Tips for the Work-From-Home Mom

Last summer, I wrote an article about the incredible opportunity I had to work from home.  I’m still loving it and grateful for this role, but there are things I’ve learned over the past year about how to make the constant balancing act work when you don’t have physical separation from your personal and professional lives.  These are just a few things that me and some of my friends/colleagues do.  Are there others that you would add?

  • It’s very important to me that I don’t spend a lot of time in my home office on the weekends. It gives me a sense of a break from work and I’m fresher on Mondays because of it.  Even if you don’t have a dedicated office, find a way to have a clutter-free and pretty place to work that’s separate from your day-to-day mess.
  • Jill Frank, C2G’s Director of Technical Recruiting, takes advantage of her local supermarket’s grocery delivery service. Most supermarkets now even have an easy to use app that saves your weekly shopping list.
  • The slow cooker is your friend. On those nights where you have activities and appointments to attend, take advantage of a free 10 minutes you may have in the morning and throw something in your slow cooker.  This will allow you to come home at dinner time and just eat vs. having to start cooking at the last minute or resorting to take-out.  There are tons of great websites to get recipes.  This one happens to be my favorite for delicious, but healthy options.
  • Lori Rinn, C2G’s VP of Talent Acquisition, says to take advantage of getting your laundry done! It’s ok to fold laundry while you’re on a conference call as long as you don’t need to be in front of your computer or have to be an active participant.
  • Shadee Barkan, a senior level Ed Tech executive, has worked from home for approximately 2.5 years and said, “Get your high priority stuff for the day done at 6am.” Not always easy to do – but working from home introduces a whole new level of ‘things that might go wrong’ later that day.  The sitter cancels and cannot pick up your kids, the school calls to say your son is sick, your husband forgot to tell you there will be workers in your house, and the list goes on and on and on.  I find that if there’s a few important tasks I MUST get done that day, it’s easier to wake up early and bang it out — this way, when I have a home-related distraction later, I minimize that panicky feeling.  And if nothing goes wrong – great; now you won’t feel guilty about squeezing in a cocktail and TV show at 5pm or heading out early for your son’s soccer game.
  • I find that if I don’t get out of the house for more than a day or two, the walls start to close in on me and that’s not good for me or my employer. Whenever you have a free half hour, take a walk, go to supermarket, anything to get fresh air and a change of environment.
  • I try not to schedule calls at the times my kids walk in the door from their respective schools. This isn’t always possible, but I find that the afternoons and evenings are much less stressful if I can focus on them for a few minutes before they start their homework.
  • Just because you’re home, doesn’t mean you’re available for every school committee. I keep a low profile during the week because I just can’t commit to lots of activities.  I do what I can, schedule it, and make sure not to overcommit myself to these things.
  • On snow days, you’re not the town babysitter.
  • Try on your work clothes every so often – they’re not as forgiving as yoga pants or stretchy jeans so make sure you’re keeping tabs of that!
  • Be grateful every single day that you’re not spending valuable time commuting!!

Jen Klotz is the VP of HR for Consultants 2 Go.