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I am all for balance to life. I want to make sure I am well-rounded in all aspects of life. I want to have a relationship with God, be an awesome mom, a supportive and loving wife, a great homemaker, an awesome preschool teacher to my kids, fit and in-shape, a social butterfly, a bookworm, and also a successful blog owner. With the start of our school year, I am making some pretty serious goals for myself. I’m shooting up there in the world of technology by finally getting my very own tablet! While our household owns a tablet (an iPad Mini), it is definitely my husband’s toy. I’ve been fine with it, for the most part, because I dominate our awesome desktop computer, which boasts two large screens and awesome speed. It is a fabulous computer to run my blogging business on.
Balancing Work with Play
However, because my desktop is stationary, it means I’m strapped to the desktop all day if I want to get any work done. Since I don’t have a smartphone, or well, didn’t until two nights ago (post coming soon about that!), it means that once I leave the house, my work is left behind.
And honestly, I haven’t minded it very much. In many ways I have loved that when I left home, I was no longer connected to the internet and instead was 100% connected to my family and our outing. I was free to fully enjoy my kids at the park, at the pool, out with friends, in stores, and while driving. I wasn’t distracted from connecting with my kids, because the electronics (and work) were left at home.
So, then why am I excited about having my own tablet?
Because, sometimes Mom’s gotta work! I have deadlines, as a blogger, for companies that I work with. I have emails I need to respond to quickly or else risk losing out on opportunities. And sometimes, I get a great idea for a post and I have nothing to write it down on other than the edge of a receipt that’s crammed into my purse (definitely a true story).
Plus, we are also doing at-home preschool this year, and as part of their education and socialization, I want to get out in the community regularly. Since this blog is taking up more of my time, I don’t want to neglect going places with my kids because I need to finish writing something, or respond back to emails.
Thanks to this easy-to-type-with tablet, I can delegate some of my work-things, like blog writing and social media check-ins, while still getting out with my kids. And hopefully not run late anymore because I needed to check “one more thing” before we left the house.
I really just enjoy the freedom the tablet brings. It’s as simple as leaving the large screens on my computer desk, for my small tablet screen, so I can sit on my front patio and enjoy supervising my children play.
So, while I am still a huge fan of disconnecting when I leave my house and really spending time connecting with my family instead of a screen, it’s also nice to know that if work needs to get done, I can get it done and still meet many of the demands of my kids. And they are demanding, I assure you. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Tips for Balancing a Work-At-Home Life
So, I wanted to share some of the goals I am working on to create a better balance to this work-at-home or work-from-home mom gig. The following are tips I know work, even if I struggle to employ them all (see #6).
1. Make a work schedule.
Even with a tablet or smartphone that allows you to work, make sure there have dedicated times to do certain tasks you need to complete. As a blogger, this means certain periods of the day are devoted to actual writing (like nap time and after bedtime), while other periods of the day (early morning) are devoted to lighter things like checking emails, scheduling social media shares and updates, and promoting other bloggers.
2. Schedule Play Time.
Someone recently reminded me that not only should you schedule your work, but also schedule in playtime with your kids, too. It’s solid advice for sure. Every morning I am now spending active, engaged time with my preschoolers as I teach them from our at-home preschool curriculum. I have also scheduled in book reading sessions too, as well as trips and outings.
3. Get Sleep.
I am prone to be a night-owl and can easily watch the hours of 11pm, 12pm, and 1am tick away every night. And then still be awoken by my 7am wake-up call: my kids. Sleep is important so you don’t have a super short fuse with your family or yourself. You won’t be able to enjoy the time you do have set aside for your kids if all you are doing is yelling about every little thing. So in order to not be weary in well-doing for my family and my business, I need to get some sleep. This again, means, making a schedule: a bedtime.
4. Don’t Ignore Your Husband.
Since I like to work a lot in the evenings after the kids are in bed, it is easy for me to ignore my husband. And he doesn’t appreciate it much at all. So, another large benefit to me of the #TrioTablet, is that I can take it to my bedroom, where my husband likes to relax after a long day, and play on his tablet. A two-tablet home will allow for some chit-chat and some light work to be done. I also make sure that I take time to connect with him right after the kids’ bedtime so I can gauge if it is okay for me to work a lot that evening or not. Because, my husband needs to feel (and be) more important than my work. When he doesn’t feel that, he certainly isn’t as supportive of it, nor as happy to be around.
5. Create a Household Cleaning Schedule
I love the (editable) printable Household Chores List I made. I still try to do those things, even if I get lazy about marking them off the list. But, every Monday is laundry wash day. And everyday I sweep, run the dishwasher, clean the dishes, and wipe off the table. And once a week I mop. Seeing as I still mostly consider myself a “stay at home mom” and homemaker, I find that having a cleaning schedule, and one that my kids can help with, is necessary to staying sane. Cleanliness is next to Godliness, right? And a messy home just stresses me, and everyone else, out.
This is by far the hardest. If you notice, all of the above points deal with schedules, routines, and habits. And unfortunately, sitting at the computer or a tablet for longer than necessary, can be a nasty habit to break. But, in order to balance a work-at-home life you need discipline. You need the discipline to stop working on something when your child is hungry and wants lunch. You need the discipline to put aside the electronics and engage in fun, meaningful conversation with your kids and spouse. You need the discipline to not get sucked into the world of social media for much longer than is truly necessary or beneficial. It is discipline that will grow your family in a positive direction as well as your business/blog. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself, and I what I keep striving to develop in myself.
What is your secret to balancing your connection to work and your connection to your kids? How do you balance a work-at-home life?