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Note from Lisa: If you’re anything like me, you started your home business so you could be there for your children. But if you’re not careful, it’s easy to get sucked into the online world and sort of ignore those who matter the most. If you’re ready to be present with your kids when you work from home, keep reading!
In this guest post, Joyce shares her top tips for helping you focus on what really matters and put boundaries on the things that don’t.
Take it away Joyce…
You’ve probably heard someone talk about spending more time with the family as one of the benefits of
working from home. You may have even said it yourself when someone asked if you liked your career
What a lot of people don’t realize, including anyone just starting on this career path, is that working
from home doesn’t automatically mean you have more time with your kids. In fact, you could lose out on quality time unless you’re intentional about prioritizing it.
Ever heard the saying, “Quality over quantity?” As you reflect, you may find yourself like I’ve been a lot of the time with my own daughter: present in body but absent in mind.
You’re in the same room with your kids, but you’re on the computer, and they’re playing on their
devices. At the end of the day, they complain that they haven’t gotten to spend any time with you. “I’ve
been right here with you all day,” you say.
But then you realize you haven’t talked to your kids much or have any idea what they did while you worked. Even when you’re doing things with them, you find yourself checking your email on the phone or thinking about a project you’re working on.
But then, one day, you wake up and realize you’re still missing out on quality time with your kids even though you’re right there with them.
If you quit a job in an office to have a better life and to spend more time with your kids, you’ll want to make some positive changes in your life to reach that goal. I’m right here with you. I’m still learning how to be present for my daughter, even though I work from home.
5 Steps to Be Present for Your Kids
Here are some strategies I’m implementing to build quality time with the people who matter
most to me. Try them out and see if they let you be more present for your kids.
1. Create a Schedule
The downside of all this flexibility is you may find that your workday extends into the evening and late at night after you get done running the kids to gymnastics and soccer practice.
You still need a schedule to be productive and to separate your work time from family time. The difference is that you can choose when and how long you’ll work at any time. Look at all your obligations and create a schedule for when you’ll work each day.
Let the kids know your new work schedule. If they are old enough to care for themselves, ask them to get their own snacks during that time and not interrupt you. If you have younger kids, you may need to have the older kids watch them. In a house with just little ones, you may plan your schedule around their naptime or set up a play area while you work.
Even though you have a schedule, it can still be flexible and adjust as needed. It helps you have the right mindset to stay focused by creating specific time for work.
2. Intentionally Make Time for Togetherness
Remember quality over quantity.
Look at your time with your kids and determine how much of that time is quality. Helping with homework doesn’t count as being present with your kids. Cooking their meals doesn’t count either.
As a homeschooling mama, I spend a lot of time helping my daughter with her school, but it’s not what she considers quality time (especially since she’s not fond of school!).
Come up with a list of things you and the kids can agree on as special time. It may be cooking a meal together, coloring or doing crafts, playing a sport, or going for a walk. During this time, put your phone away and don’t allow any interruptions.
One of my daughter’s favorite special times with me is going to an ice cream shop or Starbucks and sitting and talking. And this is a rule for us – no talking about work during your special time. That includes your work, their schoolwork, or other responsibilities. Instead, spend this time discussing their interests, asking them questions, and daydreaming together.
With younger kids, you could play games. You can find games that take only 20 or 30 minutes if you don’t have much free time. Even a short time where you’re focused on them will mean a lot and help them feel special.
3. Be Accountable to Your Kids
Let your kids know that you’re going to make some changes and spend more time with them. Ask them to hold you accountable when you mess up. Believe me, they will! My daughter never hesitates to remind me to stop looking at my phone when we’re talking.
Have them keep track of any time you try to work outside your “office hours.” Let them know it’s okay to say something when you check your email or take calls at other times.
There will be occasions when you must work outside your regular hours. But at least you have to give a reason for changing your schedule, which allows you to consider whether or not it’s necessary.
4. Talk to Your Kids About What You Do
You may think your kids aren’t interested in what you do, but they are interested in you. Talk to them about your job, putting it on a level they can understand.
For example, my daughter knows that as a freelance writer, I often write about vehicles. When we’re in the car, we talk about the different models and features available today. We even designed our own pretend vehicle once, discussing what we would include if we had the opportunity.
Having these discussions helps your kids understand what you’re doing all day while at home but away from them. They also recognize that you’re not just ignoring them but are working to earn money.
5. Have Your Kids Help You Create Goals
Sometimes it can be easy to get stuck in a rut of getting the next project done or meeting a deadline. You forget why you started working from home and how it would enhance your life. Take some time to think about the goals you have for your life as a work-from-home mom.
Then, get your kids to help you create some new goals. Maybe you want to save money for a vacation.
Have your kids help you decide how much money you need. You might want to be healthier, which could mean walking with the kids during one of your breaks.
Creating goals helps you stay on track with work and not let the urgent overtake the important areas in your life.
Being Present for Your Kids Is Possible
If you feel like you’re missing out on time with your family, even when you’re working in the next room (or just a few feet away), try these strategies to get back on track and be present for your kids.
And remember, you’re amazing for what you do for your family! Don’t give up or get discouraged at the challenges of being a work-at-home mom. You’ve got this!
Need help getting your life back in balance? Check out the course Balancing Diapers and Deadlines. It can help!
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Joyce Farinella is a full-time freelance content writer who lives in Missouri with her husband and 13-
year-old daughter. She homeschools her daughter and provides content for digital marketing agencies
and other companies. When she’s not working or teaching, she enjoys writing on her cozy mystery
novels, gardening, and hiking.