Many people wonder how my day looks as a work from home, homeschooling, special needs mom. To be honest, I’m not even sure how I manage it all. Working from home is time consuming when you’re still parenting at the same time. Homeschooling takes time and planning. Special needs parenting is, well exhausting. Throw the three of them together and there is a lot packed into one day. Oh, and then there is the all important thing of self care.
That being said, working from home offers great flexibility and is really gratifying. It truly is a perfect fit for many homeschooling and special needs families. The trick is making it all work together. My best tip is at the end, so keep reading. 🙂
So what does my typical day look like for as a homeschooling/work from home mom? Well, first I’m not sure there is a typical day! Each day is a little different, but we try to keep to a general routine.
Reality of Working From Home
I’ve been a mom for 8 1/2 years. It’s just in the last 13 months that I have been exclusively a work from home mom. Up until that point I was working outside the home. Life was stressful when I worked outside the home, especially being a special needs mom and trying to work my schedule around doctor/therapy appointments.
Working from home however brings on it’s own set of demands. Not only are you trying to be productive while working from home, you have kids interrupting all the time. Luckily for me, this blogging gig means that I’m my own boss. I don’t need to be working during a set number of hours and have a lot of flexibility! Flexibility is key!
We Don’t Use a Schedule
I don’t schedule my day in the sense of having a specific block of time for each class. Grasshopper and I would both go crazy in that scenario. I’ve learned I need to be flexible in our school day. Grasshopper needs breaks during our school time (because of his ADHD). He also needs extra time some days with lessons he’s struggling with (because of his dyslexia). No two days are the same when it comes to his needs in these areas.
If I had a written out schedule, I know I would be placing unneeded stress on myself to stick to the schedule. I would also be putting stress on Grasshopper to finish his lessons within the block of time. Children can’t learn well under that kind of pressure. A strict schedule would bring on melt downs. I know for some families the schedule works, but it doesn’t for us.
Keeping a Routine
Just because we don’t have a schedule day, doesn’t mean we don’t go by a routine. Again, the key word here is flexible! Usually we start our day by bringing Ladybug to her therapy appointments 8am Monday-Thursday. Currently however, we are taking a therapy break so we’re skipping the one part of our day that’s scheduled (more flexibility).
When we’re keeping to Ladybug’s therapy routine, we begin our homeschool day as soon as we get home from dropping her off at school. Now however, we’re a little more relaxed in the morning until about 9ish. Here is how our routine is currently working.
Starting Our Day
I’ve come to love having a little time in the morning before school to get some work done. Grasshopper also loves to have some screen time right away. Since I’ve also learned that Grasshopper will not want to practice piano after school, he practices after breakfast and plays some video games after practicing. While he is doing those things, I work for an hour or so in the morning sending emails, networking and other non-writing tasks associated with blogging.
The School Day
When it’s time to end video game time (usually about half an hour), we start out homeschool day. We begin with devotions and read aloud time. Then it’s time to move on to the various subjects.
Being Grasshopper needs frequent breaks in our school day, we usually do 2 or 3 subjects before he gets a 15 minute break. He uses the break to play legos or snap circuits. Sometimes he’ll work on an art project. I use these breaks to check various social media sites and email. Again taking a few minutes to work on the non-writing aspects of blogging. Or, sometimes I use the breaks to get some household chores done like fold laundry.
Many days we will be done with school around lunch time. If we’re not done by lunch we probably only have one or two subjects left which we finish quickly after lunch.
Afternoon=Work From Home
My number one priority as a work from home mom is my children. I like to make sure the school day is done before I put on my “working mom” hat. During the afternoon Grasshopper goes back to playing with toys. He usually is allowed some more screen time here too. This is also the time I do the bulk of my work. I write, research, and read during the afternoon. This isn’t something I do everyday, some days are used for housework.
I try my hardest to wrap things up before Ladybug gets home from school, but it doesn’t always happen. In fact, I’m writing this on a day public school was let out early due to the weather (remember what I was saying about flexibility). She’s at home quietly playing on the floor (which is nothing short of a miracle) as I’m typing. (if you don’t know our story, Ladybug still attends public school because of her level of special needs, you can read about it here.)
Before you know it my husband is home from work. Hopefully by then I’m done with what I needed to accomplish for the day on the work front. If not, I usually am within a half an hour (by 5ish). Then it’s back to wife/mom mode. I move on to the typical mom duties of fixing supper, getting the kids washed up, and handle the bedtime routine.
No Working After Bedtime.
As I’ve fully embraced the lifestyle of a work from home mom, one thing I’ve learned is to protect my down time. It is so very easy to want to take advantage of the fact that the kids are in bed. It’s easy to want to catch up on things that need to be done around the house, get another post written, or research another curriculum. The problem with using this time to work is that you don’t have any time left for self care.
Self care is so important. If we don’t make it a priority it will never happen. Plus, our spouses need and deserve our time as well. So when the kids go to bed, my husband and I also stop working for the night. Sometimes the dishes are left undone, but those dirty dishes will still be there tomorrow. There is always something I could be doing. But, the time we should take to invest in our relationship or practice some self care will not still be there tomorrow.
Some nights we each do what we need to do as individuals in the area of self care. We have very different personalities, so the definition of self care is different for each of us. Other nights we have an at home date night.