October 5, 2022

6 Tips for Work from Home Parents

Working from home alongside your children… it sounds next to impossible, right? 😅 

More and more, people are blending business and parenting by working at home. There are things that I’ve learned (and mistakes I’ve made) from working at home as a parent… and I want to share them in the hopes you can avoid making the same mistakes!

To all of you parents out there trying to make it work, I feel you. I hear you. It is so hard! My desire is to help other people who might be on the same journey we are on.  

Disclaimer: things that I do may not work for you, and things that you do may not work for someone else – and that’s ok! My way isn’t the only way or the best way. We’re all just trying to do our best as business owners and parents. 🌻

So, read on for 6 tips to work from home as a parent!

1. Separate Working and Parenting

Something I learned very early on is that when I was trying to work and parent at the same time, I felt like I wasn’t doing either one very well. I quickly learned that it was best for me to separate the two. 

Meaning, when I was working, I was not with my child. I was focused, and I had to learn to let go of the guilt behind that. We ultimately need to work to pay for everything… so I had to release the guilt, and focus on the work in those work hours.

Simultaneously, when I was with my child, I also had to let go of the guilt that I wasn’t working at that time; I had to be intentional and focused on my child, so we were getting family time outside of work. 👨‍👩‍👧

If you do take anything away from this, if you haven’t yet, I would encourage you to try to separate those two things. The more we can be focused and intentional with our work and our child, separately, the better.

The way I think about it? Our child is observing the things we’re doing throughout the day when we’re with her. I want her to see us leave and go to work, and when we come home, we’re with her – not on our phones and working. That meant setting boundaries so we could focus separately on each thing.

2. Invest in Childcare

When I was attempting to work, I found I needed childcare. That was an investment I decided to make early on, because I didn’t have the capacity to do both at the same time (and if you have figured out how to do both at the same time, that’s ok too!). But for me, I decided that to really focus on work AND to really focus on our daughter, I needed childcare. 

What that looks like is:

  • Every morning, we have breakfast and spend focused family time together.🥞
  • Around 9 am, we have childcare come in
  • we go to the gym, get dressed for the day, and work
  • Our childcare is here until 4 PM, at which time we put work on pause
  • From 4 PM until bedtime, that’s focused time for our family, friends, and for us to just be together –  that means no phone and no computer 💻
  • After bedtime, around 7 or 7:30, we do go back to work if we don’t have social plans or plans together that evening
  • We’ll work for about an hour, and then spend the rest of the evening enjoying time together. 

Additionally, when we have childcare, we ask that time to be focused between the caretaker and our child – not centered around TV and devices, but rather playing and learning. So they’re also working, in a sense, through playing and growing! 🧸

That is the system that has worked well for us. The biggest thing, though, is that I began to understand I needed childcare. I didn’t feel good about putting our child in front of the TV or giving her a device; I wanted her to be playing and have someone focused on her, and if I couldn’t do that, then we needed to hire that out.
Finding good childcare is a whole other topic in and of itself, but having childcare has been the biggest blessing. I know she’s being taken care of while we’re working, and once we’re done, we’re able to focus fully on her. ❤️

3. “Leave” the House

When you have childcare in your home, it can be a little challenging. There is someone in your space, and even though you’re working, you’re still in the home. 🤷🏼‍♀️

The biggest thing for us has been the realization that, now that our daughter’s older, she understands what’s going on. We can’t just be in the house in another room working. It just didn’t work! 

One of the best things we’ve done is that we have started actually leaving the home so that she SEES us departing… and then, we go around to the back of the house into our office. We work for the day, and when we’re done, we go back in through the front at 4 PM and say hello. 😁

It was very hard when she would know we were at the house but didn’t understand why we weren’t playing with her. Especially for young children, it’s very challenging because they don’t understand the concept of working from home (it’s a new concept for us, too!). 

We realized early on we didn’t want her to feel we weren’t paying attention to her, so for us “leaving” the house and saying goodbye, it’s like we’re not there. 
So yes, that does mean we bring water, food, and snacks into the workspace, and we work just as if we’re away from home. And when we’re finished, we go back into the mainspace with our child. It sounds a little funny, but it has really worked for us!

4. Set Clear Expectations with Your Sitter

We decided it was really important for us to trust our sitter. We knew we’d have to provide clear guidelines and expectations for when our daughter is with her caretaker. 

The reason this is so important is because we can “leave” knowing our child is well taken care of.

Another thing we’ve done is we have a group text with our sitter. If I’m on a call or my husband, Brad, is on a call, we can leave the other person to correspond with the sitter if needed while the other one is working.
We also have a shared calendar so we know what each other’s work schedules are at all times. This way, we don’t have overlap and if there is ever an emergency; we make sure one of us is always available for our daughter.

5. Trust Your Gut

One thing I will say about childcare is if, in your gut, you feel like someone is not a good fit for your child, I encourage you to not hesitate about finding someone else!
There are other qualified caretakers out there who will do a good job and who your child will feel comfortable with, so if you’re ever in doubt or have any hesitation, I encourage you to trust that feeling and just find someone else.

6. Release the Guilt

I’ve already mentioned this, but it’s worth saying again: release the guilt and comparisons you feel as a parent and/or business owner. 🌷

I made the disclaimer earlier that I definitely DO NOT CLAIM to know everything as a parent or as a business owner. I’m still learning as I go! So if I’m sharing something now, it could change as I learn and grow. 

We are truly figuring this out, and my desire is to help other people who may be in the same journey that we are. I think the biggest thing for us was understanding I could not work and be a moment in the exact same moments… There needs to be space and separation

When I realized that and blocked out time for each of those two things (and let go of the guilt associated with those), I immediately felt that strong sense of balance in my life. I felt I was no longer being pulled in two directions.

To all of you parents who are trying to figure it out, I see you. I think we’re all just doing the best we can and trying to build a life we love. 

Thank you for giving me the space to share! This post was super vulnerable for me because I feel like I’m opening up myself and what has worked for me to other people… So thank you for reading 🤍

Your Next Steps

As a parent working from home, finances are often on the forefront of our minds. It’s important you feel comfortable with your pricing to know you’re providing for your family. 

Do you ever struggle to price your products? Do you use other people’s pricing without really being sure WHY or if those prices are right for you? 😓

I created my Pricing Guide to help you: 

  • Understand the WHY behind your base prices 
  • Decide what to charge for your photography 
  • Cover your expenses to remain profitable and sustainable 

Check it out below ⤵️

Get the pricing guide!