Maybe you’re the mom that absolutely loves working out, or you want to be a long-distance runner and a stay-at-home mom who works from home. Maybe you’re the mom that is multifaceted, and the “work” that you want to do has nothing to do with making money. It’s just this passion project that you have. Maybe you want to start an Etsy store. Maybe you want to explore the music that you used to do when you were young and in school and you totally dropped it.
You can totally do that. You can be the mom who volunteers in your kiddo’s classroom, maintain the house, and pours into your passion project, whatever that might look like.
Here are my five steps that you can lean on to get you from “just being a mom”, to the woman with a business that uses her “other” skills and her passion. Follow along so you can do both, without feeling guilt or resentment.
Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast
My journey into being a work-from-home mom
It has been a journey as I went from a career woman to a work-from-home mom. I went to college to become a sign-language interpreter. And I loved it so much that I did it for over 15 years professionally. Before that, I spent 8 years learning and perfecting my skill. I invested so much of my heart, soul, time, and money into my career. When I had children in a single-income household, it was my career that was there to support my baby and me. It helped me survive being a single mom and provide everything we needed and wanted. Now that I have a new husband and another child, I have the option to stay home and not go to a job 40 hours a week in exchange for a paycheck.
For some of us, when we have children and we decide to stay home, it feels like a part of us is losing something we have worked hard for, “just be a mom”. As I began on a journey of cutting back on my career, looking at my two beautiful girls, I decided I was going to give my life. Bring on the poopy diapers, the laundry, the tears, and so many sleepless nights.
But then you look at them and they look at you with so much love and adoration. You begin to think to yourself, this is why I want to work from home. I don’t want to be gone all the time. I want to be with my children.
What your path will look like (or not)
Your journey of understanding that you are home for your children and your choice to work from home will look different from mine. It is your journey and you can do this. You can work from home and have your children. I have 5 steps for you to implement that will help you to do what you love with those children that you love at home.
5 Steps to Become a Successful Work-From-Home Mom
Step One: Know Your Priorities
You need to know what is most meaningful in your life, to you. What is the foundation of you becoming the woman that you were designed to be?
There have been so many times when my priorities were misaligned. When I was running an event design and floral design company, I was out of the house a lot. And when I was there, I had the backend operations: emails, social media, and invoicing every single week. Moreover, that overlapped with trying to maintain a house and kids. It was frustrating that other people are depending on me. Adults that you need because they are the paying customers that provide the income that you’re trying to create. And I am supposed to be there for my kids, who mean everything to me.
The result: we push off our kids. We think, oh, you can wait five more minutes. Or, oh, here’s another episode of your favorite cartoon. Or let’s put on Frozen for the 100 million quadrillionth time. It’s fine. It’s not a big deal. But is that really what you want to be doing? And I know so many of you are like, oh, yeah, it’s not. But I have to. You don’t. As long as you know what your priorities are you wake up every day knowing exactly what to work toward.
I sat down and I figured out what my priorities are. You need to determine where you’re lacking and what you need to be doing more of in order to establish your priorities so that they’re meaningful to you. This is how we live with purpose, gratitude, and true meaning. When we sit down, take the time to look through how are we operating our lives right now and determine how we ideally want to our lives to operate.
Step Two: Take Care of Yourself
Taking care of yourself is absolutely something that you’re going to have to focus on if you want to be successful at working from home. When we align our priorities and we start a full blast in the forward direction, it’s easy to forget about ourselves.
Take care of yourself to take care of everything else
You need to operate with the understanding that taking care of yourself is something that you cannot negotiate. If you don’t take care of yourself, your business is going to crumble. You’re not going to be able to care for your children because you’re going to be a broken-down mess. There’s no possible way that you’re going to be able to be a gracious and loving wife. There’s just no way. It’s not possible to take care of everyone else and all the things at home and put a job on top of it without keeping yourself on that list. You have to take care of yourself, making sure that you build in time for your day. It needs to be an actual focal point of your day-to-day.
