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How Do You Manage Your Time as a Work-At-Home-Mom?

work at home mom

I have been overwhelmed by my life lately. I'm not sure if it's PPD lingering or if it's overcommitment or a combination, but I am struggling with my new role as a full-time work-at-home-mom of two.

Struggling is the tip of the iceberg, to tell you the truth.

I feel like a fraud.

I have been getting emails from other moms asking how I do it. They say things like,

I feel like such a failure. I wish I knew how you manage to keep it all together!

You're doing so many things, and you're so successful! How do you do it?

Can you come over and teach me how to cook? I just can't find the time to learn.

Except. Really, if I'm honest with myself and with you, I most certainly do not have it all together.

Not even close.

In fact, most days, I am up well past midnight, while everyone else in my house is asleep, trying to finish the last minute, this-must-get-done-before-I-go-to-bed tasks related to my blog and business commitments.

My home is gathering dust bunnies in corners and other untraveled spaces. The mirrors and windows are smudged and the carpets are dirty. The decluttering that is so desperately needed is forever on hold.

There is just not enough time in the day.

I maintain two written schedules, one in Google calendar and the other on paper in a MomAgenda, but I still forget to do things.

I need a better system.

time management work at home mom

Months ago, I downloaded Amy Lynn Andrews‘ e-book, Tell Your Time. I had high hopes, especially after hearing Crystal Paine speak about it at the Relevant Conference.

how to manage time work at home mom

And then, I downloaded Mandi Ehman's e-book, called Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too.

However.

Reading these books, by themselves or together, is not helpful in taming one's schedule. One must take the time to sit down and actually work the solutions presented in the books.

A few things are non-negotiable in my life.

  • Income – I have to contribute to our family's budget or bills will go unpaid.
  • Personal & professional satisfaction – I have skills that companies need, and I enjoy being able to help them. Being smart and competent is important to my sense of self worth.
  • Time with my girls – I quit my teaching job to stay home with my girls, and I refuse to look at them from the other side of a laptop screen. When I am home alone with them, I limit my computer time to a bare minimum.
  • My Marriage – I have a tendency to hand Joe the baby and hide behind my computer screen when he's home. It's not working. I have to make time for him in my schedule.
  • Family & friends – Hard as it is, I need plan to stop working and socialize.
  • Church – We go to Sunday morning services, Sunday school, and I attend an evening Bible study during the week.

So with that list, I am going to sit down and work through Amy's and Mandi's e-books again, in earnest. I hope they make a difference.

How do you manage your schedule as a work-at-home-mom?

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© 2011 – 2018, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

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16 thoughts on “How Do You Manage Your Time as a Work-At-Home-Mom?”

  1. Hey, sounds like you’re singing my song. I have Amy’s book too and Money Saving Mom’s and I get the whole “got to sit down and make it work” thing. In fact, earlier today I was revising a schedule I worked up in April (hello, its June) – that I have NOT implemented yet.

    When you get it all figured out, let me know 😉 lol

    http://www.halloffamemoms.com

  2. I’m sorry you’re going through this, Tara!  If it’s any consolation, you appear to have it all together.  I’m sure it’s no consolation, though.  I don’t have any advice since my situation is quite different, but I wanted to post to let you know I’m thinking of you!

  3. Thank you for your comments and your kind words! My husband and I have been talking about what I can let go of. I’m certainly NOT taking on any new commitments, but it’s hard to see what I could give up. If we were in a position to hire an assistant for my blog, that would be ideal.

  4. I liked your post.  I struggle with this as well.  My husband and I recently gave up a lot, like TV (still have internet, whew!) moved to a modest rental home, etc.  I’m very happy with these recent choices, for us we learned that less really is more.  Now with less bills, I’m able to spend more time with my son, which is exactly what we needed.  It’s still a struggle though to consistently figure it all out..happy to hear I’m not the only one 🙂

