If you’ve ever thought that being a work from home mom is all rainbows and butterflies, well, you thought wrong. Sure it comes with tons of benefits but you’re up to a lot of struggles too.
I’ve been working at home for almost 3 years in total (on and off), but this year, Tee and I decided that it would be best to pursue the work at home career. Not only can we save money from Transpo and childcare, but I can personally look after Dreu while earning at the same time.
Working from home surely has tons of benefits, but sometimes, the difficulty and struggles that you have to go through make you think twice.
There are a lot of times that I wanted to give up on this working from home situation. Many people say I am lucky and blessed to have this opportunity. Which is true, of course, but when you’re burned out, and you feel like your life’s a mess, sometimes, you can only think of all the adverse side.
If you are considering starting to work from home or about to begin working from home, read through the struggles I go through every day with this work from home lifestyle.
1. Feeling guilty of giving kids divided attention
Mothers who work at home full-time are constantly struggling with the issue of not giving their children enough time. The guilt that comes with being a work at home mom is real and something I never really expected, but it is real.
When I look at my son, playing all alone, trying to entertain himself and keeps on demanding attention, I feel guilty for not giving him enough time and care. I can’t even find the time to walk him around the block.
Most of the time, if not always, I feel like I’m a terrible parent for not focusing on him and his needs.
Focus on the truth. Remind yourself that you are doing this for your kids and that they won’t be damaged if you’re not playing with them all day.
They need to learn to play on their own too. They need to have their own independence. At the end of the day, you play with them and make sure you shower them with love and care.
2. The fine line between taking care of the kids and working
Because we parent and work at the same time, one of the struggles I go through every day is that there are no boundaries between childcare and work.
I am not 100% on my game, most especially if the work I’m doing needs focus. There’s no boundary. Instead of making our house a safe haven, it can now be a source of stress.
You take care of your child and work at the same time, and that in its entirety just causes too much stress and exhaustion. Honestly, I can’t count how many times I have shouted at my son this week because he keeps on disturbing me when I’m designing something.
My job as a graphic designer needs a lot of thought on details and having a kid who keeps on asking you to sing a song with him just doesn’t help.
If it is possible, set a work time so your child knows mom is working at that time frame.
If you can have someone to look after your child for a few hours while you work, that would be helpful too.
If you have space at home, make it a work office. Once you’re in that office, they should know that you are working and shouldn’t be disturbed.
The last time I ever felt so tired was when I was working in BGC and going home to Cavite every night. But the thing with that is we have a helper who takes care of everything for us and when I get home, Dreu is already asleep. Therefore, I can grab some rest too.
But lately, I’ve felt that putting him to sleep is taking a lot of my energy already, top that with a strenuous day of chores, work and parenting. It was this time, in a long time that I felt like 8 hours of sleep is not sufficient. I need more, and it’s not just physical exhaustion. I can barely think, I can barely write. I can’t even do the things I love to do because of the fatigue.
Get enough rest:
Sleep when your kid sleeps at night so your body can re-charge. Your mind can recharge in the morning once you wake up early.
Remind yourself that you can’t do it all.
And, if you’re really tired and exhausted, take a break, and play with your kids for 5-10 minutes, and trust me, your energy will be replenished.
4. 24 hours is not enough
It feels like no matter how you arrange your schedule and block your time, 24 hours is just not enough to get things done. I have to let go and give up on some things.
There are a lot of chores to do, but so little time. Most especially if you’re working full time, like a timed-8 hour work, no matter what productivity technique you apply, 24 hours still won’t be enough. That full-time job is eating a huge chunk of your day. But what can you do if you badly need the job?
TIME BLOCK & TO DO LISTS
I’ve been sharing constantly here in the blog how I loved doing time blocks. It creates structure towards the day.
Or atleast list down all the things you need to do before starting your work and do it in 25-minute increments, using the Pomodoro technique.
I have been doing it for the past few months and I am more productive throughout my day.
If you want to know more about it, here’s a quick summary:
Between working at home and taking care of our kids, it’s kind of hard to make friends at all. There’s no time to meet up because chores need to be done on weekends and it’s your only time off.
It feels sad and boring to work alone but my toddler makes sure I don’t get bored. I certainly miss working with people around me but as an introvert, I’d prefer to work alone.
But if your someone who strives with the energy of other people, working from home will make you feel isolated. Some would even be depressed and would eventually decide to take a job outside the home.
If you spend time on social media, use it to connect with friends. If time permits, you can also meet up with friends over a cup of coffee.
But if you’re an introvert like me, you can always fill the loneliness while watching a little Netflix during your break. That’s what I do sometimes. When I feel so alone, I watch an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
6. Distracted by Messy House
One of the most distracting and annoying work at home mom struggle is a messy house.
Try working with a sink full of dishes and laundry being thrown at you, and let’s see if you still have the right mindset to focus on your job.
Because I can’t focus my attention on my son, he keeps on throwing things and toys away. Dishes are piled up because I can’t wash them right then and there. And one of my pet peeves is a dirty kitchen.
I need my clean kitchen. I feel like I can conquer anything life throws at me if I have a clean kitchen.
But now, I have to look past the dirty dishes on the sink and remind myself that I’ll just have to do it later. It irritates me a lot but I had to get over it.
Schedule chore time
I know we have the innate need to keep our house tidy. But when working, try to just pick things up as you go. Say, for example, you’re from the bedroom and you noticed your kid’s bottle, just bring it to the kitchen sink and wash it later.
You have to focus on your job and your kid. Look past the messy house and reroute your attention to the most important things.
Once you’re done with work, schedule your chores, so you don’t have to worry about it.
My schedule for important chores would be:
- Laundry – drop it off every Saturday morning
- Vacuuming – Saturday after lunch
- Meal Plan and Ordering Grocery – Saturday afternoon when my son is sleeping
Then the rest, I just go over it 25 minutes per day.
7. Your toddler is all over you
I don’t know about your kid but one of my struggles is that I can’t seem to find a place where my toddler won’t follow me. Whether it is on the table or the couch or the bedroom, he climbs and sits on my lap and just won’t let go.
I tell you, he doesn’t do that with his father when he’s working. Why me? just why?
Create a space
If your space permits, you can set up a tent for the kids because they really enjoy that. And create a home office, if possible.
That way, you and your kid has your own space and so you can do you.
8. Waking up before kids
I made it a habit to wake up before my son so I can have my quiet coffee time, and meditate before I go on with my daily routine.
I strive for this.
I Feel like I am equipped for whatever the day may bring once I have all my energy ready for the day, and the quiet helps me achieve that.
But being a work at home mom full time means that I have to wake up earlier than I usually do so I can still get on to my quiet time, prepare breakfast, take a bath(3x a week), and prepare for a meeting. I need to do all these before my son wakes up.
I am used to waking up a little late. If you’ve read my post about my schedule, I don’t wake up until 9-10 am. It’s just how we do it at home, and it works for us (night owls). But now, I need to get up at 7 am, and that is a huge struggle for me.
Sleep when they sleep
I still struggle with this because I tend to enjoy the few hours that our house is silent but I’ve learned that the only way for me to wake up earlier than my kids would be to sleep when they sleep.
That way, you both get a good night rest.
Work at Home Mom Struggles
Being a work at home mom sure sounds easy to do. I mean, really, working while home with the kids is a blessing. And these work at home mom struggles make it so hard but at the end of the day, I still think we’re good parents. And we will do everything, no matter how hard it is, to provide for our family.
What other struggles have you encountered while working from home? It’s not really easy, isn’t it?