Summer Survival Guide for Work-From-Home Moms

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I’ve been a member of the work-from-home moms club for 7 years now.

Initially, I primarily taught online. I did so early in the morning or late at night when my kids were sleeping and/or my husband was home. Then, 5 years ago, I started offering content writing services. This shift resulted in A LOT more daytime work for me. 

Honestly, I love the work. I promise I am not complaining. 

When I made the decision to begin dipping my toes into this market, it was early June of 2019. In those early days, I remember sitting at our breakfast bar, next to my husband (who occasionally works from home, as well) thinking, “Look at us, this is so cool. I can do this. I love this.” Flash forward three short weeks and my kids were home for summer break. 

By Caroline Mangum. Dupe.

Legit, all hell broke loose. 

We crashed into summer break like a freaking wrecking ball. A wrecking ball covered in vomit. All over my house. Yep, somehow, both of my kids ended up with the deadliest of all stomach bugs. This was no 24-hour bug. NO. This episode of nonstop barf lasted almost a week for each kid. We followed that up by taking the show on the road for 2 weeks- visiting family in NJ. Upon our return, my oldest son’s allergies were so out of control that he was prescribed two sets of eye drops and a chewable allergy med, and referred for allergy testing. 

Needless to say, summer, that first year as one of the work-from-home moms, was a roller coaster (the rickety old wooden kind like in La Ronde, to be exact). Like, I wasn’t sure we’d make it out alive. And that’s all before throwing in my attempts to get a new business off the ground. 

Working from home while children are home with you offers a unique balance of freedom and constant anxiety. I’m very lucky that my very first subcontracting position was with another mom who told me in our first meeting that she didn’t mind if my kids were around. 

She sure got what she bargained for a few weeks later. On a video call with her, I got called into the bathroom TWICE to help with butt wiping. On a third occasion, my youngest son used the bathroom with the door wide open in full view of the camera. Work-from-home-moms have all the fun.

God bless all other work-from-home moms who GET IT. 

On another video call that first summer, with my business coach, my children decided that would be the one hour that they would be the absolute worst versions of themselves. They fought with each other, spilled multiple foods and beverages, cried, screamed, tried to carry on complete conversations with me while I was clearly speaking to my coach, and stripped to their underwear. It was a complete and utter shit show. I got off the call feeling so guilty for wasting her time and not being 100% present for her valuable coaching. 

This is working from home with kids. 

Based on how awful they behaved while I was meeting with my coach and out of pure fear that they would put on a repeat performance, I decided to hire a babysitter to play with them while I had a discovery call with a potential client the next day. And guess what… I bet you already guessed it… the potential client no-showed (technically, she canceled 7 minutes before our meeting, but really, same.)

I learned my lesson, I will never do that again. 

I feel like you have a pretty clear picture, by now, of how my first foray into the summer life of work-from-home moms went. The bright side was that we made it. I got things done, found new clients, and prepped to fully launch my new business (once my little psychos were back in school and crazy town settled a bit.) 

Work From Home Mom: The Summer Saga

I even have some tips to share about how I’ve managed to balance the freedom of working for myself with the frantic experience of my first summer working with my kids at home. Hopefully, this will help other work-from-home moms.

1. Observe your kids’ schedules and seize the times when you can get larger chunks of work done.

For me, this was early morning and right around dinner time. I typically wake up before my kids and begin working immediately. Even once they woke up, they were usually pretty mellow for a while. They liked watching a couple of cartoons (TBH, sometimes YouTube, too) while eating breakfast and getting a slow start. This was when I got my biggest chunk of uninterrupted work done and I could usually tell from the voice level in the living room when sibling peace was close to coming to an end. 

The other large chunk of time I typically got for work was in the late afternoon after we returned home from swimming. The kids were usually pooped and looking to veg out for a bit. My husband returned home from work during this time. He would take the kids bike-riding while I wrapped up what I was doing and got dinner started. 

2. Dangle a carrot for good behavior.

Most days I had something fun planned for us to do late morning/early afternoon (even if it was just swimming at the town pool.) I made sure that it was something they wanted to do, I let them know what it was when they woke up, and I made sure they knew we were only doing it if they behaved while I worked. 

So, basically, I bribed them. I’m okay with that and, most of the time, it worked.

Always lead your calls and meetings with a warning that your kids are around.

In my experience, when forewarned, most are completely understanding and even relieved themselves (if they also have kids home with them.) In some cases, it’s even led to bonding and clinching the deal. I was initially apprehensive about this, feeling it didn’t give me the professional image I wanted. But, TBH, it was my reality and not pretending to be something I’m not greatly lowered my anxiety level. 

I’d love to hear from other work-from-home moms. Share your own stories of summer success and horror in the comments. 

I’ve also got some tips for eating healthy as a work-from-home mom, you can check those out here! And, don’t miss Katie’s tips for working from home with a toddler.

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Summer Survival Guide for Work-From-Home Moms

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Julie McNulty
Julie and her husband, Mike, were both born and raised in Southern New Jersey, but recently relocated to Vermont. Though new to the Green Mountain State, it already feels like home and they love the swimming, hiking, and skiing. Julie earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master’s degree in Theology. She spent the past ten years working with kids and teens but, these days, she's a part-time work from home/full-time homeschooling mom to her crazy boys, Luke- 7 and Liam- 6. Julie enjoys reading big books, writing witty blog posts, cooking new recipes, indulging in celebrity gossip, watching trashy reality TV, and doing anything outdoors with her kids and husband. You can follow her adventures on Instagram, @ur_basic_mom instead, and you can check out her content strategy and marketing business, Writes Well with Others.

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