Distracted mum working from home

Distractions when you’re a Mum Working from Home

Being a Mum working from home is great, no commute, no work wardrobe, no office politics and you’re there if the children come home sick and to attend all the school events. The only trouble with being a Mum working from home are the distractions. There are so many things that can distract you when you’re at home, from unexpected visitors to unfinished housework, it’s a wonder we get anything done. We had a chat with some bloggers who work from home and here are ten things that can distract us when we’re supposed to be working.

Social media

Beth from Twinderelmo  sums this one up. “Facebook stalking. I can quite happily tell you where my school best friends cousins daughter went on holiday last summer and where my neighbours dog goes to get him nails trimmed…”

Babies and Small children

If your trying to work with your children at home then they bring their own host of distractions, as pointed out by Natasha from Mummy and Moose, the sound “Mum mum mum mum mum mum” is pretty much constant.

For Alex from Lamb and Bear, nap refuseniks are the problem “Seriously, if he naps it’s either on me or on the sofa for half an hour. In that time I have to eat, drink, shower, pee, work, get dressed, oh and make sure my eldest is fed, washed, dressed and happy!”

The TV

Tracey from Kids Cruises blames Holly and Phil for distracting her from working but it’s not just daytime TV that’s the problem. For Amy, from Amy and Tots it’s Paw Patrol “I can never turn those dogs off! Its like the children know!” For me, it’s a case of take your pick of TV distractions. The latest show on Netflix, a new box set on demand or the stack of Masterchef on the planner. It all seems far more appealing than working somedays.

Housework

While this is never a problem for me (my husband wishes it was) housework can be a distraction for some. “Like the dryer finishing. I have to empty it, fold, put away or even iron as I hate a big pile. Ends up taking forever” Emily from Babies and Beauty

Other people working from home

Occasionally me husband works from home. I’m thankful it is only occasionally. The first problem is the laptop. While I usually work on my iPad you can guarantee that the day he works from home and needs it, I will too. The other problem is the noise. He needs to make phone calls for work plus he dictates for the secretaries to type up and the noise is sooo distracting.

Interruptions

Research has found that it takes an average of 25 minutes to return to a task following an interruption. So when a mum working from Home opens the door to take a parcel for a neighbour or answers the phone to someone selling double glazing, they don’t just lose the minute that it takes to do the job, but also the 25 minutes it takes to refocus.

Books

As a former librarian I love to read. Unfortunately books can distract me in two ways. If I’m reading a really good novel then the temptation to pick it up during the day when I’m supposed to be working is high. The other problem is that whenever I don’t know something my immediate response it to find a book about it. This inevitably leads to a good hour spent on Amazon reading reviews to choose THE best book, followed by more hours reading the book.

Food

Food is one of my favourite distractions. Bek from Dillydrops says “I seem to have to get cups of tea regularly and snacks.” and I’m just the same. The problem with being a Mum working from home is that when the children are out it’s my chance to eat all the things I don’t want to share with them!

Volunteering (and being volunteered)

One of the great things about being a mum working from home is that you can help out with school events. The trouble is that once people realise you have that flexibility you’re expected to help with everything. It’s difficult to make it clear to people that sometimes, work has to take priority.

Procrastination

And finally, the big one. “Anything and everything – for some reason anything will seem more urgent than work does at the time. Yesterday I felt the need to organise my sons 9-12 month clothes by colour. He’s 7 weeks old I have a hell of a lot of work to do. This is why I can’t work from home.” Kirsty from Life with boys

Want to read more about working from home? Check out what I wish people knew about being a Mum with a business.

Distractions when you’re a work at home mum

Mumpreneur with postnatal depression

Postnatal Depression and Becoming a Mumpreneur

Postnatal depression is a truly horrible thing. It can happen to anyone, whether you’re young or old, have been desperate for a baby or had a surprise pregnancy, has a traumatic birth or an easy one, even Dads can suffer. Becoming a parent is a huge life change and no matter how much you love your new baby (or how much you don’t) it can be a difficult adjustment to make.

