Every mom is a working mom.
After three children, I believe that whole-heartedly.
But what if you want to add to that workload with a side hustle or full-time venture? What do you need? What things have to change?
There are plenty of answers to those questions because there are plenty of variables. Working from home could look totally different to you then it does me.
But I think the general population would agree, all working moms could use a few extra hours in a day.
While I can’t provide longer days, I can offer some essentials for work-at-home moms that have helped to streamline my days and make them feel longer.
Breaking the day into four parts, I will list the things I can’t live without and the items that keep our family running while this mom runs three businesses from home.
(I sometimes include affiliate links, which means I might make a small commission off any purchases you make, at no additional cost to you. You can read my full disclosure here or at the end of this post.)
Starting the Day
Whether or not you are a morning person, how you start your day is important.
It can make or break your productivity.
I, for one, am not a morning person but I have found a few tips that have really helped make my mornings successful.
I never used to be a coffee drinker. Something about my addicted friends kept me from ever liking it. haha
But when I wanted to focus on starting my days early, I knew I needed some help.
Thankfully, a friend had just given us his Keurig, or else this might not have worked. (I’m not a morning person, remember?)
Keurigs make coffee fast, and having something fast is key. Not to mention I never drink more than a cup a day, so a Keurig works very well for me.
I cannot stress this essential enough.
I never have to reheat my coffee even though I take several hours to drink a single cup.
That’s because I always drink my coffee in my Yeti. Or a similar mug.
I love to sip on my coffee throughout my morning as I’m getting my day started, and it stays the perfect temperature for me.
What mom has time to constantly reheat her coffee? Not this mom. Besides, I’d be forgetting it in the microwave, anyway.
Energy (the natural way!)
If you are not a coffee drinker, I get it. And you don’t have to be to get the same energy and focus throughout the day.
I started taking this product mid-afternoons for that much-needed boost to finish my workday strong and I’m telling you, I love this stuff!
I feel more focused when I take it and never have a crash afterward. Plus—and it’s a big plus—this does not make my heart race or leave me jittery.
I’ve always had an aversion to energy products for the above reasons, but this product uses natural energy and one tablet gets me through the day beautifully.
If you struggle with your energy levels or staying focused, you need to give Energy a try!
This one is just as vital to the success of my morning as the coffee is to my getting out of bed.
I know I need to work out a few times a week, but I just do not want to devote 30 minutes of my morning to it.
Not when I can work out in half that time and still get the results I want.
So I found a workout I love and knowing it’ll take only a few minutes out of my morning keeps me faithful to it
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, they say.
But for night owls like myself, it’s hard enough getting out of bed at a decent time. It took a while for my body to even wake up enough for breakfast.
But after my skin cancer diagnosis, I knew I needed to be serious about my nutrition.
After some research, I settled on a Nutribullet for my breakfast needs. I can honestly say, this has been a game-changer.
A handful of spinach, some frozen fruit, chia seeds and almond milk are my morning staples.
It takes only a couple mins to throw together, 30 seconds to blend and cleanup is a breeze.
The nutrition I get from my drinks keeps me going all day and keeps me healthy.
I have tried blenders and juicers but my Nutribullet is far superior in both performance and convenience.
When you have long hair as I do, you really have to commit time to wash, dry, and styling it.
I wash my hair twice a week and that’s the perfect amount for me. Occasionally, my hair requires some attention between washes.
When it does, I rely on dry shampoo. I love this stuff! With minor effort, my hair looks fresh and ready for the day.
(If you run out and need some touchup, a little cornstarch works great, too.)
Getting the kids on Their Way
If you have been a mom for any length of time, you know there are so many working parts when kids live with you.
If you do not have a good handle on things, life can feel like it’s unraveling fast.
That’s why I’m including this section.
Because if your morning is a wreck, you will not get much done once everyone leaves for the day.
My kids make their own lunches now (SO nice!) but these lunch containers have made it so much easier for them.
Having everything together keeps mornings organized and lunchtimes easier at school.
When they get home, they can wash them real quick or throw them in the dishwasher. And there’s little waste involved.
With five people in our house, all going in different directions, we need some way of keeping our lives organized.
Our dry erase calendar is an essential. We refer to it several times a day and update it often.
With having your month/week/day written out, everyone stays on the same page and fewer things fall through the crack.
I am more of a “winging it” kind of person, but there are three in our family who are not. A command center keeps our family in harmony. 🙂
If your kids are heading off to school, they’re old enough for daily chores.
No mom should have to shoulder the entire weight of a home, even if you aren’t working on the side.
