Endless spills, constant screams/whining, bathroom accidents, and countless ungrateful attitudes are what a stay at home mom deals with on a daily basis, all day long. Literally 24/7! You probably thought that I was only referring to the behavior my children but these behaviors are definitely experienced with grown folks, well…myself! Yes, I’m guilty of spilling things, screaming and being ungrateful when I get frazzled or frustrated. That all comes with the three jobs I have. My primary job is to homeschool and care for my four little blessings; 5 year old boy/girl twins, 4 year old son, and 2 year baby girl. The other jobs are working at home as a contract administrator for a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company and managing our finances in which I also consider part-time.
I have recently calculated an estimated gross salary for my current triune role as a WAHM (work at home mom), a position I’ve obtained for over 2 years now. It was an astounding amount of $180,000 a year! That includes a salary from daycare (for all four children), part time work from home, and part time CFO (Chief Financial Officer). When you combine all of these daily positions in addition too your normal at home spousal duties i.e. cleaning, cooking, and yard work, you are no doubt over worked and essentially underpaid. All of my work seems to be pro bono and at times I feel like an under-appreciated servant who’s always stressed out, physically, mentally and spiritually drained.
Well I’m here to tell you what makes my life easier. When I say ‘easier’ I’m definitely using that term lightly. Please understand that staying at home with children is a calling. It will never be easy and everyone might not be able to do it, however, you can survive it! Here are eight practical ways to help you in your work at home with kids journey.
1. Plan Your Day Ahead of Time
I plan the meals and snacks for the day on the night before. I also get their outfits out (if we decide to change our clothes that day). The activities, lesson plans, outings and naps (If I get lucky!) are incorporated in the daily schedule. Without a consistent schedule you will without a doubt lose your wits!!! Plan, plan and plan!
2. Manage Your Time Wisely
If you have to break it down by the hour to make sure you are managing your time effectively then do it. For example, I try not to spend more than 1 hour at a time in front of my computer, watching TV, or doing a chore. I try to prioritize what task needs my attention the most. For example washing a sink full of dishes or load of laundry does not take priority over a job project or teaching my children. Designate time for every task you have but also find time to play with your kids.
3. Confine Your Kids to a Designated Area
We generally hang out in our living room or family room. That way, at the end of the day I only have a few rooms to clean including the kitchen. Those rooms are also the largest rooms in the house that enables the kids to play, learn, and watch TV. Whatever you do, do not let the roam them house unsupervised. You’ll end up with a very eventful day to say the least.
4. Child Proof Every Room
If you have something that can harm your kids, lock it up. If they shouldn’t go into a particular room, lock it up! Put the good sweet snacks on an elevated shelf in the pantry so that you have time to catch your little kids if they attempt to help themselves! Use your high chairs, bouncers, and pack n plays to temporarily restrain your little one before you get on a call or take a potty break. Also sit in an area of the house that provides the perfect view of your child’s possible way of escape. For example, if you are in the living room sit at an angle that allows you to see each exit into another room. Completely unsupervised children will cause major problems and it could be dangerous. No matter what age group your child falls in, keep a watchful eye at all times.
5. Discipline Your Child/Children Consistently
Spare the rod, spoil the child is what the Bible says. I honestly think that it’s not only referring to physical chastising but establishing rules and enforcing them. I’ve learned to talk to my children about what their actions and why they were wrong, give a swat on the rear-end if they have broken a rule (time out or taking away something they like for a period of time are alternatives), then say a short prayer with them. When you take the time to do this you not only make your work day run smoothly, you also impart into your child core principles of life. If they don’t learn to respect and listen to you then they won’t do it to others. You might not see the benefits of this type of discipline right now but I truly believe it will pay off in the long run.
6. Stay Loaded with Snacks
Anyone who knows me, knows the fact that I stay equipped with snacks in the home and especially outside the home. Snacks are great to use when for a reward system, distraction and redirecting. If I know I have to get on a business call, focus on a project, or tend to another responsibility, I make sure I have a quiet activity along with a snack planned for my little ones. If we’re outside of the house I tell my children if they follow the rules then they get a sweet snack (usually fruit snacks or fruit roll ups). This encourages them to learn self control. It also lets them know that good behavior is appreciated and therefore rewarded.
7. PRAY Without Ceasing
The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing! Every morning before I get up, during the day, and before I go to bed I pray. I ask God to give me supernatural strength to be effective and efficient in all of my positions. This is a job that requires you to have the help of the Holy Spirit especially if you don’t have help from a nanny or family member. Along with prayer, also anoint your home with holy oil to set the atmosphere of love, peace, unity, and contentment.
8. Keep a Grateful Heart
When things are continuously not going as well as I expected , I always remind myself that things could be worst. There are days when I feel like I want to give up and that I have failed as a wife, mother, friend and employee but life goes on. I learn from my mistakes and keep it moving. I’m grateful that I’m alive, healthy, and blessed with family and provision. I look at my jovial and beautiful children, listen to their cute little giggles and watch cognitive developmental milestones all day long. I’m grateful that I was blessed with the opportunity to stay home with them and still have an additional source of income. When I struggle, I find joy knowing that my kids are happy, loved, educated, minstered to, taken care of by me and that my dear husbands trusts me with this great responsibility. Joyce Meyer once said, “Enjoy where you are on the way to where you’re going”. Those are words that I strive to live by.
I believe this post pretty much answers the frequently asked question, “How do you do it???”. The topic was recently requested by my brother in law who occasionally works from home with my sweet nephews and niece. This one’s for you Uncle B!