I was diagnosed with postnatal depression after my son was born although, looking back, I had been depressed for much of my pregnancy too. I didn’t bond with my bump and I didn’t bond with him when he was born. As a former librarian I read a great deal about anything that’s going on in my life. I knew that not everyone falls head over heals in love with their baby the minute it was born. What I didn’t know was how hard that would make things.

When you give birth you are exhausted beyond anything that you’ve ever experienced before. Then you can’t sleep to recover because the baby needs to be fed. You no longer have any time for yourself (and if you did you’d be too tired to do anything). Everything seems to be about the baby. You also lose your freedom, you can no longer pop out for a walk without huge amounts of preparation. You can no longer make simple decisions for yourself without making sure that you’ve made plans for the baby too. All of this is bearable if you are in love with that baby. All of the sacrifice seems worth it. If you are indifferent to the baby, as I was, it feels like you have ruined your whole life and there is no way to fix it.

When he was six weeks old I broke down completely and told my Mum and my husband how I felt. I got help from them and my GP and by the time he was 6 months old I loved him more than words. It wasn’t a sudden moment, it was a slow change that crept up on me and one day realised I loved him. When he was 10 month old I went back to work part time but still felt like I needed something for me. I liked my job but I didn’t love it and I felt like the time I spent away from him should offer me more than that.

 

When I got pregnant with my daughter I was obviously worried about suffering from postnatal depression again. I decided that while I was on maternity leave I would do everything I could to follow my dream of starting a business. This would give me something for myself which I hoped would help me deal better with postnatal depression.

While I didn’t fall in love with my daughter the minute she was born, the bonding took much less time, I loved her by the time she was 6 weeks old. It was probably quicker this time because I’d already made the adjustment to motherhood. While it was hard looking after two children, I didn’t feel depressed. Even before I could really start work on it, knowing that I was going to be running my own business and making plans for that in the little pockets of time I found helped me to avoid feeling like I was losing myself to motherhood.

Women of our generation have often worked in high powered or interesting jobs before they have babies. They may have excelled in sports or had hobbies that they were passionate about. We are used to freedom and making our own choices. While these things are great, I do believe they make the transition to motherhood more difficult. In the end I was able to turn motherhood into an opportunity to follow my dream. I can’t imagine that I would have been brave enough to give up my full time job to launch a business if my life hadn’t already been changing in so many other ways. I love my children dearly now but I still need time to just be “me” instead of “Mum”. Running my business gives me that in a way that a job couldn’t. It also gives me the financial freedom to make my own spending choices. I don’t have to rely on my husband to buy things for me, something I’d have found difficult.

If you think you might be suffering from pre or postnatal depression the first step is talking to someone. Your Health Visitor or GP can help or below you’ll find the contact details for MIND and The Pre and Post Natal Depression Advice and Support (PANDAS) Foundation. Once you’ve take that step I would highly recommend trying to find some me time. For me it was running a business but a hobby, spending time with friends, exercising or anything else you enjoy doing can really help you hold on to your sense of self.

If you’d like to know more about me and my business you can read my business story or have a look at a photographic day in my life.

The Pre and Post Natal Depression Advice and Support (PANDAS) Foundation
0843 28 98 401

MIND
0300 123 3393

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Postnatal depression and becoming a mumpreneur

Is it time to change from Stay at Home Mum to Mumpreneur

Being a stay at home Mum can be great, you’re there for all of the milestones, you don’t have to worry about finding (not to mention paying for) childcare and there’s no commute to worry about. However it can get a bit lonely, and dare I say it, a little bit boring!

Your brain feels numb from overexposure to Cbeebies

Talking to/about toddlers all day can get a bit mind numbing after a while. If you feel like you need an intellectual challenge then starting a business can provide you with that. Even if you’re still suffering from a bit of baby brain (my kids are 4 and 6 and I’m still using that excuse!) getting the brain cells working again can help you shake it off.

