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I love being a work at home mom but dang, is it hard sometimes.
You know what I’m talking about right, mama?
In between pitching clients or building a portfolio or writing a blog post, you’re trying to do laundry and make meals and basically just keep your house from looking like a total war zone. And oh yeah, find time to sleep.
It gets a little easier when your kids are school age but if you have younger kids or you homeschool like we do, it seems like you never get a break some days.
My first year of freelancing full-time was hands-down my hardest as a work at home mom. But then I figured out what I was missing: a routine.
If you’re struggling to stay sane as a new mompreneur, these tips can help you create a work at home mom routine that brings balance to your days.
(Note: This post may contain affiliate links. That means I may earn a commission if you click and make a purchase. I only promote products and services that I know and trust.)
Why Having a Work at Home Mom Routine Matters
As a mom, you’ve probably been told at least once that kids thrive on routines.
They like predictability. It makes things less stressful when they know what to expect.
Having a work at home mom routine can take the stress out of your days too. Having a routine adds a defined rhythm to your days and it can help you be more productive.
That’s priceless if you’re trying to make the most of your time as a busy mompreneur.
Because you need to work on your business while still being there for your kids. And if you have a spouse or a significant other, they probably want some of your time too.
And you can’t forget about having some time for yourself.
My kids are more or less with me 24/7 so having a mom routine that allows for a little self-care is huge. Without it, I turn into a grumpy, tired mama and that’s not what anybody wants. 🙂
How to Create a Work at Home Mom Routine That Works
Establishing a routine takes some trial and error. You have to find the daily pattern that works for you, your business and most importantly, your family.
But what if you’re stumped on how to do it?
Try these tips to create a work at home mom routine that you can stick to.
1. Figure out when you can work on your business.
Having regular hours when you can focus on your business is a much more effective way to grow it, versus just snatching little bits of time here and there.
When I first started freelancing full-time and my kids were younger, I blocked off time in the afternoon and after they went to bed at night to work.
Now, my typical work day now starts between 8 and 9 a.m. and goes until 12 to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. (I still do blogging stuff at night and on weekends.)
Look at your daily routine, both during the week and on the weekends. Where can you find the hours in your day to wear your mom boss hat?
If your kids are small, it might be during their regular nap time and after they go to bed. If they’re older, it might be while they’re in school for the day.
Pick the hours that work best for your schedule and commit to showing up at the same time each day, ready to work on your business.
2. Set your priorities each day.
One of the things I do as part of my morning routine is deciding what I need to get done that day, and what I want to get done.
I do this for my business and blogging-related tasks and for the regular mom stuff that’s party of my daily round.
Prioritizing is super-helpful because:
- It gives you laser-focus when you’re planning your day
- You’re less likely to feel overwhelmed when you’ve got a detailed plan
- You can end the day without nagging guilt over what you didn’t get done
There are lots of ways to prioritize your to-do list. When you’re creating a work at home mom routine, the easiest way is to break it down into four categories:
- Must-do biz tasks
- Must-do mom tasks
- Could do, but don’t have to biz tasks
- Could do, but don’t have to mom tasks
When you’re setting your tasks, try to stick to three in each category as possible. Any more than that and you might feel totally bogged down.
If you’ve got more than three must-do items, prioritize those individually in order of what has to be done first and what can wait a little. Then work on knocking that one thing out as quickly as possible.
That way if your day goes haywire, you’ve at least checked your most important task off the list.
3. Build regular work breaks into your day.
That might seem counter-intuitive but regular breaks need to be a part of your work at home mom routine.
It’s so easy to get tunnel vision as a mompreneur, especially if you’re struggling with a big problem in your business or you’re just starting out and trying to do everything.
Or else you get in the zone and before you know it, half the day is gone and your kids are wondering if you’re ever going to get around to feeding them lunch.
Not to mention, sitting in one spot all day banging away on your laptop is like, really bad for you.
Even if you exercise, sitting down for extended periods of time can literally kill you.
When you’re doing business stuff, remember to take regular time outs.
Work for 30 minutes, then break for five. Or work for 45 and break for 10, whatever works for you.