Kids need to feel like they are valuable assets to the family structure and giving them chore charts allows them to feel successful at the end of the day.
Everyone likes that feeling.
And many hands make light work. Which is vital when you have a full schedule on your plate.
(Or if you’d like a free printable chore chart, get one here!)
For Your Work Hours
By this time, I’m assuming you have the house semi to yourself.
Or you may still have a child at home, or maybe it’s summer and everyone is home.
Whatever the case, these will help you get the most out of the time you have available.
Remember how I said I prefer to wing it?
That doesn’t work well when you have three businesses separate from each other.
Keeping my work schedule planned is a must. I have found I am more productive when I have a list and can see in writing what I need to have done that day.
The one downside to working from home is dealing with distractions.
Whether they are cute distractions (husband, kids) or frustrating ones (loud neighbors), you will need something to help.
I keep two headsets in my office, one for listening to audio on my computer and another for noise cancellation.
These are must-haves for me since I do not have a door (yet) on my office.
I sit at a desk for upwards of 8 hours a day, plus two hours in a car driving to and from school.
My morning workouts are great, but sometimes I need something to get me moving during the day.
I set an hourly timer while I’m working and when it goes off I find a catchy tune on YouTube and jump until the song ends.
You might not think so, but there is a sizeable difference in my productivity on the days I jump and the ones I don’t.
And my trampoline folds, which makes it perfect for storing in compact spaces.
Some days, I get to my computer and my brain has no intention of joining me.
Having these focus oils have been so nice.
Because no one wants to put in hours of work only to feel you accomplished nothing.
Having a little extra boost makes all the difference in the world.
One of the daily changes I have made is to drink more water.
This single change has done more for my shape, my health and my brain fog.
It really is amazing how being dehydrated effects so many areas of our lives.
So I keep a water bottle on my desk every day and when I stop to jump, I take time to drink several ounces.
This has been so helpful in getting my daily amount in.
Tip: We started adding Boost to our water every day, and now none of us struggle to get our water in! In fact, my kids love it so much they never let me forget to order more when we are getting low. And it’s boosting our immunity in a great way.
After Work Hours
You’ve put in a good few hours of work, now everyone is heading home and there’s dinner to think about.
If you can’t afford takeout or a personal chef, this will probably fall to you, since you’re the one already home.
No biggie, these items give me more time in my office and less in the kitchen.
Slow Cookers have been my friend since I learned how to use one.
I do not enjoy cooking much, especially when I am busy with work things.
It’s so nice to just dump in some food in the morning and by the time I’m wrapping up my workday, dinner is all ready to go.
Of course, there are those days when I forget to start dinner in the morning and then my Instant Pot is my new best friend.
If you have yet to join the circle of mothers who love their Instant Pot, you really need to try one for yourself.
It really has saved my dinner plans countless times, and it’s versatile, too.
Let me preface this by saying I am not a huge fan of digital items.
I am more of an old-fashioned kind of girl.
But my husband and kids are not and they love to take advantage of all the perks Alexa has to offer.
The reason I added this to my list is that when you are busy getting dinner done, she can be an actual help with grocery lists, to-do’s and all the other hands-free help she offers.
My husband loves having her in the garage to keep measurements, lists, and to play music and audiobooks.
I added this section because there are a few things that would make any work day more effective, but they’re costly.
I have some of these things already and hope to own the others one day.
My husband bought a used one for my birthday this year, and I was ecstatic.
Being able to work from anywhere has been so amazing and has upped my productivity.
A plus is the amount of time my kids spend on it, designing and creating.
I love that it’s getting so much use. It’s truly been a great purchase.
Sitting all day is not good for anyone’s health and I would very much love to have the option of not having to sit.
Now if they could just make one with a farmhouse style…
One day I will own one of these.
And then I won’t have to take time out of my schedule to work out.
And I won’t have to sit for lengthy periods of time wishing I can work and move at the same time.
Until then, I will work hard, save up and buy it as a reward for all that hard work. 🙂
I am most passionate about mothers getting the opportunity to work from home, but I know it takes some adjusting.
This list of essentials is not conclusive, but it’s a great start. I hope you’ve found a few to try and I wish for you easier and more productive workdays!
If you have any questions, feel free to add them in the comments below.
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About the author
Kimberly McGraw is the founder of Life Worth the Living, a blog focused on helping mothers live their best life. Her desire is to help moms find purpose in who they are as a person, not just as a mom. Life Worth the Living has been featured in Making Sense of Cents, Outwit Trade and Believe and Create.