You’re worried that you’re not keeping up with workplace skills

Taking a career break to care for your children can have an effect on your long term career. Keeping your skills up to date is one way to mitigate the effect and running a business is a great way to do it. Running my business I’ve developed my IT skills, research skills, communications skills, writing skills. I’ve even learnt web development and marketing from scratch.

You need something that’s just for you

Having children is great but it’s easy to lose your sense of self when they take over your world. Running a business can give you back your sense of identity. It means that for some of the week you’ll get called by your own name instead of so and so’s Mummy. Starting a business helped me to avoid a repeat experience of postnatal depression after my second child was born.

You aren’t comfortable relying on your partner for money

Let’s be clear, being a stay at home Mum is of equal value to going out to work. You are entitled to a share of the household income. Knowing this still doesn’t mean we always feel comfortable about it. Earning your own money can be very satisfying. There’s nothing quite like treating your family to a meal out with money you’ve earned from your own business.

You want to set a good example for your children

Following your dreams is a great example to set for your children. If you want to run your own business, doing so can help show your children that you can achieve whatever you want in life if you work hard.

If you’re feeling inspired to swap being a stay at home mum for being a Mumpreneur check out our 10 Great Business Ideas for Mums.

5 signs it’s time to change from stay at home mum to mumpreneur

Entrepreneurial Girl at desk

Five Reasons Why Working From Home with a Toddler is “Challenging”

Last week I unexpectedly had my preschooler at home with me. It was a work day for me so I had things I needed to get done. We muddled along pretty well, with her entertaining herself for short stretches while I got on with things. The experience made me think about how different it was to when I was trying to work around a toddler.

Toddlers are very distracting

“Mummy, look at this insect I’ve found”, “Mummy, can I have a drink?” “Mummy, I can’t reach my trains” “Mummy, look at this bogey I’ve just picked”. Between showing you everything they’ve done (including the things you’d really rather not see) and their physical limitations, it seems impossible to work undisturbed for more than about 3 minutes at a time.

Everything seems to be sticky

Even though I was always strict about where food was eaten, when I was working around my toddler everything seemed to be coated in some kind of food stuff. If I could identify the food stuff, and not have to worry about it being something even less pleasant, that was a good day.

The emergency siren of “I need a wee!”

Potty training is stressful at the best of times. You have to be ever alert for signs that they need the toilet and when you see those signs it’s Go, Go, Go, weather you’re enjoying a nice cup of tea or on the phone to a potential client.

They want to “help”

As part of running baby and children’s Nearly New Sales I have to make up the 100 goodie bags that I give out at the sale. This involves creating 100 piles of leaflets to go in each bag. I foolishly thought this was something that my toddler could help with. NEVER. AGAIN. It was chaos. Think of those seems in films where someone comes in to a lot of cash and starts throwing it around. It was like that only with a sticky toddler and leaflets.

The GUILT

I try to get my work done when the children aren’t around (for both my sanity and theirs) but with the best will in the world, some of it has to be done when they are home. This can lead to lots of guilt when you need to make a phone call and they want to show you the tower they’ve just built. The thing to focus on is that when you work from home, they’ll have to wait 10 minutes to show you the tower. If you were out at work, they’d have to wait all day.

While having slightly older children has its challenges, I don’t miss trying to work around a toddler! If you’ve got a bit of time to spend with your toddler then why not check out these 28 great toddler activities.

Enjoyed this post? Read about other distractions when you’re working from home.

5 reasons working from home with a toddler is challenging

Mum typing with baby in arms

Signs it’s time to quit your job and become a Mumpreneur

Being a working Mum can be great. With the right employer, the right childcare and the right support it can work and lead to happy Mum and happy children. If it doesn’t seem to be quite working for you, check out these signs that it’s time to become a Mumpreneur.

