If you’re a working mom, I bet you gasp every time you leave the house for work. You feel guilty about leaving your kids back. But you try to convince yourself that it’s all good – You’re working to earn money for your family, so it’s something you do for them, right? And yet, you can’t avoid feeling guilty. And you know why? Because time goes by. Quicker than you think. You’ve been telling yourself that this situation isn’t going to last forever. And yet, here you are, still in the same place — year after year.

So let me ask you this – Are you stuck at your job because it’s “for their best”? Wouldn’t you rather be WITH them? If you’re something like me, you probably feel bad at home because you’re not there enough. But you also feel bad at work because you can’t give your 200% – as your boss asks you to. You’d love to give it all, but your little ones are waiting for you. And seeing those smiling faces when you come home weighs more than your colleagues raising their eyebrows when you leave earlier than them. You know that’s true. But still, you can’t help but feel guilty. And by the time you arrive home, you feel guilty again – because it’s almost time to put your children to bed.

So you decide that this double guilt feeling has to stop. It just can’t go on. You aren’t enjoying your work as you used to, and you aren’t enjoying the time with your family either. But quitting your job all at once isn’t an option – You need the money, AND you actually wanna work!! So let me help you with your guilt – What if I told you that there’s a way for you not to choose between career and family? 

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How to stop feeling guilty when you love your job

If you’ve been around for a while, you know what I’m going to say. Yep. Working from home is the best way to have both – work and family. Why? Well, because you can:

stay at home and be there when your kids need you.

keep on working – either starting your own business as a freelancer or working remotely for another company.

skip commuting, which means that you’ll be saving a lot of time in the week.

organize your own life-work schedule.

Now, don’t take me wrong. Working from home isn’t as easy as it seems! One of the hardest things for me is having a professional environment while being at home. ‘Cause, yes, I wanna be there for my family. But I also want my children to understand that when mommy is working, she isn’t to be disturbed – unless there are blood, fire or open wounds involved!

This is not only important to keep your job, your customers and your professionality levels intact – but also (and even more important) to keep your sanity! Do you know what it feels like trying to work – without actually being able to get anything done? Well, you don’t wanna know! It is SO frustrating to sit in front of your PC trying to do something – but without actually getting to do it, just because you get interrupted every 5 minutes! And when you stand up after 4 hours of trying to work, you feel frustrated, so you yell around like a crazy person, and for what? For nothing! You’ve been sitting there the whole morning and haven’t done a thing! So you could just have been playing with your kids or going out with them, right? What was the point?

Now, I’m not gonna tell you that I have it all under control and that it always works perfectly at home ’cause I’d be lying – and I hate lies. But I do try to schedule my working times in the smartest way for my family and me. That means that:

I won’t start working until I’m sure that I’m going to be able to focus on work – and nothing else. So if my kids are at home and they’re way too active, that’s not the best moment to start working 😉

My work schedule is all set before I start my work time. So the first thing is to know what you’re going to do when. In that way, if you get 30 minutes to sit down and work, you’ll know exactly how to use them. Otherwise, you’ll waste some precious time just figuring out what to do!

I’m not going to answer any private calls while I’m working, I’m also not going to make the laundry or go to the gym – unless I scheduled it, of course! The positive side effect of having a home office is that you can balance family, work and house much easier, right? So what does it mean that I can’t do the laundry? Well, you can, but only if you had it planned (as a small break after 2 hours of working, for instance). And not as a don’t-feel-like-writing-that-email-right-now-kind-of-spontaneous 😉

5 Tips that will help you increase your productivity while working from home

  1. There are moments where it’s just impossible to get any work done. Especially if you have babies at home. In that case, getting the best out of your free time is key – but remember to be gentle to yourself. Get only things done which are extremely important to keep going, such as delivering a project on time or talking to customers. Almost every other task can wait 😉
  2. Being productive doesn’t mean being busy. If you think about it, being productive is exactly the opposite! What’s the use of working long hours just for the sake of working? What you wanna do is to work as little as possible but with the highest income, right? So make good use of your work schedule and don’t get stuck in tasks which won’t bring you a dime!
  3. Checking your emails can get away with your planned schedule, so watch out! Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t check your emails – just maybe not that often. I used to check my emails so often that I could spend way too much time reading, answering and clicking on “More info” URLs which weren’t that important as they seemed. So my advice here is for you to check your emails once you’ve got your most important tasks done. And twice per day should be enough – unless you’re expecting any critical messages.
  4. The same applies to your cell phone. Turn it off, mute it and don’t answer any calls or messages which aren’t REALLY important.
  5. Don’t check any social media networks! That means no Facebook, no Insta, no Pinterest or whichever social media you use! In fact, the best thing that you can do is turning off all pop-up messages and alerts.

Freelancer working from home

>>> Find out how to start working from home in this post.

