through a tough season right now, hang in there and don’t be afraid to reach out for help.