As a work at home mom, distraction is one of my biggest obstacles to productivity. Working from home with a toddler underfoot makes that problem of distraction even worse. I'm grateful for the ability to help support my family while also being at home with my kids, but I've definitely had some trial and error around the best ways to keep my days productive - and my kids happy!
Here are some of the ways I try to keep my work from interfering with time with my children, and keep my children from standing in the way of work:
- Setting realistic workflow expectations. The amount of work I can accomplish when I’m alone in a silent room is not quite the same as the amount of work I can accomplish with frequent interruptions from a small kiddo. Making peace with that fact helps me to set realistic deadlines, appropriate daily goals, and greatly lessens my frustration during the workday. Being able to do this will largely rely on the next point:
- Setting realistic toddler expectations. There will be points in the day when he is cranky. There will be other points when he is needy. Recognizing that it’s unreasonable to expect eight full hours of peaceful and uninterrupted silence from my three year old allows me to account for the interruptions and anticipate them when I set my deadlines.
- Figure out which parts of your job are flexible, and which require focus. Save the second kind for naptime.
- (Mostly) maintain separate places for work and play. My son keeps all of his toys in his room, with the messy toys and choking hazards far out of reach.
- Scheduling work. Using the above expectations, I schedule specific times to work with particular goals to meet.
- Scheduling play. If I only scheduled in work, I’d never find time for a walk to the library or an hour at the park. Setting aside time just for my son allows him my undivided attention for a short stretch, making him more willing to later relinquish that attention and play quietly by himself.
One of the reasons I'm a WAHM is so that I’m able to be around my children and enjoy spending time with them. If I allowed my work to consume my entire day, it would defeat the purpose of being home altogether.
How do you accomplish important work with children underfoot?
About Liz Moorhead
Liz Moorhead is a high school teacher turned work-from-home mom. An illustrator and writer, she blogs for a top wedding site and shares her own personal experiences on her blog Happy Sighs in between walks to the park with her toddler son - all just outside of Philadelphia.