Your Sunday is ruined by the thought of Mondays

If you spend your Sundays dreading Monday, worrying about everything you have to get done, it’s time to reevaluate. When your work is having a negative effect on your free time then something needs to change. When my husband was unhappy at work, Sundays always felt a bit off because he was worrying about king back to work the next day.

You aren’t happy with your childcare

Some children run in to nursery without a backwards glance but others have to be pried off you. It’s normal for children to have trouble separating from you and most will settle as soon as you’ve gone but if part of you is worried that they aren’t happy their then launching a business where you can keep them with you might be the answer.

You feel like you’re missing out

First words, first steps, first supermarket tantrum. All parent want to be around for (most) of these milestones but the benefits of working can be a fair trade off for missing them. If you feel like you’re losing more than your gaining then it’s time to become a mumpreneur.

You hate your job

If your job makes you miserable then you’ll definitely want to consider a change. Your children will pick up on your unhappiness and happy Mum=happy baby. As they get older they’ll be aware that you’re staying in a job that makes you unhappy. This may give them the wrong impression of work is like. My Mum hated her job as a legal secretary when I was growing up but carried on because they let her work from home. It certainly effected how I imagined my working life would be. I dreaded starting work and was actually pleasantly surprised to find it wasn’t as bad as I expected. (Although no where near as good as being self employed!)

You need something for yourself

Between looking after children, working, cleaning and general life admin, it’s hard to fit in any time for yourself. Running a business can mean that you can combine working, with doing something you love. This has certainly been the case for me. Once I became a Mum I wanted my time away from my son to mean something other than just earning money.

You want to become a mumpreneur!

Of course the biggest sign is that you want to start a business. If you’re showing signs that it’s time to become a Mumpreneur, check out our Ten Great Business Ideas for Mums.

5 signs it’s time to quite your job and become a mumpreneur

Mum running a business

5 Ways Running a Business Beats Working When You’re a Mum

Running a business verses working for someone else. Here’s the 5 reasons that I think running a business beats having a boss any day of the week.

Running a business has more Flexibility

Flexibility is probably the main reason that Mums end up running rather than returning to employment. The sort of work available that will fit around parenting is often low paid and not very exciting. Self employment can be a better option. When they are babies, you can work while they’re sleeping. When they’re preschoolers you can work during that wonderful 15 hours of funded childcare (which seems a real luxury when you’re used to working during the 30 minutes a day your toddler considers sufficient for a nap). Once they’re at school you can fit your work in to a 9-3pm day. If you’re employed you’re relying on breakfast and after school clubs to fill in the gaps. You can also attend all of the school events (we seem to average one a week at the moment) Plus you can be there for them when they aren’t well without having to negotiate with anyone.

Time away from your children is more rewarding

Family time is precious. When I went back to work after my son was born I remember thinking that I wanted my time away from him to be more rewarding. As a parent, you get very little time to yourself. I realised that if I was running a business that I loved, my work would feel like “me time”. The theory was proved right when I started my own business after having my daughter. Often, the only work that Mums can fit around their children, is low skilled and low paying. Starting a business can be a way for Mums to work part time while using their skills and gaining job satisfaction.

Setting an example

I ne’er really considered myself much of a feminist until I had my daughter. I’m of the generation that grew up with a female prime minister. I think that meant I assumed that women could do whatever they wanted. It’s only now that I’m faced with the idea of my daughter going out in to the world that I feel concerned about societies expectations of women. By running my own business I feel that I’m helping to show my children that they can follow their dreams.

You have Lower personal expenses when running a businesS

When you’re in the workplace you need to dress appropriately. You often end up buying your lunch, you probably need to pay to commute. Not to mention contributing to leaving gifts and the lottery syndicate you dare not miss in case it wins. If you’re running your own business you can probably avoid most, if not all of these, although you might still want to treat yourself to lunch once in a while.

Choose who you spend your time with

One if the things I love the most about self employment is not having to deal with office (or in my case, library) politics. You may love some of your colleagues but there are sure to be some that you’re not keen on. Then there’s the boss. I’ve had some great ones, and I’ve had some awful ones but overall, I’m the best boss I’ve ever had. Once your self employed it’s really up to you whose company you keep. Just try and make sure you do get some (either through Networking groups or more generally having a social life) as being self employed can be isolating.