It looks different for everybody. Taking care of me means I spend time in the morning on a morning routine. I get up, I do a Bible study, I get my hot tea, I sit, and I spend some time with myself.
Taking care of ourselves means that we have good personal hygiene. All around the world women are forgetting about personal hygiene. I blame the invention of dry shampoo. It’s something that all moms just put on the back burner. Just like a running joke. When was the last time you showered? My hair has been in a messy bun for four days. And you know what? Today I’m going to wear a hat. Hats are cool. Nevertheless, if you could just make your personal hygiene the only thing that you do to take care of yourself, it is going to change your life.
Make a plan that works for you.
Whatever you have to do to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself. Even if you’re rocking personal hygiene and you’re one of those moms who shower every single morning and wash your face at night, have a think about what may be missing in your day that makes you feel seen and taken care of. The reason I created the Fundamental Needs Workbook is that I wanted other moms to be able to focus on themselves.
Step three: Have a Plan! Have Systems!
You feel called to these things you are passionate about, but you don’t know how to put them into your lives. If you have a plan, you can totally do it. You’re here because you want systems. I know you do.
The only way that you’re going to have systems in your life is if you have a plan. So in order to have a plan, you’re probably going to want to have a planner. If you don’t want to use a paper planner, that’s okay. You still need to have a plan. You can have electronic forms of all of these paper things that I do in my life and that I recommend to you. The important part is just that you have a plan every single day.
It’s the mindless, aimless wandering around every day that ends up killing progress. We have thoughts and feelings about we want to be doing in the back of our minds of what, but until we get it to put down on paper, nothing’s ever going to come of it.
You may get really overwhelmed by the planning portion of it because you don’t even know where to begin. Start with this week. Make a plan for this week.
The plan that you put in place to be able to be a successful work-from-home mom does not have to be perfect. It does not have to be long-term. Your plan does not have to be so drawn out that you know exactly what you’re doing today that’s going to lead you to next week, to next month, to next year, and three years from now. That’s not the point. The point is that this week you have a plan.
How do you know what you’re going to do this week? You do a brain dump. Everything that’s swirling around in your brain, those thoughts, and those ideas are coming from your heart. They are in there for a reason. Write them down.
Once you have it all out of your head start on the most important things or the most impactful. I have a whole entire episode on how to do a brain dump, Episode 2. Go over, take a listen and get on with putting your plan in place.
Step Four: Establish Boundaries
Yes, boundaries. This is a hard one. If you’re like me and you want to help everyone, this is especially hard. One reason you can’t find time to take care of yourself and focus on the things you are passionate about is that you are running around doing everything for everyone else. You have to have boundaries with your husband, with your children, your family members, and people in your community.
Having boundaries is not selfish, Mama. You are allowed to create lines in the sand where you say, no, I’m not doing that for you this week. Instead, you look at your plan and your calendar and you can let them know when you can be there for them. Then you get down to business on the items in your plan to make your dreams a reality.
It doesn’t serve what I want to do.
You also need boundaries around the things that divide and distract you from your plan. This may be social media, Netflix, hanging out with friends, or texting friends. We do many things during our day that you’re going to have to put a boundary between you and that thing in order to create the time and space that you need to be able to work from home.
In order to add new things to your days and weeks, some other things are going to have to come off your plate. I no longer watch Netflix. I’m not just sitting at the end of the day, exhausted being a mom, scrolling mindlessly because the day has been long or hard.
I am obsessed with the show on NBC called Making It. One of the contestants actually lives in my town and used to run a store in my town, and she just had an entire run on that show. I think about it every day, like, I’m obsessed, and I would love to go watch it, but I just know, like, it’s not what I’m passionate about.
Now I may watch a movie with my husband as part of a date night at home, but it is done with the intention to serve one of my fundamental needs: time and connection with the man I married.
Know your limits and set your boundaries
There are people in our lives that draw upon us in unhealthy ways. Those boundaries need to be the first boundaries that you put in place. And sometimes that’s our children, sometimes that’s our spouses, sometimes that’s our best friends, sometimes that’s our parents. Look at your relationships and put the boundaries you know that you need in place.
