I was involved in a ten plus year relationship that involved domestic violence. I am no longer in that situation. As a survivor, I am not broken. It took time for me to learn who I was and to like me. And just so there’s no doubt for anyone reading this, I like me. I’m comfortable alone. I’m comfortable with my intelligence and with my looks. I am comfortable with how I run my business and how I communicate with others. I like me and I am not broken. Read more
Okay – so you might sweat a little. Working from home and taking care of the home at the same time can take time and work. And sweat. I’m a mom. I work from home. I can tell you from experience that a routine is crucial.
If you work outside of the home, you have a routine. You have things you do to get ready to leave. You have things you do at work. You probably take lunch at a certain time. You come home and probably have more things you do before you go to bed.
If you’re a homemaker, you probably have at least a little bit of a routine. I know it can be hard when the kids are extremely little (but it is also doable). You get up around a certain time. You have certain things you do in the morning. You have certain things you do in the afternoon. You have certain things you do in the evening.
Working from Home Requires a Routine
There’s this prevailing thought about working from home that is, at best, moderately misleading. That thought is how working from home is like a fairy tale. You’re around your sweet little darlings (if they aren’t school age). You can take them to playgroups. You can attend every practice. You’ll have this squeaky clean house. And somehow, you’ll also have this blissful, stress-free work environment. Everything will be happy, happy, happy.
And it’s just not true. If you want peace for your work environment, you have to create a routine to have it. The thing about working from home, and I’ve said this over and over again here and on the podcast, it’s always bring your kid to work day. Even if you’re sick. Even if they’re sick. And if you don’t work on client projects, you’re losing money. If you’re working on client projects, you could feel guilt that you’re not spending time with your children or doing things around the house.
The only way you can have the best of both worlds is to create a routine. And, yes, I know…many of you will have to learn the hard way.
Creating a Routine…the Easy Way
So, I spent all last week sick. I was sick on my birthday. I was sick on my anniversary. I was sick all the way through yesterday. I spent a week sick…and working. Without a specific routine (that I reintroduced to my life) that I used when my older boys were little, my house would look like a fucking disaster. I dunno about you, while I can function in a bit of disorganization (I am often referred to as an organized messy – I may have different piles, but I know what’s in them). I prefer “a place for everything and everything in its place,” but I am realistic.
So, how did I create my routine the easy way? Well, as I said, I went back to one that I customized for myself around 15 years ago. The good news for you is that it’s available online. Free. There’s also an app and a free licensing key for the app.
Now, some of you may know about this site…and you may have just thought it couldn’t work for you, but try it for a week. You’ll see improvement. You don’t even have to get everything done every day (I do try to complete everything on my list). I don’t use a paper to-do list for it anymore since app came out. For those of you who don’t know, just try it. FlyLady.net. Yes, really. The app, available for both Android and Apple, is called FlyHelper. Download the app and install it. Then, download and run the licensing key. Yes, it’s legal. The app creator put the licensing key out for free themselves.
You’ll have a morning routine, an afternoon routine, and an evening routine. Your home is broken into areas known as Zones. Each week, you put most of your focus on that area of the house. You also spend between 2 – 15 minutes each day decluttering and putting things away. You also spend an hour each week doing the necessities: vacuuming (I prefer to vacuum more than once a week), dusting, mopping, and the likes. You can use the app to edit your to-do list or change up your routine (add or remove things). Each Zone even tells you what you should do each week to clean that zone.
Uhh…I would say avoid the email list. At all costs. You’ll get inundated with reminders. Just stick with the app or visit her website every day. If you prefer paper, there’s a walk through on how to set-up a paper routine.
The Key? Follow-Through
Something else I’ve mentioned a million times. It doesn’t matter if it’s success in business or success around the home…you must follow-through. And that’s where people fuck up. You must put in the effort. Every day. You must. Don’t think of it as, “I work from home so everyone else should pitch in.” Yeah, they should. They live there, too. I won’t hit you over the head with my opinion on this…because I’ve lived with someone who was a total twat and felt entitled to sit around and do nothing…but who made that choice?
Think about it this way: these are all things you’d have to do if you were single. Unless you hire a maid (and more power to you if you wanna do that – it’s an ultimate goal of mine).
Because a system like FLY Lady breaks things down into smaller chunks, it is MUCH easier to get your family involved because you can tell them exactly what you need done. And you’re leading by example.
Again, though, it won’t work if you don’t follow through every day.
Work It Around Your Schedule
I usually get up around 5:30 or 6 am and work a little. When the littlest wakes up for school, I make his breakfast and start my morning routine. Then, I work. It usually takes me until 2 or 3 to finish my work. Then, depending on the time, I will either do the afternoon routine plus a few things on the Zone list or I will go pick up the little one from school. What you’ll notice about the evening routine is that it’s designed around picking up the kitchen and taking care of yourself. So, the evening routine is simple.
