Working at home and being a WAHM can be stressful at times. It seems there is never enough time, children cry for our attention, husbands and family members place demands on us, and even full or part-time jobs play a role in adding to our stress. That’s why it’s important to find ways to alleviate and eliminate some of the stress in our lives to make our time working at home all day long more enjoyable and less of a burden.
1. Identify what causes you stress. In order to relieve the stress in our lives, we have to know what’s causing stress. Do you feel time-pressure to meet a deadline? Feel that you have too many obligations? Never find time for yourself? Have a difficult client you dread facing each day? Learn to recognize what it is that’s causing you to feel stressed so you can make lifestyle and attitude changes to reduce or rid your life of that stressor.
2. Now that you know what makes you feel stressed, you can begin to eliminate that stress from your life, or at least reduce its effects on your well-being.
For instance, if you find yourself continually stressed because you’re having trouble meeting deadlines, try getting up an hour earlier or working while the kids nap. Reduce the amount of time you spend watching TV, or cut back on other obligations to find more time to do what you need to.
If you realize having too many obligations is causing you to feel stressed, learn to say no–even to good causes! Begin to remove activities and obligations from your schedule until you no longer feel pressured by all you have to do. This applies to your children’s schedules and your workload as well. You’re not a bad mom just because you say no sometimes, and if you’re so busy you have to turn down work–or pass it on to a colleague–it will actually make you more desirable to your clients because they’ll see how much others value your services.
If it feels like you never have time just for you, then make time. Set aside 30 minutes a day, or an hour a week and do only what you want to do. Go for a quiet walk. Read a book. Sit in your bedroom and stare at the wall. Do what brings you pleasure. As WAHMs, in particular, refreshing ourselves has to be a priority. If we’re not our best, we certainly can’t accomplish all we need–or want–to do effectively.
If you have a difficult client who is causing you stress and whom you dread facing, stop working for him. Tell him politely that you’re no longer available and if you feel you can, help him find someone else to do his work. One of the advantages to being a WAHM and owning your own business is the ability to choose who you work with. If someone is making your work life miserable, find another client to replace them and eliminate that stress from your life.
Whatever your personal stress triggers are, search for ways to deal with each specific issue so you can reduce or eliminate the stress each one causes.
3. Make sure you get enough sleep. If you find yourself tense and anxious during the day, take a close look at how much sleep you’re getting each night. A good night’s rest rejuvenates us and gives us strength to face the day. If we don’t take time for that renewal, our whole attitude suffers. If you suffer from insomnia or find you are repeatedly waking in the middle of the night for no apparent reason, it may be time to talk to your doctor to see what could be done to help. But drinking a cup of herbal tea before bed, reading for a few minutes before you go to sleep or other methods of relaxation may help. Give them a try to ensure you sleep as you should.
4. Exercise, eat right and take good care of your health. When our body is in good shape and we feel good physically, we always have more energy to cope with life’s trials. When we slack off on caring for our health, it begins to show almost immediately in how well–or not!–we handle stress and anxiety.
Schedule a workout at least three times a week, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, reduce your sugar and fat intake, and if needed, take a multivitamin every day. Caring for your body will help keep your mind in shape as well.
5. Smile and laugh more. Developing a light-hearted attitude and one that helps you laugh at yourself and situations you face will go a long way in reducing the stress you feel when facing trials and struggles. You’ve heard people say, “It’s either laugh or cry.” Often that’s true. And laughing is a lot more fun, especially when we make it a habit we live by!
6. Cry if it will help. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to cry when you need to. We all want to be strong and “put on a happy face.” But sometimes we just need to admit that we’re hurting or feeling overwhelmed, and shed a few tears. Crying can have a cleansing affect on our system and our psyche, and there is nothing wrong with crying once in awhile. If you find yourself crying too often, however, you might want to talk to your doctor about clinical depression. But occasional crying is as good for the soul as laughter.
7. Find outside interests. Take up a hobby. Learn a new craft. Join a local women’s club. Take music lessons. Whatever it is, do something new and something you enjoy. Getting your mind off your problems, even for an hour or two, can work wonders in strengthening your ability to deal with those problems when you get home.
