Melissa Foster Passionate Romance for Fiercely Loyal Hearts

If you work at home and go to school, then you know that you are pulling double duty, and more than likely, feeling a little stretched for time for yourself, time for your friends, and time for just relaxing.

A “working mom” is an enormous understatement for most women. Being a mother takes almost all, if not every bit, of your emotional, physical, and mental energy. No matter what the age of your child/children, there are schedules to be dealt with, meals to cook, lunches to make/pack, homework to be looked after, and drama to be dealt with. When you add a paying job to the mix, a working mother can stretch herself to the outer limits.

College students who work from home are trying to keep up with homework, and have some modicum of a social life. LIfe is full of distractions when you work at home–homework is always nagging to be done, there are more social networks then you can count on one hand, and then, there are computer and video games, causing a constant pull in their direction.

While I don't have any magic answers, I have come up with a few ways to keep your sanity while caring for your job, your family, and yourself.

Keep work outside of the main area of your home.

If you have a home office, it is often difficult to differentiate between “work space” and “family space”. Designate an area of your home for your work – an office space if you have one, and if not, perhaps a corner of a particular room. Declare this space your “work space” and confine yourself to that area – hence, creating a “no work zone” outside of that space. The moment you step outside of that area, you are in your family zone or your me zone. This works both ways. When you are in your family or me zone, you should not bring your work or laptop, either. Fair is fair.

Define work time vs family/me time.

It is often said by work at home mothers that their work is never done. That is certainly true! It is much easier to allow your work time to encroach on your family time when you work from home. This can lead to frustrated children (“Just one more second and I’ll be off the phone!”), irritated clients (“I apologize for my child in the background, but…”), and stressed relationships (“Honey, it’s dinner time!”). 

Work at home students feel the same pressures, just from different sources. As a writer, I have to block out hours in my day to write, and during that time, I don't even accept phone calls. You can do the same. 

Define your work hours.

Just because you work out of your home does not mean that your clients need full access to your every second. If your child/children nap, then define that as your work time. Perhaps bring in a mommy’s helper for three hours during the day when you will have your “work time”. If you need two hours for homework and three to work, define them on your calendar so you know which is which, and then stick to it.

Defining your work hours will enable you to better focus on the tasks at hand – whether those tasks are building blocks with a two year old or handling a client deal – make the most of each moment.

Throw away the guilt!

Whether you are in a situation where you want to work or have to work makes no difference. The act of working itself is your prerogative – no matter how you come to terms with it. Some will say that a mother who works on issues other than her family is better functioning as a mother. Some say a working student is a more focused and well-rounded student. Are these generalities true? The answer is different for everyone and the answer lies within your own heart. Be kind to yourself. Working, in either situation is okay to do. Throw that mommy guilt away! If you manage your time effectively, then the time you spend with your family, or the time you spend doing "me" oriented activities, will be just as rewarding as the time you spend working, and vice versa.

Delegate your duties

Husband are not women. To put it bluntly, if you are hoping that your husband will acknowledge that you are pulling double duty by working outside the home as well as inside the home, then you may be waiting a long time. Men are not women. Therefore, they do not often see our efforts in the same light. Many men assume housework will get done, meals will be made, homework will be dealt with – It is as if the magical wife fairy swoops into your home and takes care of these things. 

We all know the magical wife fairy doesn’t exist (trust me, I've looked for her!). Or perhaps she does, and we are one in the same person. A quick fix for feeling overwhelmed, overworked, and under appreciated is to delegate, as you would in an office. 

Do you have school aged children? If so, they are capable of emptying trash, making their own beds, cleaning up their playrooms/bedrooms, clearing dishes from the table, unloading the dishwasher, etc. Don’t overload them, but a chore each day is a healthy thing for both them and you!

Share responsibilities with your husband – For example, if you cook dinner, he can do the dishes while you settle the kids w/their homework. One can be responsible for throwing laundry in while the other is responsible for folding it. Pack lunches together the night before with your husband – Every relationship can benefit from a few minutes of togetherness.

If you are a student, without a family, you may not have anyone to delegate to, but there are always friends. Have a let's clean house party! Sound lame? Maybe not if you then go to dinner and a movie. There are all sorts of ways to make delegation fun.


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Article written for Jackie Burris