From the time I was a little girl, I dreamed of becoming a writer. Fast forward to adulthood. I got married, taught elementary school, had two kids, and forgot the dream.
Two years ago my husband and I were both working full time and enjoying the empty nest lifestyle. And then my daughter dropped a bombshell. She was pregnant.
After being empty nesters for exactly 364 days, our 19-year-old daughter moved back home. Life was good, and I was getting the itch to retire after 30 years in public education.
With the impending birth of our first grandchild, I wanted to retire and stay home to care for the baby. That way our daughter could work and finish college. I convinced my husband to go along with the plan.
And then a new plan slowly hatched. That childhood dream surfaced after all those long years. I wanted to become a writer.
So, February 1, 2017, I officially retired and began to pursue my dream. And precious Eli was born the end of March that year.
I’d start my new career with all the spare time I’d have staying home with my grandson.
Wow. Was I in for a surprise!
It had been 20 years since my last child was born, so I’d forgotten what it’s like to have a newborn in the house. And I’m a lot older now, lol.
Even though it’s been hard starting a writing career while caring for a child, I’m making it work.
Want to discover the secrets to successfully working from home with kids in the house? I’ve got a few tips to share.
Writing Tips from a Full Time Grandmother and Writer
Make a Plan
I started out just winging each day as it came. Big mistake if you want to get anything accomplished besides feeding yourself and the kids. You need some type of structure and plan to be productive.
First, create goals for your business. Once you’ve got a few goals written down, it’s important to break them down into actionable tasks. Then schedule them out into quarters, months, and weeks. Check out this simple process for getting organized once and for all.
Next, plan out a daily schedule. Use large blocks of time instead of small units of time like many planners do.
- For example, after breakfast I have a block of time scheduled for play and educational activities. This is one-on-one time for Eli and me.
- The next block of time is for independent play. I set up busy bags and other independent activities for Eli. Then I work close by on small business tasks.
- After lunch is nap time. This block on the schedule is for larger projects that require more concentration. (If your child doesn’t take naps anymore, schedule quiet time for him/her. Perhaps a movie or reading time. Or quiet play time in their room.)
- After nap time is more one-on-one time.
- After dinner, when my daughter picks up Eli, I spend time with my husband.
- Then back to work until bedtime. Does it always work out like the schedule says? Nope. But that’s okay. You have to be flexible to work at home with kids.With a to-do list of your work-related tasks, sort them into categories by the length of time they’ll take to complete. Make separate lists for items that take 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, and longer. When you have blocks of time to work, grab the appropriate list and get started. You’ll waste far less time if you have a plan in place.
Rethink Your Priorities
Regardless what you may think, you can’t do everything. It was hard enough before the kids came along. So, it’s time to let go of perfectionism and rethink your priorities.
- Do the floors really need to be vacuumed and mopped every day? Would once or twice a week be enough? Let go of at least some of your before-I-had-kids high standards. Be realistic about what you can do with the time you’ve got. Any time saved from doing less-than-perfect housework can be spent with the children or getting work done.
- Schedule only one household chore each day. Either schedule a different task for each day or keep a running checklist to see what one task to do next.
- Will the family perish without gourmet food at each meal? Probably not. Go for healthy but simple. And think about splurging for one take-out meal a week. Pizza anyone?
- If you swore off electronics for your children, reconsider. Limited TV or electronics time means a break for them and quiet time for you to work. (Grab that list I mentioned before.) It really won’t mess them up for life. And there are lots of educational videos and apps. Just search online.
Have your husband help out some evenings or a few hours during the weekend. No husband or he’s not willing? Check with a grandparent or aunt and uncle. If this isn’t possible, try one of these ideas.
- See if there are any Mother’s Day Out Programs in your community.
- Team up with a friend and care for each others’ kids an afternoon a week to get in some extra work time.
- Hire a teenage babysitter to come play with the kids for a few hours while you work. They’ll love having a playmate other than you for a change.
Dare to Dream
Whatever you do, don’t quit on your dream. You deserve to be happy. And you’re setting a good example for your children when they see you working and accomplishing your dreams.
You can successfully work from home with kids in the house. I’m doing it right now. And trust me. If I can be a full time grandmother and writer, you can do it too.
I’m finally realizing my childhood dream of writing. And it feels wonderful. That’s what I want for you.
Do you want to kick-start your writing life after reading this? Join our FREE Writing Challenge: Write 3K in 3 Days.
You might also benefit from our online Grammar Refresher Course.
So what next step will you take to pursue your dream of writing? Do you have any tips for us? Please let us know in the comments.
Kristi Veitenheimer is a retired educator who loves to blog and write. She is passionate about helping overwhelmed mompreneurs learn how to run and grow their online mom businesses like a CEO while raising kids. Topics on the blog include time management and mindset growth. When she’s not writing, you can find Kristi at home in Texas with her husband, two children, and the sweetest grandsons on the planet. Connect with her at yourmombiz.com and pinterest.com/yourmombiz.