#18 Setting boundaries when working from home with (and without) kids

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Hello mama friends welcome back to this week’s episode of the Mama Gets it Done Podcast. Are you struggling with setting boundaries while you’re working from home? or with your kiddos or setting boundaries from working from home in general.

Listen, because I’ve got all the tips for you as a working from home mom, who has been here with kids for the past several years. So let’s go. Are you ready to be more productive in your home and say goodbye to the dreaded mom guilt associated with a messy house and chaotic days.

Hey, my name is Rachel and the Mama Gets it Done Podcast is for the everyday mom yes even those not mess moms who just need a little grace and a few tips for getting more done in your day. If you’re ready to figure out how to stop hating cooking every night, how to give chaotic days a little more structure and how to find more time for you in this crazy mom life you are in the right place.

Hello, mama friends. Welcome back to the mama get done podcast. This week we’re talking all about how to set boundaries when working from home with kids, or maybe just like remote working home in general. Your kids don’t have to be home all the time for these to be applicable. I can tell you that working from home is something that was very hard for me at first. It definitely took a lot of learning and a lot of strategizing to figure out what worked for me to make me actually productive at home.

So if you have your own business or if you just work from home in general, these tips are going to be so so helpful. I can tell you so many times when I have wasted weeks of time because I have not set the boundaries that I need to make myself productive.

Your kids can work with boundaries. Now when their tny tiny and they don’t understand that’s a little different. But once your kids are old enough to understand, you can set up boundaries so that you can actually be productive at home.

I have gotten to the point now where I can run this business with usually only working 20 ish hours a week and we do super well. And I can have my kids at home most of the time and still get things done. So we’re going to talk about setting those boundaries so that you can do this too. And we’re gonna hopefully cut back a little bit of that stress you might be feeling with having them at home right now.

The number one tip that I give to any mom who is trying to work from home, whether you have kids at home or not is going to designate a workspace. This is it could be a desk, it could be your kitchen table. It could be your bed for all I care probably not your bed because I feel like it’s a little bit too comfy but designating some kind of workspace that tells your brain Hey, it’s work time, no matter where it is. Maybe it’s the action of sitting down with your computer in the space. Maybe it’s actually sitting down with your notebook or workbook in this place or whatever you’re doing at that moment. But you need a clear space for work.

You can totally do this in a small space. You do not, please do not think you need a desk. It really can work just at the kitchen table. But you have to make sure the environment you’re making your environment like a work-friendly environment.

Now obviously this is hard with kids. We’re going to talk about more strategies as we go on and how to set boundaries with that but this is a boundary that you can set for yourself that this is my workspace. And when you’re not in that space, you do not have to be working because sometimes your boundaries are needed for different reasons right sometimes we need boundaries because we overwork.

I have also been in that position. I’ve totally been the person who is working every waking minute because I feel like I have to get all of these things done and I burn myself out easily. I absolutely did that over the last month.

I like didn’t even realize it until literally yesterday I was like wait a second. I stopped working in the hours that I’m supposed to be working I started working just all the time because I got really excited about this new project. And I was like and I’ve kind of killed myself. I’ve kind of made myself not productive at all in general. Because I’m so tired and stressed out all the time because I’m working so much. I’ll argue like that. If you can work four hours three to four hours in a day. You’ll get way more done than if you work eight hours in a day, which I know sounds crazy. But that’s what I’m going to argue and if you have the capability to do that. If you’re not if you’re working for yourself and not for somebody else.

Try it out because I’m telling you it’s insanity how much more I get done only working 4 hour stints versus 8-hour stints. It’s crazy.

Okay, so we kind of veered off but yeah, designate that workspace. The next one is going to be to instate a routine that everyone knows about. This is not just a you routine. This is something that everyone knows. Everyone follows. That way everybody knows at every moment of the day, what is expected of them. They don’t have to come and ask you.

So you might be you might have like a routine or schedule on the wall. You might share it in an app if your kids are old enough to be on devices. Whatever way you decide, but make sure that everyone knows what’s going on. Everyone knows when mommy is working and everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing when mommy is working basically, and in the other hours because this can help all day long.

