Being a work-at-home mom is a great way to have it all — until weekends become all work and no play.
In this issue of Working Mom 3.0, writer Stephanie Taylor Christensen explores how to find work and family balance when weekends mean work.
During the week, my work-at-home mom career as a writer and yoga instructor is a blessing. My flexible schedule means that I spend the bulk of my days with my son and avoid the typical stresses that full-time working parents face, including frantic mornings, running errands on the weekends and shuttling to and from daycare. But on the weekends, when most salaried employees are enjoying their time off, I'm reminded that being self-employed means working only Monday to Friday is a thing of the past.
Here are three ways to avoid feeling like you're all work and no play when you're a mom who works weekends.
One of the great things about relaxing weekends is the inherent lack of structure — unless you're the one family member who needs to work. Make sure every family member knows that you are "in the office" within a set time frame each weekend, despite your physical location. During that time, your spouse or partner is tasked with handling all home and kid needs that arise. If you just can't become invisible with your family in the home, take your workload to the local coffee shop or library.
No matter how much work you accomplish, being at home during the week creates an overwhelming sense of "should," whether it's going to the grocery store, cooking, cleaning the house, handling the laundry — or skipping out on "me" time because you feel you "should" spend rare down time with your family. Work-at-home moms work just as hard as "office" employees, and the responsibilities should be shared accordingly. Find a system to divvy chores, even if it's a simple list of errands and tasks that you hang on the refrigerator each week. Each Sunday, assign family members to each duty on the list, and commit to divide and conquer them all by Saturday. It doesn't matter when each task is completed — as long as it is. You'll suppress the urge to nag other family members of their pending "to do's" on the weekend while you work and relieve yourself of the burden of doing it all.
When you struggle to find consistent peace and quiet to work during the week, it's tempting to go into workaholic mode when your spouse is home to handle the kids. While it's an easy way to boost your productivity, that mindset can easily lead to feeling disconnected from your family, and creates a resentful situation where you and your spouse become "tag team" parents that spend little meaningful time together. Agree to an ongoing time of day each weekend where you will put work aside, done or not, and focus on your family, just as you would if you worked in an office.
The modern woman is redefining what it means to have a successful career. Rather than feeling torn between climbing the corporate ladder and having a happy family life, many women are choosing to merge the two and transition careers from a traditional role to a more flexible one. Working Mom 3.0 is reinventing the definition of "working mom," as office hours are held at home and revolve around nap times.
This column begins by chronicling the experiences of Stephanie Taylor Christensen, a former marketing professional turned self-employed stay-at-home mom, writer and yoga instructor, as she strives to redefine "having it all" on her own time and terms.
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