If you’re a mother who wants or needs to work, it often feels like you’re facing a lose-lose situation. You can either miss out on family milestones by going to your place of business, or you can give your all to your family and potentially feel you’re missing out on the workplace and the paycheck it yields. It’s impossible to know the long-term benefits or setbacks of current decisions, but for many people it does seem as if either option comes with sacrifice and regret.
Then there is the work-from-home option, a trend that has only increased as telecommuting has become more accessible. While working from home is a great alternative (one that I myself have taken) for many moms and parents in general, it blurs the lines of what should be handled when. This becomes especially true when our families believe our presence at home means we’re not busy. Those expectations and confused boundaries can easily weigh on your mental health.
In order to minimize those effects, you must do your best to prioritize healthy habits and behaviors. Here are three that I swear by.
Establish a routine
I know as well as anyone that it can be almost impossible to stick to a specific schedule when you have children at home. But it’s wise to use those little windows of opportunity to try it anyway. Chances are your child has certain times for meals, naps, free play, and screen time. Use those most common times to plan your own work schedule.
Remember that you don’t have to follow a schedule to the T because that can be stressful. Use your schedule as a guideline that shows you at what times you are generally available to get things done.
Work-from-home moms are a special type of superhero. We truly do our best to provide for our families and take care of our children. When you have that much on your plate, it can be easy to put too much pressure on yourself. When there’s too much pressure on you, your mental health suffers, and so does the quality of your work. If you know for sure that you do not have the time or the mental capacity to get something done, ask for help or an extended deadline. It is better to ask for help than to explain subpar work.
When you work outside the home, you have the opportunity to develop relationships with others and have that necessary human socialization. One of the most difficult transitions you encounter when working from home is that your whole life suddenly occurs within those four walls.
For those who work outside the home this may sound like a dream. But for those of us who work at home, we know we get tired of staring at the same four walls over and over again. For this reason, it is important that when you do take breaks, you use them for things other than home-related tasks like grocery shopping and errand running. There are a ton of options for hobbies to get you out of the house. Do some research on things you want to try during your downtime — yoga, great walks, painting — and get out and try them.
Working from home takes a lot of discipline. It isn’t for everyone. But if you do decide that working from home is something you would like to try, make sure you put your mental health and emotional well-being first.
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