The struggle with being a work at home parent

The struggle to create a work life balance when you are a work at home parent

I’ve been a work at home mum for nearly two years. If you’re reading this you’re probably thinking I should have this work at home thing cracked by now or lucky you, you have it easy.

In reality it’s far from that. Having spent 10 years working in an ad agency and being used to countless demands to have something done yesterday or having no time to do anything properly, you would think working at home with two small children should be a walk in the park.

Wrong. The juggle continues, more so I think. I went blissfully into this period of self-employment thinking it would be easy. In fact it was easy for the first year, but add another child to the mix and that just threw it all up into the air.

For anyone who is working at home full time whilst looking after children, with no or minimal childcare. I take my hat off to you. What’s your secret? How do you do it? Do you ever sleep?

Over the past two years I’ve learned a lot. It’s been a steep learning curve, and for anyone who is doing the same and feeling the same, it’s nice to know that we are in it together.

One of the things that I have learned along the way and this is probably the biggest thing is just how easy it is for the boundaries between parenting and work to become blurred. Made even more so by our mobile phones. There never seems to be a time when I’m not working or not parenting. The mobile phone has made it easier for us to work on the move, but it has also made me a slave to Instagram, Instagram Stories and this blog of mine.

One of the ways that I try to combat this is to have a social media switch off evening. My husband and I agreed that this would be a Tuesday. But more so recently we’ve found that even this is slipping by the wayside. It’s just all too easy to keep going. With my daily deadlines as part of my social media business it’s easy just to spend the day or night before scheduling, and then there’s the daily engagement.

However it works for us. I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way.

I have toyed with actually going back into the workplace when Freya starts school and Bertie starts nursery in September. I then had to give myself a good talking to and remember why I left my place of full-time employment in 2017. It was to be my own boss, to be in control of my work and deadlines, and to ultimately spend more time with the children. The thought of going back to work with juggling nursery and school pick-ups and drop-ups seems like an impossible task. So sticking to what I’m doing now and making a success of it is the right thing to do.

It’s not easy being a work at home parent, however much you may think it is. The juggle is still there. The frustrations of not being able to work when you need to work are still there. The long drawn out bedtimes with the kids just adds to the stress. Plus there really is never a time when you actually switch off.

But over two years I have made a success of it. I am still finding my feet. Everyday new challenges arise which throw my routine up in the air. Come September we will have an entire new routine. But for now I will make do and adapt with what we have.

And yes I really do need to bring back social media switch off Tuesdays.

Claire x

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