How Moms can Find Time to Work on their business
Plus 5 Surprising Places to Bring You Kids So You Can Work On Your Business
If you are a stay-at-home mom who is trying to build a business, you are probably thinking “when the heck am I going to work?” I know this because this is the number none question I get from moms who want to start a business. They just don’t think they have the the time.
I totally get it, because being a mom is a fulltime gig. Why do you think we pay other people fulltime salaries to watch our kids if we work outside the home? Because keeping kids alive and making sure they are functioning and educated humans is a fulltime job. As a stay-at-home mom, you get to be there for all of it. Every step, every new experience, every tantrum, every cold and it happens every second of every day.
So when are you supposed to work?
Yes, great question. The answers here are obvious.
Before they wake up
Your kid usually gets out of bed at 6:00, get up at 5:00. This is the age old advice for any mom. Get up before your kids so you can have a productive day. Guys, I hate this. I hate it so much. It is great advice, but I am just NOT productive in the morning. It is not when my brain is most active and creative. Any work I get done at this time, is half-baked and usually scrapped later on. It’s a waste of my time. I do, however, like getting up for a few moment for myself. Does that mean I do it everyday? No. I know this is what we are supposed to do, and if you are a morning person and can find a routine that works for you, GREAT! If you are like me and just can’t get past a state of zombiehood until 8:00 am, don’t feel guilty. We’ll find the best time for you to work.
Honestly this is when I do most of my work. From 12ish-3ish. Every single day. I pull out my computer or hop on client calls and use this time as productively as possible. This is personally when I am most efficient.
Your kids don’t nap? Guess what? Mine don’t either all the time. Does that mean I just don’t work? Nope. This is a boundary I set up with my kids. If they aren’t tired, they still need to take some time to rest and play quietly (with no electronic devices or battery operated toys). Your children (even toddlers) are capable of playing by themselves quietly for an hour or two. You know what else? This is good for them. Start off with 15 minutes at a time and slowly, over a couple weeks move to an hour or more. Set aside a space that is safe. Where they can play independently where you know they won’t get hurt. Maybe that’s in eyesight, or maybe it’s in their rooms. If your kids cannot play independently, your business from home will not be sustainable. This is so important for you as well as their creative development.
Once those baby cakes go down to bed, whip out that laptop and start pounding away. If this is your most efficient and creative time, create! If you are like me and are totally brain fried by the end of the day, save this time for boring monotonous work that can be done with netflix playing in the background. When you run your own business, not every part will be the stuff that fires you up. Some of it will just feel like work, but it will have to get done. Personally for me this is the best time to do this work, but it may look different based on when you are the most creative, productive and efficient.
So the only times I can work is when my kids are asleep?
I would say the BEST times to work is when your kids are asleep, because we chose to be stay-at-home moms and I assume that you want to be with your kids when they are awake. That is the point, isn’t it? But sometimes, you just need to get some work done to meet your goals and you need to use their sleeping hours to do other things like maintain your home, connect with your husband or, heaven forbid, SLEEP yourself!
Here are some suggestions of places to take your kids so you an work
Fast Food Restaurants (Cost: Less than $5 for something off the menu)
Places like Chick-Fil-A and McDonalds often have the double dream combo of a play place and some free wifi. Order yourself a cup of coffee, take that laptop into the play area with the kids and get to work. Will you get judgmental stares from other parents? Maybe. I can’t promise you won’t. Don’t let it bother you. You are a great mom. You are building a freaking legacy. Ignore them and let your kids have the time of their life while you get some stuff done.
The Gym (Cost: $2.75/hour)
Many gyms provide childcare. I know what you are thinking, the gym is expensive. At least the fancy one with the childcare is expensive. No it is not. It now needs to be considered a business expense (unfortunately you can’t write that one off at tax time, sorry, mama). For example, our local fancy schmancy gym cost me $90/month for myself and $10/month per child. I paid a total of $110/month. That feels like such a big expense for a luxury like a gym that offers a smoothie bar and steam room. But I could bring my kids there every single day for up to 2 hours. Assuming I brought my kids every day Monday through Friday so they could play with friends, new toys and do fun activities with the gym staff while I worked on my business or took a shower or listened to a podcast on the treadmill, it cost me $2.75 per hour for both kids combined. You cannot get that kind of childcare rates anywhere else. Really, a gym membership is such a good value for a mom trying to build a business.
Here’s the math because I know your husband will ask:
$110/month. If you go 20 days of the month (5x per week), it is $5.50 per day. If you use the full 2 hours each day, it breaks down to $2.75 per hour. $110/20 = $5.50, $5.50/2 = $2.75.
Mom Swap (Cost: Time invested)
Find another mom and trade kids. Maybe she’s also mompreneur. Maybe she’s just a mom who needs a day to herself. Either way, see if on a regular basis you can watch each other’s kids to give each other a break. It could be every week or every other week. Whatever works for you. We all know our kids do better when they are playing with other kids, plus you get a full day or a couple hours all to yourself! SWEET!
Find a mom with the same number or fewer kids than you. This will make it seem fair or even a better trade for them. If you have 3 kids, do not approach a mom with one child and ask to trade. It’s going to be more of a burden on her than it is for you. Make it seem like a sweet deal when you approach it.
Start as a trial for a month and discuss from there. That will give you both an out if it’s not working out.
Set a schedule. Don’t wing it. Decide verbally or in writing that EVERY Tuesday (or whenever) you will have her kids and she will have yours on Wednesdays. Treat it like a commitment because if you are relying on this time to grow your business, you need to have someone who is just as committed as you.
Extra Curricular Activities (Cost: Whatever you were already paying)
Are your kids in swim lessons? Soccer? Dance? Piano? Whatever it may be, use those 30 minutes here and there to work on small parts of your business. Maybe it’s just responding to emails on your phone or actively engaging with your instagram community. These are good times to get little tasks done that can be done from your phone.
Their own room (Cost: Free)
I already talked about this a little above when I talked about working over naptime. If your kids can play independently and safely in their rooms, you will all benefit greatly. They will develop creativity and self-discipline and you will be able to rely on time every single day to grow your business. I encourage you to do this at the same time every day. Maybe it’s after lunch time or in the mid morning. Make it a part of their routine. If they expect it, they will begin to crave it and need this time just as much as you do. Kids love boundaries and routines, so if you can make this a part of your routine (even if you don’t have work to get done), it will become a huge blessing for both of you.
No more excuses
Mamas, we work hard all day. We are emotionally exhausted and can’t think straight, but we can’t say that we don’t have time. If you do just a couple things from the list above, I guarantee that you will find 3-4 hours (if not more) to invest in your business. When you are driven and have a clear goal. You can get a lot done in 3 hours every single day.