I am THAT Mom.
The mom other mom’s whisper about.
“Can you believe she can’t take a few minutes to watch soccer practice?”
“Isn’t spending time at the park with her children more important than Facebook?”
“Doesn’t she know her kids are more important than her laptop?”
While the kids swing, I answer the alert on my phone. My fingers create a clickity clack melody while my daughter attends ballet class. Splishes and splashes compete with the sound of a conference call. Yes, I am that mom.
While other moms were swearing off smartphones and committing to spending more quality time with their children, my quest for the best productivity apps continued. The trend of giving up smartphones for giggles and sticky hands continued leaving in its wake judgement for those who continued to be summoned by alerts on their phone.
Addiction and misplaced values cannot be blamed for my refusal to give up my smartphone. My arsenal of technology supports the ballet classes, swimming lessons, and homeschool curriculum. I am a homeschool, work at home mom. My life is an endless game of beating the clock. Late nights and early mornings blend together and threaten to turn me into a cast member of The Walking Dead. I needed to end the confusion between sunrise and sunset and find structured time to attend to both my work and my homeschool.
I will not pretend that structure and balance are easily achieved. I won’t even pretend that the guilt you feel for working while have children will disappear. The reality is we have to do the best we can by maximizing our time without causing our children to be sacrificed. Let me add that spending a few hours working while your child is happily engaged is nothing to feel guilty about. Dishes in the sink and laundry on the floor do not define your worth. This life is colored by many seasons and each one is not without challenges or blessings. My current season brought me the challenge of finding the best balance (not perfect) that I could achieve between working and homeschooling. One small step in that direction led me to working while my children enjoyed classes and activities. It may seem crazy to some but my homeschooled children are well socialized and enjoy plenty of opportunities outside of the home. They also relish the independence of interacting with children or other teachers while mom sits on the sidelines. Today, those sidelines serve as my office. My traveling office allows the freedom for my children to partake in those activities and for me to get work done so time at home can be spent together.
So, the next time you see a mom engaged in technology at the park or during practice, turn your head, bite your tongue, slap yourself, or whatever you need to do to prevent your darn blasted judging.
So What is this Miracle Schedule for the Work at Home Homeschool Mom?
Moms often ask me about my schedule and I am always hesitant to share it. One, it is far from perfect. Two, schedules only work with the natural flow of your lifestyle and chances are we not the same person. Let’s not even get into how many times it goes off course which is proven by the crumbs on my floor.
6am: My work day begins while the kids are still sleeping.
9:30am: School begins and work ends for the moment
(Work hour tally: 3.5 hours)
12pm: Lunch. Kids get an hour break. I will either wrap a few things up or prepare for dinner.
1pm: School starts up again. I do not work during this time. If I am not needed I use this time to prepare for the next day or clean.
3pm: School ends. My office hours begin.
5pm: Office hours are over and it’s time to make dinner.
(Work hour tally: 2 hours)
7pm-9pm: Family time! However, I will use this time to clean or work on a project if the family activity is watching the Flash or one of those shows my husband watches with the kids.
9:30pm: Shower and final clean up.
10pm-Midnight: Work if needed. (I normally is needed unless it is a day where the kids have several activities)
(Work tally: 2 hours)
I call this my skeleton schedule. As you see it does not account for activities, cleaning, or life. Still working on adding in unpredicted events but my crystal ball is still in the shop. However, it does provide for 7.5 hours of work…potentially.
Classes and activities vary from season to season so it is hard for me to account for those hours. However, on our busiest season I will get about 4-6 hours a week to work while my children are happily engaged doing something else. Believe it or not, that is enough time for me to cut back on office hours or go to bed at a decent time. I think one hour of uninterrupted time is equal to 5 minutes of time at home; so I highly recommend shooting for this uninterrupted time.
You may be asking about weekends and where my husband is during all of this chaos. Yes, I do work on weekends if needed. During that time my husband provides me with much needed uninterrupted time. During the week, my husband works long hours so I do my best to keep the times he is home for family time.
My best advice is to find a routine that works for you. I hate routines but sadly it is what it takes. Give yourself grace. Pray for direction and always put your schedule in God’s hands every morning.
Daily Action Plan to Help You Get it All Done!
I added a section for writing in a verse to focus on for the day. I encourage you to post this and refer back to it to keep yourself on track and keep your verse on your mind.