This helps set boundaries around your time so that everybody knows exactly what’s supposed to be happening. Now for littler kids. Obviously, this can be more difficult. So for little kids, I really like to encourage using a visual cue for when you’re working and when you’re not working. When my kids were younger and even now because I still have a younger kiddo.

One of them I used to do what I called my work tiara when I knew they were good. And they had snack and they were fed and they should be good just playing with their own toys. I would say okay, Mommy’s gonna work now I’m going to put on my work tiara and I’d literally put on one of my daughter’s tiaras. Be like this my work tiara. We’re not allowed to talk to Mommy, we’re not we’re gonna play on your own right now until mommy takes off and tiara and that’s what we’re gonna do.

This can also help if you have a really big-timer that’s counting down to when they can come to talk you don’t make it forever get 20 minutes or something. But that gives you the 20 minutes stints that you can do work. Obviously, you have to stop and talk to your kids. But that sets a boundary and then gives them the expectation of when they can actually get the things they want to ask you about or talk to you about or consider later. And I just kind of zoomed into the next one with that using a Pomodoro timer for both of you was the next step.

The Pomodoro timer is 20 minutes working and five minutes or five-minute breaks and then going back and forth or something like that. Obviously, if your kids are younger and you need to coordinate you can but shorter than 15 minutes I don’t know how much you actually get done. I’m a really big proponent of breaking up your tasks into 15-minute increments, so say you have a very large task, break it up into things that only take 15 minutes at a time so that you can grab them when you need so that when you do go to this kind of method, you know exactly what you should be doing every step of the way to get things done and you actually feel like you’re crossing things off throughout your list or throughout your day. But using some kind of timer method is an excellent visual cue for kids. And it helps you take stock and take breaks as well.

My next tip for setting boundaries when you’re working at home with kids is that if it gets too overwhelming and even when you’ve followed all these steps and you tried to set the boundaries and you done everything you can and you still can’t get anything done. Then maybe the new boundary is is that you only work when your kids are asleep. Or you only work when you have somebody else to help take care of the kids. Because your sanity is worth something like you can only do so much you are human and your kids are gonna have days and sometimes this isn’t an everyday thing, right? Kids do great sometimes and some days they just need their mom. And that’s okay.

So making sure to acknowledge that some days this isn’t going to work and taking a step back and saying okay, I’m gonna have to wait we’re gonna have to make my work time when we go to sleep. That’s just gonna have to work today. But also please make sure to get enough rest. I know. That sounds like a million contradictions, all in one, but it’s part of being flexible. As a mom and working from home and knowing like your boundaries. So that is another boundary you set for yourself is the boundary of when I feel insane. I stop and I just go hang out with my kids. And I do what I need to do to make them happy

because honestly like they’re more important than your work or at least most of the time. Sometimes we have to like flip what’s important, but if your kids are having a rough day, they usually need their mom right. And just one more tip that I’m going to add on here that isn’t really about setting boundaries, but it is a tip for working from home.

Don’t be too afraid of tablet time while tablet time sometimes does make my kids little Gremlins when it’s a random snow day that they have off and I have a big project I have to do. Sometimes a day with tablet with extra tablet time. It’s just what they need and when I need to get by. And that’s okay. One day of extra tablet time isn’t going to be the end of the world. There are all kinds of actual educational things that we can use on tablets to make it work your while. My son anymore we have a preschool slash kindergarten learning app that he does and he would much rather play that game versus watch YouTube when he’s had when we’ve had those days where we’ve had to do more tablet time than normal.

So making sure that you have an array of different apps on the iPads that have educational things as well. And put you know, put a timer on some apps and not others. That’s usually our work around is like yeah, you’ve been two hours with the video today. But after that’s done, you can go do all these other games on your apps on your iPad. That’s super fun. That’s just a hot tip that like just gets us by on those really struggle bus days that you hit I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of the Mama Gets it Done Podcast. I love talking about working from home because you know, it’s my life. If you enjoyed this episode, leave us a review. Subscribe it’s massively helpful to the show. Give yourself a little bit of grace and a whole lot of coffee this week. Bye.

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