8. Get organized. If your home or office is in chaos, it can add untold amounts of stress to your day. Clutter is stressful! If you’re not sure about the truth in this statement, walk into a room that is neatly arranged and where everything is in place. Then walk into a room that is cluttered with things strewn all over the floor, clothes everywhere, nothing put away. How did you feel when you entered each room? More often than not, we feel more stressful when surrounded by clutter. Take the time to organize your home, office and life, and your stress level will decrease automatically.
9. Take a long, hot bath. Whether you add the Calgon® or not, a bath will relax you and help to renew your mind. Just getting away from everyone and everything for a few minutes works wonders and there’s nothing like a nice soak behind a locked bathroom door to help you do that.
10. Learn to let go. While this is certainly easier said than done, sometimes we just have to let go of things that cause us stress. Remember the Serenity Prayer?
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Learning to live by this bit of wisdom will take you far in your struggle to reduce the amount of stress you face each day.
Being a part-time or full-time WAHM can add more stressors to our lives because we are adding another layer of responsibility and activity through our daily work load and business-building strategies. But there are ways to recognize and lessen that stress. When we do that, we remember just how much the WAHM lifestyle fulfills our dreams and just how fortunate we are to have found it.
How can I save time and make more money with my email efforts?
Where do I begin to organize my team training materials?
How can I more efficiently follow-up with all my clients?
And, what IS an auto responder?
How can I organize my training and emails to my team and customers? I’m spending too much time emailing and am not getting the results I need. Plus, I can’t keep up with who’s gotten what information. HELP!
Response from Nicole … You may not know it, but your life is about to get a lot easier. How would you like to have emails and training automatically going out to your team members as soon as they sign up — set up so you do nothing? Sound hard? 😉 It’s super easy!
You can get automated follow up AND a mailing list combined in an Auto-Responder. I can’t believe how painless it is to set up training courses for my teams with an autoresponder program. Just add a bunch of emails starting with your “Hi ((firstname))! Welcome to (comany’s name)”. The autoresponder will fill in the person’s name and automatically send the series of messages in order on the dates you request (every 4 days, every week, however you want). So, your brand new consultant will be getting message #1 while your consultants from last month may be receiving message #5.
When you get a new recruit or customer, you simply enter their information into the autoresponder and your recruit will receive the first message and automatically get the entire series in order without your having to do anything! And, a good auto-responder will check the messages to see if they’ll be blocked by spam filters and give you suggestions of terms to change to avoid the dreaded filters.
The best thing about a good autoresponder program is that it will support multiple lists, so you can also set up a list for your customers. After your client’s first order, enter them into your autoresponder. Set it up so they receive a message a week or so later to ask how the product is working for them. Then, they are in your list and will receive all the specials you promote, forever.
No more juggling email lists. Never be accused of S P A M.
I’ll be moving my newsletter list over to auto-responder since it’s made everything else in my life so much easier. I already have 5 mailing lists set up in my one autoresponder account and intend to move much more over there. You’ll see what I have in store… 😉
I love asking…
Have you ever thought about working from home?
I use this line all the time at the parks and places I am hanging out with my kids.
Simply start the conversation with another mom…
Do you come here often?
Which kids are yours?
Then bridge the conversation into…
Do you stay at home with your kids?
When she asks, What about you?
Yes, I am so fortunate, I have a business I work right alongside my children and our activities and create extra income for my family. Have you ever thought about working from home?
I have to go to the dentist today so I’m gonna try and talk to someone there and then I’m stopping at the park again today to meet some more moms! We have about 45 minutes between appointments today so we are gonna sneak in a park visit. Everyone wins! My kids are happy to go to the park and I’m happy cause I never know who I am going to meet.
Who are you going to meet today?
You know you are a WAHM when:
- The shirt your child needs for school pictures TODAY is at the bottom of Mount St. Laundry
- Your child develops a fever the night before a big presentation and then proceeds to throw up on said presentation
- You are reading a book aloud to your child while glancing at the stack of work on your desk
- You are on a conference call in your pajamas
- You have a purse full of receipts that you can’t throw away because you need to sort the personal from the work expenses and darn it, you just haven’t gotten around to it yet
- You have gone all day without looking in a mirror- on purpose!
