For Moms

How to Make Time for Yourself When You’re a Busy Work-at-home Mom

Being a mom is not an easy job. Between caring for children and juggling housework, there’s a lot that needs to get done in the course of a day.

If you work from home, those responsibilities are multiplied.

While working from home comes with many benefits, especially when you’re a mom, it can also be a double-edged sword.

While you have more time to spend with your kids, you’re also forced to squeeze work into your day. Things can seem like a constant balancing act.

One thing that often gets lost in the shuffle is time just for you.

One of the biggest challenges that many work from home moms face is that every spare, quiet moment is set aside for work.

While getting uninterrupted time for work is important, it’s also easy to experience burnout if you never have any free time for your relaxation or hobbies.

Getting that free time might seem impossible, but it’s not as difficult as you think. In fact, it’s crucial for your stress levels and mental health.

If you want to avoid burnout, follow these tips to make time for yourself, even when you’re working from home.

Get Up an Hour Earlier (or Stay Up Late)

This is easier said than done, but getting up an hour before your children can be a real sanity-saver.

Taking just one quiet morning hour to yourself where you can drink coffee, pray, exercise, or whatever you need helps you ease into the day and start it with purpose.

Alternatively, you might be a night owl who thrives with staying up later. If that’s true, don’t waste those hours after your kids are in bed.

Be intentional with your time and use it to do something that will recharge your batteries and leave you refreshed for both work and your family duties.

Take Breaks

It’s customary for workers in an office or retail environment to take scheduled breaks throughout the day, so make sure this is a practice you implement for yourself at home.

Allow yourself 15 minutes to take a break from the chores or work that you’re doing and do something that makes you happy.

This could be anything, from cracking open the pages of a good book, to locking yourself in the pantry to eat some chocolate in peace.

Obviously you’ll need to stay close by in case your kids need you, but try and prep them to be involved in an activity for just a few minutes without disturbing you.

Trade Babysitting With Another Mom

Do you have a friend with kids who could also use a break? Try a babysitting swap.

I do this with another mom and it’s a lifesaver. Once a month she watches my kids for a few hours, and the next month I take her kids.

We’ve made a rule between ourselves that we’ll use our free time to do something we enjoy, rather than tackling chores or work. This gives me the added benefit of using her as an accountability partner.

Since I’ve made the commitment with her, I feel obligated to use those hours to relax rather than catch up on my to-do list.

Grocery Shop Alone

Is there a time you can head to the store when your spouse is home with the kids? Take advantage of it and do your shopping alone.

Grocery shopping can easily be one of the most stressful activities of the week if you’re doing it with several kids in tow.

Instead of dreading this chore, leave the kids at home and turn it into alone time for yourself.

I love to shop by myself because it gives me at least an hour to play whatever music I want on the radio in the car, leisurely stroll through the aisles and buy myself a treat without my children clamoring for their own special snack.

Take a Walk

Exercise is so vitally important for your mental health, especially if you’re a work at home mom. It’s tempting to skip it so that you can fit in all your other daily duties, but in my book it’s a must-do.

Don’t think that you need to commit to a serious cardio routine or regular trips to the gym to make this happen.

Even strapping the baby into the stroller and walking around the block does the trick.

While you aren’t exactly alone, a brisk walk in the fresh air is a great stress-reliever, and most kids love to sit quietly in the stroller, giving you a little hands-off time to recollect your thoughts.

Find a Hobby You Can Do at Home

As moms, it’s easy for us to say that we don’t have time for hobbies, but that isn’t necessarily true.

While you might not have hours to go backpacking or wine tasting, consider finding something you could do right from home.

For instance, I love gardening, so that’s a big stress-reliever for me. It gives me something to look forward to doing and I find it easier to make time for it even on busy days because I don’t need to go anywhere to do it.

Ask for Help

Many times as moms we have a preconceived notion that we have to be “supermom” or manage everything ourselves. That’s just not true.

Look at ways you could ask for help from those around you. Communicate your needs with your spouse and figure out ways in which he can help with the kids so you can get some alone time.

You could also consider hiring a babysitter or mother’s helper part-time. At home, make sure your kids are pulling their own weight in an age-appropriate way.

Give them chores to complete, emphasizing that it truly takes the work of everyone in the family to make the household run smoothly.

By delegating different tasks, you’re helping to lighten your own load.

Schedule Time for Yourself

The only way you’re going to really succeed with getting time to yourself is if you write it in your calendar. Seriously.

Schedule alone time for yourself the same way that you would a doctor’s appointment or soccer practice.

Once it’s in writing and thought out ahead of time, you’ll be far more likely to actually stick to the plan.

Making time for yourself is more than just a good idea, it’s a necessity.

While you may not think you have time for it, you’ll likely find that if you make room for rest and relaxation, both your work and your home life run more smoothly.

It isn’t always easy, but it is possible. You’ve got this, mama!

Bridget Sielicki is a busy wife and homeschooling mom of 4. She's been juggling working from home as a freelance writer and raising her kids for the past ten years, but she wouldn't have it any other way. She started The Freelancing Mama to offer support and ideas for other women who want to find a way to work from home while raising their children.

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