As a work-at-home-mom (WAHM), the saying “there aren’t enough hours in the day” has taken on new meaning. Five years ago, when I was jetting from one city to another for work, racking up frequent flyer miles, and burning the midnight oil at both ends, I had it good. Although my schedule was undeniably hectic, I had one major luxury: I only had myself to answer to. If I needed to sleep in, I did. If I needed to eat on the run, I did. If I wanted to exercise, I did. If I needed “me time,” I got it.
As a mom who works from home, however, my every waking moment is jam packed with parental responsibilities or work for my two businesses. On the surface, it looks like I have all the time and flexibility in the world, but “me time” has become scarce, and a sense of calm, virtually extinct.
I have no doubt that my Type-A personality plays a huge role in this situation, but I know I’m not alone. Having a rather abundant network of mom entrepreneurs, I hear this complaint quite often. Complaining, however, isn’t going to do any of us any good. So, if you can relate to any of this, I offer these tips:
- Create Structure: Just as children need structure to their day, so do adults. Make efforts to structure your days and weeks, so that you can depend on certain time for all of your have-tos, and hopefully, build in your want-tos. Try to maximize your time so you aren’t wasting time on things that eat into your productivity.
- Get Help: If you can’t ask a friend or family member for help, seriously consider hiring it. If you need to get a virtual assistant to take care of mundane tasks that aren’t worth your time, so be it. Hiring a cleaning lady, pre-ordering groceries for pickup, and even a part-time sitter to watch your child so you can get things done is worth every penny.
- Build in Personal Time: I know you probably think “me time” is the last thing you have time for, but it is seriously important to your mental wellbeing. Not only will it make you a better parent, but you’ll be more equipped to take on the workload you have. You’ll also be a better spouse, partner, and friend. Whether you spend your time with friends, shopping, or getting a manicure and pedicure, time for yourself is crucial to your ability to rejuvenate and gain perspective so you are better prepared to take on the day and your responsibilities.
- Exercise: If personal time is extremely difficult to get, try to prioritize exercise when you do get it. Exercise helps manage stress, increases oxygen to the brain and other parts of the body, and releases happy hormones, enhancing your overall outlook. If you have to watch the kiddo for part of the day, take her on a stroller walk instead of going to the playground. Consider dropping in at a local Y or gym that offers child-care services. And, if you are feeling too pressured by work to get in exercise, make a lunch meeting a walking meeting, or consider a pre-work exercise routine.
- Sleep: When we feel like there isn’t enough time in the day, sleep can easily become our last priority. Unfortunately, that is self-sabotage. Sleep is crucial to our ability to function at peek performance. Arianna Huffington gave a brief TED talk where she discussed how getting more sleep brings more joy, gratitude, and effectiveness to our lives. And, don’t we all need those things? I know I sure do!
Now it’s your turn. In the comments below, answer the following questions: Do you feel there aren’t enough hours in the day? Which of these five tips resonate the most with you, and why? Do you have any additional tips to share?