- You know the value of a bribe to achieve relative quiet when you are on the phone with a client
- The babysitter is on speed dial, actually she’s your friend on Facebook
- There are sticky fingerprints on the lid of your laptop
- Taking deep cleansing breaths and chasing the toddler (who is teething on your Blackberry) is your exercise routine
- You eat lunch standing up while looking over your to-do list and resisting the urge to scream
- You think you will be most productive at naptime but you make the mistake of sitting down and doze off too
- You consider your office anywhere you happen to be at the moment: the living room, the car, Gymboree class, the orthodontist office, etc
- You don’t enforce your work before play rule when those big eyes look up and that sweet voice asks you to play Hide and Seek “just one more time, Mommy”
- You realize a ½ hour before dinner that you have (once again) forgotten to take the roast out of the freezer to thaw
- You long ago recognized you don’t have to be a perfect mom to be THE perfect mom for your kids
- You have come to the conclusion that you will be completely gray by age 40 and decide to buy stock in Clairol
- Your camera is always beside you to capture the moments you stay home to see
- You know for a fact that kids do not want to be entertained with new toys and gadgets; they just want you (especially if you have a deadline and their BFF at school insulted them about their outfit)
- You are a wizard at making the most out of the 24 hours allotted in a day
- You dream of ways to payback every person who has ever said “it must be so nice to sit at home”. Visions of voodoo dolls, stink bombs and forcing them to spend 15 minutes in your shoes bring you pleasant dreams
- You learned early on that WAHM is secret code for invitations to sit on every PTA committee, coordinate every carpool and be the class mom for the entire bleepin’ school.
- You also learned (albeit the hard way) that you can only participate in so many volunteer activities before you are too busy to earn a living and you feel like you have gotten on a merry go round and can’t get off
- After you learned above lesson and alienated people during the ensuing nervous breakdown, you have become an expert on boundaries, saying “no” and only spending your time on things that are really important to you, your family and your career
- You know that a little laughter goes a long way, especially when the alternative is abandoning the grocery cart, laying on the floor in the fetal position and bursting into tears
- You have had to enforce social media breaks on yourself in order to get your work done- that darn Twitter
- You are a budget expert. You know for a fact how great your finances would be if you could just stick to the budget.
- You are still awake at 2am because it is literally impossible to accomplish everything on your list unless you use the entire 24 hours allotted in a day
- You look at the dishes in the sink and breathe a sigh of relief. You can wait to do them till morning (they won’t even start to stink until Wednesday)
- You have contemplated running away but know that your family and your boss would eventually find you
- You have given up on losing the baby weight (the baby is 11 years old- it just ain’t gonna happen)
- You have re-gifted a toy that your child didn’t like back to the child who gave it to them in the first place
- You have locked yourself out of your car at least once and your home at least once, probably on the same day.
- You secretly want to have Martha Stewart banned from television, publishing books and selling magazines
- You know what it is like to open the refrigerator to a milk carton that has less than a ½ teaspoon left in it
- You have googled the answer to the age old question- “Why is the sky blue”?
- You have learned that the terrible two’s don’t even start to prepare you for the three’s
- And then the tween years roll around and you feel like you are living through an episode of Invasion of the Body Snatchers
- You realize on a daily basis it is a good thing your family is not dependent on your income alone
- You have walked into a meeting with spit up on your blouse
- You have stepped on a Lego on your way to crawl into bed at 3am, when you couldn’t keep your eyes open at the computer any longer, and your yelp of pain woke up the baby
- You shave your legs according to the season
- You cut the crusts off your husband’s sandwiches (it’s called auto-pilot, folks)
- You just write a check to the school to avoid having to sell any more cookie dough or scratch off tickets
- You have called your child by the dog’s name and vice versa
- You think the no white after Labor Day rule is stupid- who is crazy enough to wear white at all? No amount of Spray n’ Wash can stand up to the attacks a mom’s clothing sees
- You were sad to see the day that your child could tell time because you could no longer say it was bedtime a ½ earlier than it actually was
- You have considered how much your child could fetch on Ebay
- You answer your husband with a glare when he comes home and asks how your day went
- You have bundled the kids and put them in the car so they would fall asleep and you could get a coffee from Starbuck’s
- You do not complain when your boss informs you there is travel in your future
- You look around at your sweet family and realize you wouldn’t change a thing.