When people are not treating us with mutual respect and understanding, boundaries need to be set up. Without establishing boundaries, there is no way that you are going to be able to be successful working and being a stay-at-home mom. It’s not possible. You have to have boundaries or you will get walked all over. You will give up your time to be successful at business, to be successful at your passion for other people if you do not establish boundaries in your life.
Use boundaries to make your dreams a reality
Sit down, and look at the things that you’re wanting to do. You need to look at what needs to be in your day, and you have to draw boundaries between yourself and the people or things that are keeping you from accomplishing that.
When you start putting new boundaries in place it’s super uncomfortable. It may feel like you’re doing something wrong. You feel like you’re being rude and mean. You may feel like, oh my gosh, if I tell my husband “I can’t do the dishes today, can he please do them for me?” he’s going to be mad at me or he’s going to think that I’m slacking. That’s just not the case. Having open lines of communication with the people that are in our family like our children and our spouses, they understand. They see our passions.
When we get serious about what we’re putting our heart and minds into and we’re focused on our priorities and we’re taking care of ourselves, and we have a plan, they’re going to see it. They’re going to respect your boundaries once you put them in place and you work through those fears and the guilt. Once you get over that hurdle, it is smooth sailing from there. It gets so much easier. You just have to take the first step to put your boundaries in place.
“You need to determine where you’re lacking and what you need to be doing more of in order to establish your priorities so that they’re meaningful to you. This is how we live with purpose, gratitude, and true meaning.”
Step Five: Perfection Not Progress
When starting something new, can find ourselves paralyzed by the idea that we don’t know how to move forward because it’s not “perfect”.
On this journey of podcasting, creating a website for the podcast and a blog, and learning how to monetize my passions, there were times when it was tough for me to just start before I felt ready. I came to find that the greatest improvements come from me starting before it’s perfect. It held me back from finding momentum to hold back because something wasn’t what I considered perfection.
I have to work through that because I can become consumed with wanting things to be ideal before we move forward if it actually keeps us from making progress. We all want to make progress and move on to becoming a work-from-home mom, becoming better at it, growing the business that we started, or making more money in the MLM that we have been invested in for so long. Whatever it is that you are doing from home, you want to be better at it.
Make mistakes to learn
You really have to be gracious with yourself and just have to move forward. You’re going to make mistakes and learn from them. Don’t let the fear of being knocked down derail you. As soon as put “it” out there, you’re going to be so thrilled to find the answers that you sat and tried to look for weeks and months on end. If you just get up and do the darn thing, you’re going to find your answer way quicker than if you would have sat and tried to figure it out in your head. You just have to move through the actions. Put one foot in front of the other and start working on it. That’s the only way to make true progress.
I wanted the podcast to be so ideal when I started it because that’s my nature. It’s been awesome. It’s been great, but I’m already finding that things are shifting. Things are changing. The women that I’m talking to and what I’m talking to them about, those things are flowing back and forward. It’s this fluid, gradual progression that we’re all going to experience. So please, this last tip. Really think about it and know that in order for you to make progress, you can’t sit on things until you’ve manufactured them in such a way to where they’re perfect because it’s just not going to roll out that way.
All right, here we are. I got through all five of my tips. Come say hi in my FREE Facebook Community and let me know how these tips have helped you. Share this blog with others. What do you say we make a mighty Breadcrumb trail for all the other women around us so we can make a change to the culture of how we care for each other and ourselves? I’ll look forward to connecting with you next time. Bye Mamas.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I adjust my schedule to help plan for myself?
I have so many resources for managing your schedule to make your goals a priority! The best place to start is my FREE Time Blocking Workbook. In the Time Blocking workbook, you can learn the basics of time blocking for work-from-home moms, build the right time blocks for your schedule, and practice your first try at time blocking on paper! Stay strong mama, we’re all rooting for you!