5 Tips for full-time mums working from home

Oct 30, 2016


I'm a creative person and I’ve always worked from home. Even when I was working my various 9-5 jobs over the years, I would still come home and find time to paint my own artworks. I’ve always liked working on my own projects at home and when my first child came along I thought it would be easy to find the time to get work done. I’ve always worked with kids, so surely I could just get work done while my own kids were around too? Wrong. It took me a long time to figure out that my creative work time didn’t come easy as a full-time mum; I had to reinvent my work-from-home time.

My children are currently 3.5 and nearly 2. I’ve figured out a few techniques with how to get work done now (this is how I work on Artventure) but there are positives and negatives. I wish I had a miracle formula for you … but I don’t. These points are based on the moments day-to-day, week-by-week, when you need to find some time to get work done. Sometimes you'll get 45 minutes if your kids play happily or have decent naps and other times you might be lucky to score only 5 minutes. I’ve learnt to be productive and grab any time that I can. Your work time could be sewing, writing, scrap booking, restoring old furniture …You might run your own business or always dreamed of writing a kids book, songs or designing clothes. Here are my top 5 tips if you’re looking to get some work done with kids around ...

1. Get them involved
Planning ahead to know how your kids can be involved in your work will help enormously. If you’re cooking, set them up with their own cooking station. If you’re sewing, let them cut their own bits of material and pin them together with pegs. Scrap booking, set them up with their own book. Think about how your child can be involved with what you’re doing (age appropriate, of course) so your child is learning new skills while you’re being productive.

2. Exhaust your kids
Just like a puppy needs to run and run and run till it flops in a sleepy heap, kids need the same. The best thing to do is take your kids out to a playground first thing in the morning to enjoy the fresh air and run around. Then bring them home for naps or relaxation time so you can get cracking on a creative project. Spending time out of the house buys you time at home later.

3. Feed the kids
This seems like an obvious one, but it’s particularly true for my kids! With lots of (healthy) food in their tummies they’re far more likely to sit down and play with duplo, puzzles or read books so you can turn your back and reply to some emails.

4. Turn a blind eye to the chores
Don’t pick up those toys. Step away from the breakfast dishes. Ignore that load of washing ... and don’t you dare start cooking dinner! If you want to get some work done, something’s got to give … and I hate to tell you, but it’s probably going to be your neat, tidy and organised household. I’m not telling you to quit being on top of your household all the time (I know how good it feels to have everything organised!) but on the days that you want to get some work done, your work is top priority. You can get back on top of the housework tomorrow.

5. When all else fails
Those days you just HAVE to get some work finished, but it’s pouring with rain. Kids are driving you nuts...yes, I'm guilty (especially in winter)...turn on the dreaded TV. You know it can make their behaviour worse, you know that their eyes will turn square and their brains will become mush. But if it means that you can sneak in 30 minutes of work, the opportunity is too good to miss.

At the end of the day, if you’re able to get ANY work done other than the zillion hours you put in for your children: combing and plaiting hair, finding the favourite toy that’s gone missing, preparing food for the hundredth time ("why did you cut my crust off? I wanted it left on today!”), mopping up the wee on the floor from the toilet training youngest (you know what it’s like), the list goes on and on … you’re doing an amazing job. 

Happy drawing, painting, creating.