5 Tips to Balance Working at Home and Motherhood When You Don’t Have Your Usual Support System
My husband has been working a lot of late nights for the past month, which has definitely thrown any semblance of work/motherhood balance I’ve had in my life off. Typically, I use evenings as my catch-up time for any work I don’t get done during my usual work time (nanny, naptime, or preschool).
So with him working more than usual lately you would think if I can actually get the toddler to bed at a decent time and the baby isn’t wide eyed and ready to play or demanding to cluster feed, then I’ll be furiously getting work done, right? You would think…except I’m often feeling exhausted and like the last thing I want to do is open my laptop after I get the kids to bed on my own.
But I have to get work done (deadlines!) so here are my coping strategies for being a work at home mom when your usual support system is gone, whether that’s your spouse working more, your nanny being on vacation, school being on break, or whatever else might affect your WAHM routine.
More TV Time
Yup, the controversial screen time! We try to keep it in check around these parts, but for the past month, Lulu has definitely been getting more Daniel Tiger and Doc McStuffins while I work at the kitchen table with the baby in the Moby Wrap.
Late Afternoon Park Time
It can be overwhelming to get out of the house as the day goes on since that’s usually prime meltdown time for the toddler, but I’ve noticed if we get out of the house around that time, the evening routine goes much smoother. She’s worked up an appetite and eats easier and also exhausted herself at the playground so is totally ready for bed right at bedtime.
I didn’t finish up what I wanted last week during preschool so I went to the gym we are members at and put my older daughter in the daycare there (which she loves going to) and sat in the common area and worked (again, with the baby in the Moby Wrap — love that Moby Wrap!) for 90 minutes. A bonus? My older daughter got her energy out and we had an easy rest of the day at home.
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When my husband is working late and doesn’t get home until after bedtime, I ask him for extra help in the mornings. This means he gets up a bit earlier than he normally would have and makes Lulu’s breakfast, brings me a coffee, and then gets Lulu’s morning routine started. If we were both too tired to do the dishes the night before, he’ll sometimes throw those into the dishwasher too before leaving. I then get a chance to go through my emails and get some outlines written for what I need to write that day since the baby wakes up later.
Make Time for Friends
When you’re in the trenches of motherhood with no extra help for weeks on end, it can be so tiring being a WAHM and even leaving the house can seem like just too much to add on top of everything else. But it seems the days I make an effort to see a friend (I’m fortunate to have wonderful mom friends where I live whose kids get along well with mine) puts me in a better mood and makes me feel less brain dead at the end of the day so I can actually do some work after bedtime! Plus, I get in some adult conversation, which I sorely need when my husband doesn’t get home until late.
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So there are my top tips for keeping your sanity when your spouse is working a ton of extra hours. Wish me luck to get through the next couple days. After that, my husband should be getting home at a reasonable time again. One can hope, right? 😉
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