The whole thing is simple…and there’s power in simplicity because it makes it easier to work it around your life. So, try it for a week (her website says try it for 30 days and she even gives you baby steps). You’ll notice that you feel more in control over your life.
I like road trips…
Earlier this year, Bull expressed his desire to compete in World’s IBJJF (a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition for people over the age of 30). It’s held in Vegas. So, we booked the hotel back in February or March. Our oldest son came to watch our three dogs. And we decided to drive to Vegas. All in all, it’s an 18 hour drive from where we live…if you don’t account for the two hours that you fall back in time.
We left on a Wednesday since he had to compete that Friday. The drive there was fairly uneventful. Well, mostly.
We stopped to eat at Wienerschnitzel in Amarillo and to walk around the mall. I hadn’t been to West Texas in close to 20 years. Still flat. Still hot. And now full of giant wind turbines.
We made it to New Mexico before dark…took the proverbial vacation picture at the state line. And then we decided to keep going and try to get to Albuquerque. Because there was no way in hell we were gonna stay in Gallup after a friend of ours did that and had her car broken into.
Honestly, I thought we’d be found dead in a ditch by morning in Albuquerque.
Thursday morning, bright and early and before the sun, we are back on the road. I had to go to the bathroom by the time we arrived in Gallup. And walked into the store and that was a big ole’ nope. I told him to just keep fucking going. I’d wait until Arizona if I had to…I didn’t have to do that. About 20 minutes down the road, we found a Love’s.
It was an interesting experience to also buy something to drink and not pay tax on it. In Oklahoma, if something is $1, you’re gonna pay $1.08.
We stopped in Flagstaff. My throat was killing me from allergies (yes, in the desert) and we stopped to get bananas and soup. I was extremely surprised that the Wal-Mart right off the highway had covered parking…and I was cold when I got out of the car.
Arizona was a fairly nice drive…minus all the ear popping. Near Nevada, we pulled over at a gas station so I could (again) go pee. We were about 100 miles away from our destination. They had a cattle guard over a giant hole that you have to drive over. I am now the proud owner of a bubble in my tire (that is scheduled to get fixed while here in Vegas).
We stopped (sort of) at the Hoover Dam. Drove on into Vegas. Our hotel got us in a day early (and so we’re checking out Sunday instead of Monday). We thought we’d be cute and walk to the strip. So, it turns out that what we consider a mile in Oklahoma isn’t the same as a mile in Nevada. I swear the miles here are like 5x longer. Google Maps (the lying fucker) said it was less than 2 miles away. From what we figured, it’s more like four miles each way. So, that was an adventure in 100+ degree weather. After spending 16 hours in a car.
Our hotel is fine. We booked a suite so we could cook most of our meals. It’s quiet. Friday, though, Bull went with another competitor and I said I would drive since the convention center is listed as like…three miles from our hotel. I was working (duh). I pulled up Google Maps and it sent me on a wild fucking goose chase…down roads that were private. Got pulled over by security who tried to get me back on track once they realized I was just a confused tourist with a lying fucking GPS. After the third stop, I just asked to get pointed back to the road my hotel was on. The nice security guard had me follow him out from where I was lost and got me on the right track. I came back to the hotel to just kinda regroup. I got harassed (verbally) in the parking lot.
Came upstairs to try and just look at the actual map because I had a general idea where I was supposed to go. I had my wallet in my hand (I was wearing a dress) and I went back downstairs to the van to try it again. Some fucking asshole tried to grab my wallet out of my hands. I started kicking and screaming. I still have my wallet. I came back upstairs and said fuck that shit. My 16 year old happened to call me literally as soon as I walked into my suite after that. So, that was a thing.
Once Bull got back from his competition, I felt better. I didn’t want to be in this city anymore. Turns out, he’s not much of a fan of it, either. But, we took a little walk…there’s a .99 cent store that sells $2.99 liquor, yall. It smelled like a dirty diaper. We went to the grocery store and picked up chicken at $1.99 a pound, garlic bread, and vegetables and came back to the hotel. Beef here is really cheap compared to Oklahoma…but the eggs are crazy expensive. I pay anywhere between .79 cents and $3 for eggs (the more expensive eggs being brown eggs, cage free). Here, the eggs that I would pay less than a buck for at home were $6. SIX DOLLARS. Oh, and some lady tried to sell her baby to us.
The fuck is wrong with these people?!
Saturday we went downstairs to the pool…before anyone. Because our bodies are still set to Oklahoma time. We were there for about an hour and came back up. We got dressed and drove down the road a bit to some free parking and walked over to Circus Circus (we saw Caesar’s the night we got in – and that was fucking crazy…and tonight is the McGregor fight; oh, and I also saw where they will tape the next Hell’s Kitchen…so that was kinda neat).
