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Wondering exactly how I make it work as a large family homeschooling mompreneur? Here are some answers to FAQs about working from home with kids.
I love hearing from my readers! Connecting with others is one of my favorite parts about building an online business. There are so many amazing moms out there doing great work.
Often, my readers have questions about the realities of working from home with kids. So, I wanted to take some time and compile a list of FAQs about working from home with kids.
Curious what it’s really like to grow a business while raising a family? Read on to see for yourself.
Oh, please check back occasionally – I plan to update this post as I get more questions about working from home with kids.
Here’s what it often looks like to work from home with kids. Except in this picture we aren’t even at home. Our internet stinks lately, so we’ve been going into town to work at our church.
1. How Much Sleep Do You Get?
This question has been popping up so much lately. Everyone seems to wonder how much sleep I get on a regular basis.
Let me premise my answer by sharing that I have a 13 year old son who is severely disabled. He has Angelman Syndrome, and part of his symptoms manifest themselves in a hard to manage sleep disorder.
In other words, I haven’t slept great in 13 years.
I don’t get a ton of sleep each night. But, I make it a point to rest. I try to be in bed by 11 each night, but that doesn’t always happen. I also try to wake up by 5:30 or 6:00 each morning. But sometimes it’s 4 and sometimes it’s 8.
Regular, consistent sleep with a standard bedtime and wake up time aren’t a reality for me at this stage of life. My baby still nurses. My toddler thinks the evening hours are the best for acting cute and snuggling.
And my teenage son just wants to play even after taking his sleep meds.
So…I work crazy hours. Sometimes I stay up until 1 am writing a blog post just because it’s quiet. Other times I hit the pillow at 7 and let my husband deal with the kids for a couple of hours before they wake me up. On these occasions, I typically start working super early in the morning.
I’m not above taking a nap during the day when I find myself really dragging after a rough couple of nights.
Flexibility is an essential ingredient for being a mompreneur – especially if you aren’t getting consistent sleep! So is prayer – I often pray for patience when I’m up with the kids at night, and for wisdom in getting things done without cutting into sleep time too much.
Remember, sleep is important. Your brain will be sluggish if you don’t get enough. So do make resting and sleep an important part of your night.
2. How Do You Manage to Work with a Baby?
Babies cause a lot of people to wonder about getting work done. But I’ll happily admit that it’s much easier to work with a baby than a toddler!
My baby I can nurse and then hold and get some work done. I can use my smartphone occasionally while I nurse and get a couple of tasks done at the same time.
There’s a whole lotta this going on when you’re working from home with a babe:
That’s me holding a sleeping baby and trying to type. It’s difficult. But it gets easier the more you do it. Sometimes it’s a slow one-finger hunt and peck.
Sometimes the baby doesn’t wake up when I shift him to my shoulder and I can rest him on my arm and actually use two hands to type. That helps my productivity!
When the baby is screaming, it’s hard to get much done. So we do a lot of snuggling while I work. I get up and focus on the baby and let my work sit a minute if necessary. The break does me good, as long as I keep my mental attitude in check.
Thankfully I also have older kids who can take turns holding him and supervising him while he crawls so he doesn’t climb the stairs or get into the cupboards and make a mess.
For more information on working from home with a baby, check this post out:
3. How Do You Homeschool and Have a Business?
Let me let you in on a little secret about homeschooling, okay?
Homeschooling DOES NOT take the same amount of time as public school. My kids are not sitting in a desk for six hours a day, with carefully scheduled breaks for activity.
No, life is our classroom. My kids learn all the time. But, they don’t have to sit and listen to me lecture to increase their knowledge.
Some days homeschooling around here looks like math and reading. Other days it involves science experiments, home ec, and art. I love letting my kids follow their passions and learn on their own.
Running a business is full of great teaching moments. My kids are learning the vocabulary, which will serve them well in today’s marketplace. They are figuring out that they can be entrepreneurs too, and make money doing something they enjoy.
I am a huge fan of independent learning. Knowing how to learn is way more important than knowing a huge amount of trivia.
For more information on how this looks, please check out this post:
4. How Do You Work from Home with Toddlers?
Honestly, toddler hood is my least favorite stage of parenting. I love my toddler. But, he’s not quite old enough to reason. And he’s got so much energy and curiosity.
It’s a good thing, but it’s hard when you’re trying to work. Here are a few tips for making it through these years with your kids while you run a business.
- Start the day with snuggles – they need to know they’re loved!