If you’d like to start a business have a look at our 10 Great Busines Ideas for Mums

5 ways running a business beats working when you’re a mum

What I Wish People Knew about Being a Mum with a Business

There seem to be a lot of misconceptions about what it’s like to be a Mum “running a little business”. In truth, even if the business is little, being a mum with a business is still really hard work. Here are the things I wish people knew about being a work at home mum.

My business is not a cover story for sitting at home watching daytime TV

In fact it’s far closer to the truth to say I started the business so that day time TV wouldn’t turn my brain to mush. That’s not to say I don’t catch up with the odd bit of cable TV while I’m eating my lunch or doing boring admin tasks.

I work on my business ALL the time.

Even though my children are at school and preschool now so I have most daytimes to myself I still work on my business ALL the time. In the evenings, at the weekends, when the kids are in the softplay. Even while I’m having my cup of tea in the morning. It’s great to have flexibility but being self employed also tends to be all consuming.

When you see me looking at my phone at the park I’m not on Facebook, I’m making money to pay our bills

I’m not a helicopter parent and generally leave my kids to it at the park. That would be the case weather I was a stating at home, working or a Mum with a business. Because I am a Mum with a business I get a bit of work done on my phone while they play, however I always feel like I’m being judged for it.

I’m not just playing at running a business

My business is my job, not my hobby. I may love it but I wouldn’t do it for free. I run a business to contribute to our family finances in a way that allows me to be there for my children and I consider myself very lucky to be able to so.

Being a work at home mum is hard

Being a parent is hard, no matter what the circumstances, so adding anything else into the mix will always make it harder. I’m home all day, so I’m responsible for all of the cleaning, tidying and household Managament. I’m responsible for making sure the kids are clean fed and clothed, are where they need to be, with everything they need to take. I’m also responsible for making my business a success, which, given the opportunity, I could easily work on full time. Instead I have to squeeze all my roles into the time I have, including trying to find time for self care.

I’d love to hear what you’d like people to know about being a Mum with a business, do people appreciate what you do or think you spend your days on the sofa watching This Morning?

Want to find the right business idea for you? Check out our course “How to become a Mumpreneur”

Want to read more about being a mum with a business? Have a look at “5 business skills that parenting has taught you”

When is the best time to become a Mumpreneur?

You may not know you want to become a Mumpreneur until you’ve been a Mum for a while but even if you’ve known since before you conceived that running a business was for you it can be difficult to know when the right time is to get started. To help you decide we’ve explored the pros and cons of starting a business at the different stages of motherhood.

BeCome a mumpreneUr when you’re pregnant

If you start your maternity leave fairly it early it can be a great time to get started on your business plans, with work out of the way you’ll have some time to get your teeth in to things before the baby comes.

The downside is that you’ll have to stop for at least little while once the baby arrives which, depending on the nature of your business, could be disruptive. It’s also difficult to know until your baby arrives how much work you’ll be able to do around them, some sleep lots so you can get things done, some cry lots and you can get nothing done!

Starting a business when you have a baby

Babies generally need a lot of sleep and many are happy to sleep anywhere and this can be handy if you’re trying to run a business. Launching a business when you have a small baby can also be great for preserving your sense of self, something that can be hard to hold on to in the early days of motherhood.

However, when you have a small baby you will almost certainly be tired because, while they need lots of sleep, they still like to wake you up every few hours at night for a feed or just a cuddle. You’re also going through a huge life change and you might find transitioning to mother and business owner at the same time a bit too much.