    Thanks,
    @sophiesmilk:twitter

  5. I don’t think I’m quite as busy as you, especially since it’s summer and I’m not teaching (I adjunct part time), but there are a couple things that I’ve started doing in my life that have helped tame the chaos. 
    1.  Systematize.   My personality is one that works better with a solid and serious routine.  I clean the bathrooms every Wed at 8 am.  I force my life to work that way or they don’t get clean.  I grocery shop every Friday at 7:30 am, I work on my sewing projects Monday, Tuesday, and Friday during nap times, I blog hop every morning before the kids wake up, etc etc etc.  And, you guessed it… my kids are on a schedule.  With them it isn’t quite so rigid- we can flex it as needed.  I just know for me, I found a routine that works with my schedule, the kids’ schedules, and my husband’s work schedule and ran with it. 
    2.  Date time.  My husband and I rarely get out of the house for date nights but we have worked two nights in our schedules where we spend time together when the kids are asleep.  One night a week he picks our activity and one night I pick.  We play board games, the Wii, cards, watch a movie, talk, etc.  Our only rule is that we HAVE to do what the other person picks.  Some nights we only get an hour together but that’s two hours a week that we might not have. 

    Anyway, that was long but these two things have made my life better in many ways.  I realize the schedule/routine thing isn’t for everyone’s personality, but it works well for me. 

  6. Wow woman you’re preaching to the choir. In other words, I hear ya, agree with you and walk right beside you. 

  7. Ahh, yes. Having it all together. I think when you have the unpredictability of children in the mix, things just kind of do what they’re going to do. Kind of like having a bad hair day. Sometimes, it just happens and you just do what you can to salvage things.

    Reassessing priorities on a regular basis and making adjustments at that time is really all you can do. Well, it’s all I can do, anyway. 😀 For me, someone with a very Type A personality, working at home challenges EVERYTHING in me that is flawed. Every single day is a personal growth experience. It’s fair to say I am learning to fly by the seat of my pants, one day at a time.

    My only advice is don’t be so hard on yourself (emotional guilt stuff) when you feel you are not towing the line. I DO find the “reassessment of priorities” thing has done more often because I do tend to fall into my old workaholic patterns if I’m not vigilant.

    You go Momma!! You are doing the right thing being home with your kids Mama said there’d be days like this …. (just didn’t realize there would be so MANY ;)  )

  8. Ahh, yes. Having it all together. I think when you have the unpredictability of children in the mix, things just kind of do what they’re going to do. Kind of like having a bad hair day. Sometimes, it just happens and you just do what you can to salvage things.

    Reassessing priorities on a regular basis and making adjustments at that time is really all you can do. Well, it’s all I can do, anyway. 😀 For me, someone with a very Type A personality, working at home challenges EVERYTHING in me that is flawed. Every single day is a personal growth experience. It’s fair to say I am learning to fly by the seat of my pants, one day at a time.

    My only advice is don’t be so hard on yourself (emotional guilt stuff) when you feel you are not towing the line. I DO find the “reassessment of priorities” thing has done more often because I do tend to fall into my old workaholic patterns if I’m not vigilant.

    You go Momma!! You are doing the right thing being home with your kids Mama said there’d be days like this …. (just didn’t realize there would be so MANY ;)  )

  9. Pingback: I Was Broken
  10. I work from home and have for years and years. If there’s one thing I know it’s the time spent on one thing is time sacrificed from another. And I don’t try to balance it all. I’ve gotten pretty good at listening to my inner voice (my gut) and it pretty much tells me what my priority for the day needs to be. I have learned to try and work well ahead of my deadlines (I refuse to have a job that does not offer me to work ahead of them – last minute is not for me), which affords me a LOT of spontaneous time. Some days we just pick up and go to the beach. I don’t feel the least bit guilty – I can check on my work from my phone and what can’t be handled from that can wait a few hours til I get home.

    We took 3 vacations in 10 months last year and my business grew by 300%. I know I break every single rule/tip/agenda that a WAHM “should” have but we are HAPPY and I am extremely fulfilled that’s all I really care about.

    Ultimately it just takes time to get a rhythm and you learn to say NO to commitments that just do not fulfill you. I am going to take you to another link (LOL!!! SORRY) and ask you if you follow Miss Britt (http://www.miss-britt.com) she is the sole income provider working from home and they are traveling this year on the road with their 2 kids in an RV. Incredible story on a journey to happiness and inner joy.

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