- Let them burn off energy frequently – take a break and shake your wiggles out every hour or so (this is good for you too!)
- Give choices but not unlimited ones – let them pick between one or two pre-approved ideas
- Work in small chunks throughout the day and then hit it hard at quiet time when they’re (hopefully) taking a nap
- If they don’t nap, lay down with them and try to put them to sleep and hope you don’t fall asleep while they get up and do “fun” things like paint the floor with markers or drive trucks through the flour they just spilled…
- Create a safe place for them to play while you work at your workspace. Baby proof it and make sure there’s nothing there that you don’t want touched or experimented with. Make one room a toddler friendly zone for your sanity while you’re working.
- TV time happens so you can get it all done…feel free to burst out into random songs about pups that save the day, a girl who explore with a talking map, or a friendly little tiger who rides a trolley…and pray that they don’t get stuck in your head while you’re trying to work…
- Keep your eyes open for inspiration for blog posts! You never know where it’ll come from (like this one – lessons in freelancing I learned from reading books aloud to my kids…)
- Expect your toddlers to help in age appropriate ways. It will be messy. It’d be WAY faster to do it yourself. But, I PROMISE it will pay off. They don’t stay toddlers forever, and you want them to enjoy working with you when they grow up enough to be really helpful!
For more details about working from home with toddlers, check out this post:
5. How Do You Take Time for Client Calls without Kids Interrupting?
I bribe them.
Oh wait, you want more details? Okay.
We have phone call drills to practice for the real thing. My kids know what to do. They can select a quiet activity and I have my olders paired up with my youngers.
If the whole family works together to make sure I don’t get interrupted, they get a piece of candy when I’m off the phone.
It’s amazing what kids will do for a piece of cheap candy from the Winco bulk bin!
Want more details? Check out this post:
(Yup, I do realize that I have the last name Tanner and I live in a really full house…thanks for pointing that out… 😀 )
6. Why Would You Start a Business as a Busy Mom?
Why, why, why?
That’s a great question.
Why in the world did I decide to take my already full plate and push stuff aside and try to cram in room for a business?
My first reason is financial. We were super poor and broke when I started four years ago.
My business has helped improve a lot of things, including our relationship with money.
I also wanted to do something that didn’t involve changing diapers or playing cars. I’m an introvert who was perfectly happy being home all the time, but I really started to worry that I was turning into a hermit.
And I didn’t want that. So I made myself be brave and bold and send a pitch.
And connect with other people.
And now I have more money. I also have more friends. And joy.
Starting a business as a busy mom isn’t easy. But, it is possible. So feel free to shove some of your “to-dos” off to the side and experiment with something new.
Looking for a great side business for a busy mom? I highly recommend freelance writing or being a virtual assistant.
What’s your why going to be? It has to be strong enough that it keeps you going when it gets tough. Because believe me, it will get though!
7. How Do You Keep Your House Clean When You Work from Home with Kids?
When people ask how I keep my house clean when I work from home with kids, my brain starts to wonder. I’m trying to figure out their definition of clean.
Are we talking about beautiful in a magazine type clean?
Cause if we are, I don’t. Honestly, my house is clean but not spotless.
To make it all happen, I had to lower my expectations.
The floor doesn’t need mopped that often. And the baseboards don’t need dusted all the time.
My standards of what’s “clean enough” have changed. And I’m okay with that.
I also have the kids help. They help a lot. But, kid clean doesn’t always equal mommy clean. I had to learn that and work through my feelings about this.
We have a daily 15 minute cleanup. (Learn how to do those the right way with this post about quick cleans.)
Finally, I put the chores on autopilot. We have annual assignments so I don’t waste time constantly teaching the kids new chores. We spend July and part of August mastering our new chores and then keep them until the next summer.
I don’t have to think about who is supposed to unload the dishwasher – everyone in the whole house knows. There’s no more trying to remember all these random details and assignments.
So our house stays decent. You don’t want to lick the floor or anything, and you’ll definitely see dust on the ceiling fans and cobwebs occasionally in the corners.
But, you will find clean toilets and washed dishes. Since we have a crawling baby right now, you’ll also typically find the floor swept.
At least most of the time…
For more information, check out this post:
Do You Have Any Questions about Working from Home with Kids?
Any other FAQs about working from home with kids that you’d like me to answer? Feel free to leave a comment and I’ll reply as soon as I can.
I’ll also update this post as I add more. I’m looking forward to having this post available to help people get a better understanding of what it’s really like to work from home with kids.
Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.