Get up from your desk (or off the couch if you work like me 🙂 ) and stretch. Walk around the house and pick up a little. Have a healthy snack and drink some water.
Your body will thank you and taking a quick break can give you an energy boost when it’s time to go back to work.
4. Tame the distractions.
Distractions abound, especially when you run an online business.
You think, I’ll just check Facebook for a minute while I’m waiting on this client to respond to my email.
Forty-five minutes later that email is long forgotten and you’re wondering why you’re looking at chocolate chip cookie recipes on Pinterest.
Distractions are the undisputed enemy of your productivity as a mom boss. So as you create your work at home mom routine, be ruthless about getting rid of them.
Social media is the biggest one but friends or family members can also disrupt your day. I don’t mean kids either.
Without fail, as soon as I turn on my laptop to work I know that my best friend or my mom is going to message me on Facebook.
When that happens, I have to decide: what’s it going to cost me time-wise if I let myself get distracted?
You have to get really good at tuning things like that out if you want to get anything done as a mompreneur, especially when you’ve got limited time.
Recognize what your biggest distraction temptations are. Then do something about them.
If it’s scrolling Facebook on your phone, delete the app altogether.
If it’s chatting on the phone with your bestie, turn the phone off while you’re working.
Whatever it is, put a lid on it so you’re not wasting time.
5. Set boundaries.
It will eat your life if you let it.
I mean it.
You’ll end up spending hours and hours a day trying to grow your business and everything else just falls to the wayside.
Housework, errands, spending time with your family — it all gets sucked into the void.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned running a business and being a mom is that I have to learn when to say no.
And man, that can be sooo hard to do.
Because if you’re a new freelancer or virtual assistant or whatever it is, you don’t want to turn down work, ever.
And if you’re supporting your family solo, you might not be able to say no until your business grows a little more.
But at some point, you have to decide when enough is enough; otherwise, you’re going to end up exhausted and burned out.
So figure out what boundaries you need to have.
Maybe it’s not answering client emails after 5 p.m. Or maybe you reserve the weekends exclusively for family time.
Whatever it is, get those boundaries nailed into place and treat them as sacred. Boundaries keep business time from bleeding into mom time so you can be 100% present for your family.
6. Put yourself on your priority list.
I love my business and I’m super grateful for how much it’s grown over the last few years. But I’m conscious about stepping away from it and taking time for myself.
Since my kids are with me more or less all the time, my “me time” usually involves two things: working out in my bedroom or reading.
I try to exercise for an hour every day and my kids know that it’s my time. If I’m not doing blogging stuff after they go to bed, I’ll use that time to read.
These aren’t the most exciting hobbies to have but they’re my version of self-care and I need to have them. And I’m sure there’s something that matters just as much to you.
When you’re planning out your work at home mom routine each day, look for a pocket of time you can reserve just for yourself.
If you can’t give yourself an hour all at once, can you find 30 minutes twice a day? Or 20 minutes three times a day?
I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep self-care in your sights as a mompreneur.
When you’re a mom and a boss, you can’t afford to lay down on the job. Making time for self-care can help you re-center and recharge and that’s a good thing for everyone.
7. Be flexible.
The best laid plans of mice and moms don’t always work out the way you want them to.
When you’re a mom, there are just going to be days when it all hits the fan. Your work at home mom routine should be flexible enough so that one off day doesn’t wreck your entire week.
And flexibility also counts as your business (and your kids) grow up.
As my kids have gotten older, we’ve added new activities to our routine — soccer, homeschool co-op, art classes. And on some days, I don’t follow my work routine to the letter.
But it’s okay because I’ve learned how to adapt and plan ahead for it.
So create your routine. But be flexible. And allow yourself some grace.
Things can and will happen that can sidetrack you as a mom and as a mompreneur, but it’s so much easier to deal with it when you’re prepared.
Do You Have a Work at Home Mom Routine?
A routine can be a lifesaver, not only for your business, but for your sanity as a mom.
Have you nailed your work at home routine as a mompreneur? If so, hit the comments and tell me about it!
And be sure to check out the Boss Mama Resource Library, which is full of free resources and tools (including a daily productivity checklist!) to help you grow your blog & biz.