Start your own business from home in order to enjoy both work and family

Although freelancing is my absolute passion, you really have to want it in order to enjoy it. Otherwise, you’ll end up totally overwhelmed. You’ll see that your head will be spinning around with neverending ideas and strategies – and that’s SO fun!! But unfortunately also very exhausting. Especially at the beginning, you’ll most likely spend many hours sitting by yourself trying to figure out how to earn an income. How to get new clients. How to DIY a website without spending more money than necessary. And how to know when to stop.

So you’ll have to learn to disconnect from work. And that’ll seem particularly hard when you work from home – You have no commuting to slow down, no walking distance from the office to look forward to home. Nope. You’re already at home. The minute you put a foot outside your home office, you’ll find yourself in the middle of the battlefield. So you’ll have to learn to be present. You asked your children not to disturb you when you’re working. So the fairest thing to do is that, when you aren’t working, you have to be there. Like 100% present. And let them know how you enjoy that. Otherwise, what was the point again in working from home?

You’ll find that you NEED to talk to others about your ideas, your plans, your future strategies… But most likely your family won’t love it to become the dinner subject #1 day after day. So my tip for you is to go and seek for other people in similar situations. Check out if there are any local meetups for solopreneurs. Look for other freelancers – I bet they’ll be willing to share and network with other freelancers like yourself. Besides, you won’t feel as though you’re sitting alone in your room. You’ll feel you’re part of a team.

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7 Tips to become a remote worker and work from home for your employer

What if you don’t want to start an online business? Maybe you’re afraid you won’t have enough income flow, or perhaps you just don’t like the idea of having to sort things out by yourself. Would you rather have your boss tell you what to do, and forget about it all on Friday? That’s not the ideal scenario for me, but if that’s what you want, by all means! So how can you do it?

  1. Talk to your boss, and tell him about your situation. How stressed you feel and how much productive you could be if you worked from home. You can also refer him to articles such as this one appeared in Forbes, and he may find out the truth about existing myths involving work-at-home parents.
  2. Ask him which are the company’s core working times, and try to be as present as possible. Explain that you may not be working at the exact working times as your colleagues, but that you’re focusing on meeting timelines and finishing projects. In that sense, try to be as flexible as possible. If you need to work late or a couple of hours in the weekend in order to meet a deadline, do it for them to convince themselves that your working from home is an asset for the company.
  3. Be proactive and let your boss know that you’re there. If there’s any kind of conference call or team call, be there. And make sure that your kids’ voices aren’t going to be heard on that call!
  4. Family respect is here even more important than when you have your own business. Your family needs to know how important it is for them not to disturb you when you’re working! Talk to them and explain what it would mean if you lost your job.
  5. If you think you’re going to have timing issues – due to school issues, for example – try to get things with a due date done first. You don’t want to let that long task you hate to next week. In fact, you’d better get it off your plate as soon as you can, for 2 main reasons:
    • First, imagine one of your kids get sick. You had one whole week for a 4-hour task, and you’ve been waiting until the very last minute to work on it. You were confident you could complete it in the last 4 hours, but you hadn’t count with external factors. So how can you explain that? You can’t. At least not more than the first time it happens. You can’t risk your new home office work just because you didn’t feel like getting a task you knew you had to complete anyway, right?
    • Second, once it’s done, it’s done! What do I mean by that? If you take bigger tasks off your desk immediately, you’ll be able to manage your time easily. Take one day a week to get a bigger / due-date task done, and the rest of the week to complete all other smaller / fun tasks.
  6. In general, try to get things done with some time in advance so you have more time buffer, just in case there’s any unforeseen event (like a kid gets sick) – or a prescheduled event (like a ballet show).
  7. Similarly to freelancers, you don’t need to check and answer your emails immediately. In fact, the best thing you can do is closing your email program and checking it at midday and later on in the afternoon. If your boss asks you for any delayed answer, you can explain how focused you were working on that milestone project he asked you to do.

>>> Check this post if you aren’t sure what the differences are between freelancers and remote workers

Conclusion

As well as many women would love to be able to quit working altogether in order to take care of their children and dedicate themselves 100% to them, many other women just love to work. Women who can’t imagine giving away their careers at all. That’s too many years studying and working for low wages in order to get the experience you need to finally get a job you feel proud of. A job you feel fulfilled at. But that doesn’t mean that you want to stay at that very same job for the rest of your life. Especially when you have small children around. You’d love to spend most of your time with them. But you need the adrenaline your work gives you. And you need the money.

So whether you want to be self-employed and start a business of your own, or if you want to stay employed and work remotely, working from your home office is the ideal solution for you to stop feeling guilty about both – family and work. Besides, an awesome side-effect of working from home I’ve been noticing these past years is that your kids see you work. They notice how you handle work responsibilities. How you prioritize your work against watching TV. They see you focus. According to a Harvard study, daughters of working mothers enjoy better careers and higher pay, so don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for working 😉

 

 

Alicia
Are you born to freelance?
Related post: Why you don’t have to choose between career and family
Born to Freelance

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Working mom not feeling guilty