Today’s Shade of Shay is really personal to me…it’s about being a work-at-home mom! I know there are so many of you out there that work from home…whether it be a few hours a week or a few hours a day…you work from home and take care of your little ones as well. I have friends that are photographers, do clerical work, do in-home therapy, sell a product, make and create products, the list goes on and on. I actually think this is a growing trend…working while your kiddos are home…so, I’m happy to tell you why I do it, how I do it and how it works for my family.
Believe it or not…Shay used to have a real job. You know, the kind I had to shower and get dressed for every.single.day. The kind where I had clients and meetings along with superiors and people I was in charge of. A grown-up job. This may or may not surprise you…but I actually sold insurance for 9 years before I had Kensington. I even had some fancy Life Insurance Specialist title where I traveled around giving speeches to hundreds of people on the importance of life insurance. Me? A serious life insurance person. (I wasn’t allowed to wear my short shorts to work…so sad for me.)
Then…I had Kensington and knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. At that point, I worked
for with Andrew at his office. Andrew is a little…ummm…how shall I put this politely…OCD (that was really polite) about his business. He totally wanted me to stay home with our new baby…but he didn’t trust another human being to do some of the work I did…so, we decided that I would work from home a little every day while taking care of Kensington. That’s how I started in this work-at-home mom thing.
Baby Kensington hanging out in my office while I worked a little.
Now…almost 5 years later, I still do about 30 minutes of insurance work every morning (except on Mondays, then I do over an hour) but I have two other jobs that I do as well.
This is the official name and logo of my business. I blog, cook, and run a travel agency. Somehow, the Lord has blessed me and given me the opportunity to take my 3 favorite hobbies (cooking, blogging and traveling) and turn them into an actual business. I pinch myself every day.
Other than the insurance work I do, I spend 4 to 5 hours, 6 days a week working. I work for 2 hours in the morning and two to three hours in the afternoon. The only day I don’t work is Saturday (on Sundays, I work before church and then in the afternoon when the kids are napping).
Here’s my schedule:
4:20 AM: wake up (it’s really not that hard once you get used to it!)
4:22 AM: get a big cup of coffee
4:30 AM to 5:00 AM: insurance stuff
5:00 AM to 7:00 AM blogging and travel agency stuff
1:30 PM to 3:30 PM (or sometimes longer depending on Kensington’s nap): blogging and travel agency stuff
And then I’m done for the day!
I don’t like to work while my kids are awake…so, I make sure and maximize the times when they are sleeping. When they’re awake, I want to be engaging with them, playing, learning, outdoor fun…they are only little once, so I don’t want to miss a minute of them being awake!
So, I know what you’re thinking? You’re thinking I’m crazy and you need to sleep as late as you can in the morning. I have a few little suggestions…and just try them…you might actually love my little routine.
This last Saturday, I found this sign at a shop in my downtown area…I bought it for my office :).
1. Just try waking up a little earlier than your family. I wake up 2 hours and 40 minutes before my kids…but you start by waking up just 30 minutes before yours. It’s amazing what you can accomplish during those quiet moments. If nothing else, it feels good to get your day going before the first little footsteps hit the floor.
Another good thing about waking up a little early? There are no other distractions. No one is calling your phone, texting you, updating their Face Book status…the world is quiet…and you can get a lot of stuff done before your day really even starts.
2. Make a “to do ” list the night before and stick to it.
I make my list the night before and include every little thing I need to accomplish. I even write things like make grocery list, pay the bills, bake a cake, call so and so because it’s their birthday…I write it all down. This way, I can just mark things off my list as the day goes on and I don’t have to try and remember what I need to do (this works even if you don’t work from home…put “do a load of laundry” on there if it helps you get the laundry done).
3. Carve out your own personal space.
I know everyone doesn’t have enough room in their house for their own office..but even if all you do is create a plastic bin for your work stuff or a kitchen drawer…make a space that holds everything you need for your job. This way, you’re not scrambling for a calculator because you had it in a community spot and someone walked off with it. This also helps to keep you really organized and feel less frantic.
4. Say no.
I learned years ago to say no to people. Or to tell people that I’m a work-at-home mom, so it might take me a bit longer to get back with them. Don’t try and accomplish at home what you would accomplish from an office somewhere…if you have small children running around, you just can’t. Right now, I’m saying no to several opportunities because I really need to give my all to the things I’ve committed to already and not spread myself too thin.
5. Don’t answer the phone when you’re working.
My sweet friends know that if they call me during the middle of the day and I don’t answer, it’s because I’m working. If I only allow myself two hours to work during the afternoon, then I can’t spend 10 minutes of it chatting…I need to focus and get my work done without any distractions.
6. Set boundaries for yourself and work within them.
At first, I found it hard to stop working…since I worked from home, then any time I had a spare 5 minutes, I would return to my work…but that’s not good. I’ve learned now that I have “working” hours during my day and “non-working” hours. I used to feel guilty for sitting down for 10 minutes to read a magazine when I knew I could be in my office working…this isn’t good! When Andrew comes home from his office, he gets to leave his computer, phone, files, and everything else up there…and he can just relax at home. I had to start making myself stop working…just because I was at home didn’t mean I had to be working all the time. I needed to be able to relax in my own home too!
Check out my foodie blog here.
Check out my travel agency here.
So…this is how I work from home. It’s not a perfect method but I’m learning it’s the best method for my family. Some days go smoothly…and some days are crazy…but that’s just part of the joy of working from home.
Next week, the Shade of Shay relates back to this post. It’s all about blogging! And…I have some very, very special people giving advice to me and all of you on how to be the best blogger possible.
Don’t forget! Tomorrow is our Pin-spired Linky Party!
And dinner tonight is California Meatballs!
And Pssssst: My fabulous giveaway goes until Friday morning. Click here for details.