8 to 6, 7 to 12, 11 to 2…what do these numbers all have in common?

They’re your work hours! Or are they? One of the challenges of working from home is separating home life from work and defining those hours that you are actually working.

I know because I have the same problem.

So, what’s a WAHM to do? The obvious answer is to sit down with the family and let them know that you are setting your work hours from X to X and they are not to disturb you during those hours. After all, you help to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table which you cannot provide if they are constantly interrupting you while you work.

When they stop laughing at you, you’ll need to figure out a more realistic solution. Don’t get me wrong, if your kids are older the above solution is good and may even work. But if you’re like me and have kids under the age of 5, then you have to find another solution.

I’m not talking about daycare. Daycare, to me, is a nice thought but it’s too expensive and since I’m home anyway why would I send them out (even if I could afford it in the first place)?

Which brings me full circle to my original question: how do I set my work hours so I can actually get some work done?

Answer: establish a schedule and stick to it.

Observe when your kids are occupied by themselves, i.e. snack time, play time, nap time, and work while they are doing those activities. Personally, I schedule phone calls and online meetings during nap time which works out well for me. If my son does wake up, then I mute the phone and give him a snack and/or activity to keep him occupied until I’m finished.

If your kids bother you while you’re trying to work anyway, get up off of your chair and play for 10 minutes. You should be taking 10 minute breaks for every hour you’re at the computer anyway, and playing with the kids is a good way to relieve stress and give them the attention that they crave at the same time.

Now, I’m not saying you should give into their demands. You set the time when you will take the break. “Mommy is almost done and when I am, you and I are going to play! But you need to practice your patience.” Can you tell that I say this quit a bit?

If all else fails, wait until they go to bed and work. Personally, I hate working at night because after 5 pm is “me time” and I am unhappy to give it up to work. However, some days are complete disasters and nothing gets done. So, I suck it up and work in the evening instead.

Same goes for the weekends. If I can’t get it done during the week, I’ll work on it during the weekend. You’d be surprised at how fast it goes when you have the incentive of beautiful weather and fun to drive you on.

Nobody’s schedule is going to be the same and it won’t be easy, at least not at first. You have to figure out what works for your family and your job. Admittedly, older kids are easier to work around than younger ones but it can be done with perseverance, flexibility, and a good sense of humor.

Do you have WAHM tips you’d like to share? Please leave a comment!