Sitting at the kitchen table with my laptop, I finally hit “print” for the article I’ve been struggling with for days. But nothing happens. Then the message appears: “The printer is out of paper.”
“Not again,” I mumble as I hoof it to the next room, tripping over my six-year-old sprawled on the floor with crayons and paper spread about. “Like my pictures, Mommy?” That’s where my paper went, again.
Many moms wait until the day their child gets on the school bus for the first time before they begin a home business. As a homeschooling parent for over 20 years, I’ve never had that option. Consequently, I’ve learned many ways to work alongside them.
So, whether you have pre-schoolers or homeschoolers, the following ideas will help you write with kids at home.
Plan your week on Sunday evening. After you put the kids to bed, sit down with your calendar and notepad. Make sure all their activities are on the calendar and then add any appointments for yourself and your partner. Create a master list for the week with two columns—one for family and one for work. List any projects that must be finished, errands to run, chores to do or phone calls to make.
Make use of sleep times.
Sleep time is ideal for getting work done uninterrupted. Set your alarm for a few hours before the kids generally get up. These wee hours can prove to be the most productive because you are fresh from a good night’s sleep. Work during nap time. If your kids have out-grown naps, have a mandatory afternoon rest time. Requiring each child to remain in an isolated spot (bed, couch, or bean bag chair) for a designated period of time, reading or playing quietly, can give you an hour for work.
Establish work hours.
As moms with children in the house we learn to work in small, disconnected slots of time but you will be more productive if you designate office hours. This habit lets your clients know when it is okay to call and your friends and family when it is not. If you plan to hire a babysitter, let it be for these hours. Remember, too, to resist all temptations to vacuum, Facebook, or chat on the phone during office hours.
Take your work with you.
I never leave my home without a folder of stories that need editing. If any of your work can go in a bag, take it to story time at the library, tumbling class, or even the dentist. Take the children to the park and work while they enjoy the playground. If you invite some of their friends to join you, I guarantee your interruptions will be few.
Many entrepreneurial moms make the mistake of trying to do it all. You may need to lower your standards a tad on the housekeeping to give you the time to work your business. Or you can delegate some of the household responsibilities to your older children. Teenagers should be able to do anything mom does around the house; but even a seven year old can empty the dishwasher, fold clean laundry, pick up his own toys, dust and vacuum. Don’t be tempted to hire house help when you could already have that help living in your house.
Implementing these ideas won’t keep junior out of your printer paper. For that, you need discipline. But they will definitely afford you the peace of mind needed to get some work done.
What are some ways you write with kids at home? Would love you to share in the comments.