Now, don’t try to tell me you haven’t heard of all the hype and outrage about the latest Motrin commercial. The makers of Motrin actually think that women who wear their babies are trying to be fashionable and look like an official mom. I will not even humor them with my thoughts on this subject but as a WAHM, even though I am several years removed from my babywearing days I would like to share the true reasons I wore my babies. These same reasons that applied to me 9+ years ago, most certainly still apply to moms of young kids today!
- I am not an octopus! Wearing my baby enabled me to have free hands to answer the phone, type up a proposal and comfort my baby simultaneously.
- Babywearing also left a hand free to grab the two or five year old running around the house, before they fell and hit their head.
- Wearing my youngest allowed me to push the double stroller that held my two older boys while I ran through the office supply store because my printer was out of ink.
- Maybe the makers of Motrin don’t realize, but some babies won’t sleep or stop crying unless being held. I have never been able to stand listening to a child cry just because they want to be held. Wearing my baby allowed me to hold them and still accomplish the things that needed to be done.
- Don’t you know that babywearing allows you to make faces at your sweet child while sitting on a conference call?
- Having the 17 lb baby in a sling is much easier on my back than heaving him onto my hip ever was!
- As mamas, even as WAH ones, we still are hard on ourselves. Admit it, you are. So, being able to keep your baby/toddler close to your chest and still doing what you do to make a living is very freeing (from a guilt standpoint).
- Wearing your baby hides the spit up stains on your shirt, especially if you strategically place the shoulder strap. Hey, you never know where you might run into your next client, customer, employer!
- Having a hand free for the cup of (insert your caffeinated beverage here) that keeps us conscious to get through our day.
- If you are in direct sales or any type of business that requires lugging products around, you can load your car and soothe your child at the same time!
- You are sending a message to the world that your priorities are in order- children before career.
- But, you are also sending the important message to our daughters (and nieces, students, etc) that women can be successful at all the roles they play, with a little innovation.
- This is not why (at least not why I wore my babies) but, especially with the dawn of sites selling the wares of WAHM’s like Etsy and Ebay, you can find slings and other baby carriers that are actually fashionable and match your outfit. Just a plus for me 🙂
- Leaves hands free to (fill in the blank with whatever you try to accomplish in a day as a mom, wife, career woman, daughter, sister, friend, did I mention mom?)
- Don’t hate me, but the longer I wore my babies, especially the youngest with whom I gained 56 lbs, the longer I had to lose the belly flubber. Too bad, you can’t wear them when they’re eleven.
In all seriousness, baby wearing is a matter of personal choice and for me, it was a pleasure and something I miss now that my kiddos are older. But, for heaven’s sake, while we all could have written a better ad campaign for this company, we should probably cut the company a little slack since many a mommy has been spared discomfort from carpal tunnel, c-sections, temper tantrum induced headaches and many more aches and pains by popping a Motrin or two. Now, on to the next controversy 🙂
- Make sure everything in your home has a home of its own. Things are much more likely to get put away if everyone knows where the item belongs.
- Have everyone do a sweep of the house before bed to collect any of their belongings and take them to their room.
- When you get out of the shower, wipe it down to reduce soap scum accumulation.
- While the kids are playing in the tub, clean the sink, mirrors and toilet in the bathroom (you’re in there anyway)
- Keep a hand vacuum easily accessible to clean up messes as they occur.
- Let your children help- even little ones can put away their own toys, use a duster, etc.
- Keep a basket or bin near the stairs to hold items that need to go up/down. Make it a habit of emptying the basket on certain days or even better each time you use the steps.