BecomE a mumpreneur when you have a toddler

With a bit of luck, by the time you have a toddler you’ve adjusted to motherhood, got in to some kind of routine and either they’re sleeping through or you’ve adjusted to a life with less sleep. This can be a great time to start a business, particularly if they’re still having a daytime sleep. The only problem is they are in to everything. There is zero chance of getting any work done when they’re awake, if you try to take a phone call they will be instantly climbing all over you and you’re unlikely to be able to take them out to business related bits and pieces without all hell breaking loose.

Starting a business when you have a preschooler

Preschoolers are great (I should know, I have one). The clue is in the name, preschool, that wonderful, government funded initiative that gives you 15 (or 30 if you’re really lucky) hours of peace and quiet, 38 weeks of the year. They’re also able to sometimes entertain themselves for a whole ten minutes and can, on occasion, actually be helpful (think putting stamps on envelopes, being so cute when handing out flyers that no one can say no). The only trouble is this is also the time you’re most likely to have baby number 2 added to the mix…

Starting a business when you have a school aged child

30 child free hours a week to work on your business is undeniably great. You might want to let them settle in before you get started but don’t leave it too long, the trouble with waiting till this point is that it might lose its urgency. When given 30 hours a week a regular job can seem easier to manage and you may be less likely to follow your dream. You’ll also need to think about how you’ll manage school holidays as going from have 30 hours a week in term time to zero hours a week in the 6 week holidays can be difficult to deal with.

if you think now might be the right time for you to become a Mumpreneur check out “Business for Mums”

Want to read about about Mums who have started their own businesses? Check out our stories.

When is the best time to become a mumpreneur?

Entrepreneurial Girl at desk

Were you an Entrepreneurial Child?

While I’ve only been self employed for about 4 years, it struck me the other day that I’ve always been quite entrepreneurial. I can remember as quite a small child making “Rose Perfume”. It was basically old jam jars filled with water and rose petals. I’d sell them to my neighbours for 50p a jar (clearly I had very kindly neighbours!) Then when I was what we now call a tween I was very concerned with animal welfare. I was always running sponsored events and selling raffle tickets (again, it was my poor neighbours who I hit up for this).

When I first started senior school stickers were all the rage. Where my grandparents lived in Surrey there was a little shop that sold really unusual stickers. I used to buy loads then sell them to my friends at a mark up of about 400%. When I was a bit older I used to trade horse equipment with the girls at the riding stables I went to and make cakes to sell cakes to friends and family.

And it seems I’m not alone. Luisa, who runs Just for Tiny People used to set up a stall at the end of her drive to sell things in aid of her local hospice. Natasha, who runs Cheeky Treasures, set up a snack bar with her friends to sell flapjacks in aid of Guide dogs for the blind. Caroline (from Caroline VA) collected toys from kids in her street to sell at garage sales in aid of The British Heart Foundation.

The current generation is also producing entrepreneurial children as demonstrated by Penny from Redmanva:

“..I have just spend the last couple of hours teaching my 5 yr old to sew a felt
snowman. She enjoyed it so much that she asked could she make more and sell them. My response was of course, you could have a stall and sell them at the school and rainbow Christmas fairs. I explained that to do that she would need money to buy material, thread etc. She asked how she could pay for them and I said how do you think? Response was fab – I could sell some of my old toys! So we have today put some of the toys she has outgrown up for sale. I have advanced her a few pounds in order to buy a couple of essentials i.e thread. She is a very happy lady and i’m very proud of her entrepreneurial spirit.”

I also see plenty of entrepreneurial children at the nearly new sales that I run. Often parents will convince children to part with old toys by letting them use the money to buy new toys. It’s lovely seeing them getting a first taste of business while helping their parents out on the stall.

Childrens stall

I asked some family and friends weather they had any entrepreneurial experiences as children and many did. It turns out that even my husband used to wash his neighbour’s cars for £5 a time. These days he takes it to the car wash although I don’t suppose it’ll be long before he starts paying our children to do it!

Do you think that some people are born entrepreneurial? I’d love to hear your stories of mini businesses you ran as a child or anything that your own children have done. If you’ve got a child who is keen to make some money check out these ideas on how to make money as a kid.