Six and a half years ago, I was blessed with a baby girl and, 15 months after that, a baby boy. I never knew what being a mom would be like until it really happened. Suddenly, my life changed more than I could’ve imagined – of course, all for the better. I went from being a working woman to becoming a WFHM (work from home mom). And here’s my take on it.
First of all, it’s not easy and that’s the truth. I’ve struggled with trying to maintain a career and being the best mom I can be to my two young kids. Priorities in life definitely shift, and you have to figure out what works for you and your family. For me, I decided to leave my corporate 8-5 job three years ago to be a stay-at-home mom.
After a year at home, I was given an opportunity to join Pragmatic – and it turned out to be the opportunity right at the perfect time. I was itching to get back into the work force, but I was nervous about maintaining a healthy work-life balance. With Pragmatic, I got the chance to work from home. That felt like a great compromise for my desire to stay connected to my family life but also flex my work muscles. And I’ve since learned that I wasn’t alone in that opinion. According to a recent study, 91% of HR professionals reported that employees were more engaged and satisfied with flexible work arrangements.1
As soon as I joined, the team at Pragmatic showed me both flexibility and understanding, underscoring that it was the right decision for me. And thus, I began a new chapter in my life as a WFHM.
Overall, the ride has been quite smooth, but there have been a few bumps in the road – a normal part of learning how to be a WFHM. So I thought I’d share a few tips from my own experience. As a WFHM, here are some of the things you should quit doing (besides your job):
Tip #1: Quit trying to do everything
You don’t have to be “mom of the year” to be a good – actually great – mom! Working full time and managing the household, I sometimes wonder if I can have more than 24 hours in a day. But I’ve learned that it’s okay if there aren’t hot meals on the dinner table every single night. It’s okay if the toy room looks like a tornado just touched down. It’s okay if the laundry basket is overflowing a bit. The list is endless, but there’s always the next 24 hours. You learn to prioritize what’s important and sometimes what’s important is the time you spend with your kids, mess and all. So quit trying to do everything.
Tip #2: Quit multi-tasking
I’m not saying multi-tasking is a bad habit. Multi-tasking is actually beneficial when working in an agency setting. But when balancing agency life and personal life, it’s not a great practice. When I multi-task (sometimes subconsciously), I find myself not fully focusing on my kids, even during the evening because I feel like I’m always “on.” And I’m not 100% there when the kids need my attention. So I’ve learned that when it’s work time, it’s work time – and when it’s family time, it’s family time.
Here are my words of advice. After 6pm, put down the cell phone, shut off your monitor and focus on your family when it’s their time. You only get a few hours in a day to see your little ones and you need to cherish those moments. And after you put them to sleep, the occasional checking email and catching up is okay…occasionally. I promise you will have happier kids and a healthier family lifestyle. Plus, you’ll be able to remain more focused during work hours because you know you’ll have those moments to yourself later.
Tip #3: Quit giving up YOU time
As moms, we put our own priorities aside because we feel like our focus is now on our kids. Who has the time to focus on themselves when they’re barely covering the basics? I learned through experience that you need to hold onto your personal time and consciously allocate time to yourself. Whether it’s going for a run in the neighborhood, reading a book, doing a little shopping, or simply taking 15 minutes in the morning to sit outside with your cup of coffee to start your day, you need to give yourself that time. Feeling refreshed and better about yourself will reflect onto your work and your family. You need YOU time.
For those that are moms and for those that will be moms one day, keep these 3 tips on how to be a successful WFHM in mind. And if you’re lucky enough, try to find an environment that’s as supportive as Pragmatic has been of me.
Oh, and yes – “Mommy’s done!”