- Fold laundry as you take it out of the dryer.
- Rinse off dishes as you use them and place them in the dishwasher. Then when you have a full load, all you have to do is turn on the dishwasher instead of facing a sink full of dirty dishes at the end of an exhausting day.
- Make certain rooms toy free zones or make the rule that only one toy at a time can be brought in the area. Especially for entry ways or rooms you may have clients come in, this is a way to keep down the clutter and have a presentable space for unexpected guests.
- Keep cleaning wipes in the kitchen and the bathroom so that you can give the counters a quick wipedown when you have a minute.
- Have a place for shoes near the front door. Whether it be a bench that opens for storage, a coat closet, a shoe rack or a basket, have a place where shoes can accumulate without being tripping hazards. In addition, this will make the mad dash out of the house much easier for the child who can never find their shoes!
- Buy furniture with built in storage. Use a dresser to hold craft supplies, an ottoman that opens to hold magazines, etc.
- Speaking of magazines, only keep the current month’s issue. Tear out the articles that interest you and throw the rest of the magazine away. Better yet, give it to someone else and access the articles/recipes/tips you liked online.
- Resist the urge to purchase more stuff. If you are already having trouble keeping up with the items you already have in your home, you don’t need more to keep clean and keep track of.
- Enlist help, whether it be a cleaning lady twice a month or delegating chores to your spouse or older child. You are not responsible for keeping the whole house clean on your own. (or at least you shouldn’t be 🙂
- Encourage each child to use the same cup all day. Am I the only one that tires of washing cups?
- Make your bed every morning. It will make your room look nice and could even encourage you to clean up the rest of the bedroom.
- When you touch an item- put it away. Don’t pick it up and move it somewhere else that is still not where it belongs. Don’t defer- just go to where it belongs and put it away!
- Accept the fact that you can’t be Martha Stewart, Supermom, CEO Extraordinaire and Trophy Wife all at once. In fact, you don’t need to be any of the above. Just be you. And if you’re okay with a few dust bunnies in exchange for more time with your kiddos that is ok! In fact, it is one of the perks of being a WAHM!
When you work from home, whether you have a whole room set aside for your office or a corner of the computer desk in the family room, having an organized workspace is key to productivity. Often we have to grab moments to work between carpools, naps, making meals and doing laundry. If you have to waste time looking for things and finding a pen you are not going to accomplish as much as you could if you have organized systems in place. Here are ten easy steps to get you on your way to streamlined systems:
- Set aside time each day to file papers. Avoid allowing paper to accumulate. Remember, piles are not your friend!
- Keep an extra printer cartridge on hand, as well as other office supplies to avoid not having the item you need to complete a project.
- Work when you are at your best.
- Turn off email alerts, Twitter and other distractions when you are trying to accomplish a task. Multi-tasking is a gift but it is not conducive to turning out quality work.
- Have a dependable back-up plan. If you are working on a deadline than have someone you can call to help you out with the kids if one becomes sick. Often, this can be a swap type situation with another WAHM.
- Be selective about the things you commit your time to. People often assume that because you work from home you are available for every volunteer event, PTA committee and playgroup. And, it is tempting since you make your own schedule to succumb to the desire to be involved in everything. But, you can only be spread so thin before both your parenting and your career will suffer.
- Schedule your work time, play time, house cleaning time, etc. If it isn’t on your radar screen, there is a good chance it will not get done.
- Cut yourself some slack! You will not get everything done all the time. Sometimes work will have to come first, most of the time your kids and significant other will need to come first. In the end, it will balance out.
- Take care of you. Being all things to all people can leave a mama stressed and tired. Do things that rejuvenate you- get a manicure, go for a run, treat yourself to a latte. Whatever takes care of you- make time for it!
- Pat yourself on the back. WAHM’s have their feet in both worlds, the SAHM world and the career world, without the benefit of separating the two. Work never leaves because your work is at home and it is hard not to look at all the laundry and dishes when your office is across from the kitchen. Give yourself credit for all the things you accomplish on a daily basis and remember there is always tomorrow for the things that still need to be done.