By Victoria Osborn, Contributing Writer
I’m a blogger but first and foremost, I’m a wife and mother. I run a business out of my home which, as any other WAHM will tell you, can get kind of tricky sometimes.
There’s a fine line between “work hours” and “real life hours” and if I’m being completely honest, many times they intersect. For one thing my three young children aren’t school age so they are always around. And then there is the reality of working in your home so you are constantly distracted by all the housework, laundry and other projects calling out to you.
There are those few precious days where I get to escape to a nearby coffee shop or library to have uninterrupted work and writing time but those are few and far between. Most of my work happens right in the midst of our busy home, noises and all.
I’m constantly getting comments on my blog or emails wondering how in the world I’m running a blog and managing a home with three young children? Some days I do better than others but for the most part I’m just doing the very best I can with the hours I have available to me.
We all have only 24 hours in a day, no matter what sort of profession you have. When you subtract the 7 to 9 hours to sleep you are only left with 17-15 hours. How you use those hours is important. So how about a peek into how I use my hours?
A Peek Into My Day
I am a morning person so I love waking up early. I am most productive earlier in the day so I try to get the bulk of my work done in those early hours.
With that said, I make it a priority to wake up early around 5:00 am. My morning hours are dedicated only to Bible time and writing, all other computer related tasks can wait until later in the day.
It is important that before I even open my laptop to start writing, I spend some time reading the Bible and having a devotional time. I keep a notebook nearby so I can write down any work related thoughts that might pop into my head to keep me from getting distracted.
One of my current goals is to write 500 words a day, which some days that is a lot harder than you might think! So after I finish my quiet time, I just start writing. I have a huge collection of blog post drafts, some may never be published. As soon as I get an idea for a post, I start a basic draft with a working title, and any highlights or notes.
Some mornings I will pick one of these drafts and just start writing or I will start a new draft altogether. The main point is that I am making myself disciplined to write every single day. I don’t edit or worry about graphics or photos during this time. My thoughts are usually more focused and clear in the early hours, this is the dedicated time where I write.
If I have an early morning riser, I will let them watch PBS or if my husband is still home, he will fix their breakfast. My husband and I have made it a priority for me to have my morning hours before the breakfast routine begins.
When my kids are up, it’s time for me to switch to Mom mode so I’m rarely doing any work between breakfast and lunchtime. I even have what I like to call the kitchen counter hours when my phone is out of the way so I’m not tempted to constantly check it.
After the kitchen is cleaned and the kids are dressed and settled with their morning activity I may hop on the computer to check on a few things. If I do, it’s usually only for a few minutes. I’ve learned when my kids are up, I’m not very productive with work so I keep my focus on them during this time.
We usually do some at-home preschool activities, play outside or run errands together. A few mornings a week my older two do go to preschool for a few hours, but I still have my youngest at home with me.
After lunch my youngest goes down for a nap, most days he still sleeps for about 2 hours! My older two have quiet time. Most days they play happily (and quietly!) in their room. Some days I will let them watch a movie on the couch. They know this is a special treat so they stay on the couch and watch very quietly.
These 2 hours are my main work hours during the day so I have to be focused and prioritize what’s important to finish up. I usually check email, edit photos, finish writing and editing, or work on any other projects needing to be finished.
Since I prefer to wake up so early, I’m usually pretty worthless at night so I don’t actually do a whole lot of computer work once the kids go to bed.
I will moderate comments, check in on social media, schedule any posts for the next day or catch up on reading some of my favorite blogs. For the most part though, I try to fill myself up by reading and spending time catching up with my husband.
Dedicated Work Days
I am spoiled in the sense that both sets of grandmothers live nearby, and I defiently take advantage of it! One afternoon the kids go to one grandmother’s house and then one day a week the other grandmother comes to our house to spend the day.
These precious hours are when I get the bulk of my writing projects done since I have several hours of work time.
I will sit down and draft all upcoming blog posts, work on future projects, edit photos or do site maintenance. My big goal is to have all of the next week’s posts written, edited and scheduled by Friday afternoon, this also includes the bulk of my social media posts too. Currently I’m about 75% in completing this goal every week but we are getting there!
3 Key things I have learned as a Work-At-Home-Mom & Blogger
Managing expectations vs. reality
This is probably the hardest things for me to do!
I have so many ideas, goals, dreams and visions of where I want to take my blog and business BUT I also have to remember I am a wife and mother to three young children first. We are exiting the baby years, my youngest is now 16 months, so for the previous years my time was very limited.
I have a home to care for and my relationship with my husband to continue to cultivate. My children are only young once and they are growing faster than I like (it hit me recently my oldest will be starting Kindergarten in a few months and I am in complete denial about that!).
The reality is I am in a season where my expectations might not match what is realistic for me to focus on and complete when it comes to working.
I have learned to be OK with that. It’s not easy and sometimes I do still find myself getting frustrated that I’m not doing more, especially when I compare myself to other bloggers (big mistake by the way!).
When I find myself getting frustrated or getting lost in the comparison game, I have to remind myself what is important in light of eternity. My family, growing closer to God, discipling our children, creating a home that loves and give life… those are the most important things to me.
Prioritizing what’s important
Outside of knowing what’s important to me as I mentioned above, when I do have the time to sit down and work, I have to prioritize the most important tasks. Knowing where I want, and need to, focus my attention is key!
Writing is important to me. I can’t have a growing blog or publish books if I’m not writing.
Spending time on Facebook and Pinterest is important but not as important as the actual writing part. This is why I spend my best working hours writing and not getting lost in the blackhole of social media.
Taking time to care for myself is so important. Working out, eating healthy, reading, making time for friendships and serving in my church all fuel me up. It’s easy to make excuses not to do these things, especially when time is so valuable, but when I am not being good at practicing self-care, I usually have no energy or motivation to write or complete other projects.
Along with taking care of myself, the single most important thing is daily spending time in God’s Word and growing my faith through prayer, Bible study and reading books that draw me closer to Him. If I don’t have time to read the Bible then my priorities are really out of check.
So there you have it… A peek into what my days look like as a work-at-home blogging Mama and how I “get it all done” (in case you haven’t figured it out yet… I don’t!)
How do you balance your time between motherhood and work?