Circus Circus was neat. We didn’t go into the AdventureDome, but the casino has an arcade and a circus over it. So we went up there for a while. The acts going were clown high-wire acts. As we left, we got sucked into some timeshare thing…until I said we were Dave Ramsey fans. Suddenly, we didn’t qualify. We saved up to come here. We paid $97 for gas to drive (we kept track but had an idea of around $120 for gas here because of the RoadTripper app). We booked our hotel early through Booking.com. And no, I don’t get anything for mentioning them. We paid for Bull’s entrance fee MONTHS ago. Like, we planned this shit and saved to do it.
We came back to the hotel so that I could work a little and he took a nap. Who knows what kind of crazy we might see tonight? We’re down the road from Silver Sevens and they advertise the “best burger” in town with bottomless fries. I will be the fucking judge of that.
We check out tomorrow and head back. We plan to stop to see a few things and take pictures. But again, all after getting the damn tire fixed.
So, Google Maps is apparently on crack. While searching for a Wal-Mart with a tire center, we ended up stopped at several red lights which was fine by me because I get seriously fucking car sick with a bad tire. Well, every time we’d stop…Google Maps would try to reroute us. It sent us all over the place…we finally figured it out and got to a Wal-Mart about an hour and a half after we left the hotel…and the drive shouldn’t have taken more than 20 minutes.
After $115 for a tire, we finally get on the road. I took some pretty nice pictures of the desert. We made it to Gallup, NM around sunset (we’d been on the road for about six hours) and Albuquerque about 9ish at night. We decided to drive straight through. And then, the lights and bumpy road made me car sick…again. So, we had to stop and get some anti-nausea crap which made me tired. I attempted to lie down in the very back seat and I guess the alignment was off because that made it worse.
We stopped in Vega, Texas for a couple of hours and then started back. We got home around 10 am Monday morning. The dogs were extremely happy to see us. So happy, in fact, that while they allowed my sweet husband to nap, I was not allowed to nap because momomomomomomomomom we missed you – pet meeeeeeeeeeee.
I am so fucking glad to be home.
In August 2016, I rented office space. My reasons were pure. As someone who worked from home, I struggled with separating my work life from my home life. When I was working, I felt guilty because I wasn’t doing typical homemaking things. When I was doing typical homemaking things, I felt guilty that I wasn’t working. So, I found a nice size single office at an affordable rate that included my Internet. Up until the last month or so, the experience (overall) was fine. However, I started to hate it. Here’s how I started hating my office space.
I Felt Rushed Every Day
When you’re paying for office space, you feel obligated to use it. And I was no exception. I am definitely more focused in my own space. There are fewer distractions. Yet, between school obligations for the school-age children, martial arts practices for my husband and one of my sons, and appointments for the Baby Bull, I always felt rushed. I started freelancing to take control of my time…not to feel like I’ve got more obligations.
I Hate Whiners
I understand whining with children. Children have to learn that life is tough and that they are tougher. I hate whining from adults who are on the job. There is a difference between the occasional whining session that most of us have and people who think they are entitled to an easy life. Life is not easy. I hate whiners. The walls here are thin. To the right of my office, is a business owner who does construction and roofing. I like him. It’s his son / assistant that drives me batty. He always has something to bitch about. It’s never a well-worded suggestion that shows how business practices can be improved. It’s always a complaint about how awful it is that he has a job and has to work.
I can tolerate loud noise from my children. I can tolerate occasional loud noises in a traditional work atmosphere. These new neighbors on the other side of me? Just…no. I lost a contract because of their nonsense. They just seem to have no common sense.
I’m not getting outside as much as I used to…to be fair, though, it’ summer in Oklahoma – so being outside during certain times of the day is fucking miserable. However, early mornings and evenings are better. Right now, I am almost always inside. Officing from home again means more opportunity to not be stuck inside out of obligation. It was so great a couple of weeks ago when I got to work outside at the lake while Red Bull fished.
No Time for Certain Hobbies
Because I always feel rushed to get here, get my work done, and get home so others can get to where they need to be, I feel like I have no time for certain hobbies I really love. I have a lot of hobbies. When I get stressed out, I don’t want to do any of them…that, in turn, exacerbates my stress. I feel like I don’t have the time I need to unwind despite having my own space.
So, I’m moving my office back home.
When you work from home, even if you’re around your family all the time, you’re going to feel isolated. You may feel lonely. You may feel trapped. You start working from home out of necessity and you dream about all the freedom that you just know you’ll have. And then? Then? Work at home life slaps you square in the face. With its giant costume jewelry ring. Across your cheekbone.
Suddenly, you find yourself working all kinds of hours. You find yourself thinking about work when you’re doing things with your family. You balance your client needs, housework, and family responsibilities. You just figure that once you die, you’ll get to rest.
That’s isolation in a nutshell. Your freedom begins to feel like chains. So, what’s a girl to do?
Get Out of the House
Yes, really. Even when you have a million deadlines looming. Get out of the house. Go to the park. Go workout. Go to the library. Take your kids swimming. I advocate that you leave your laptop at home…but sometimes even taking your laptop and working from another location can seem life changing.
The longer you stay in the house, the crazier you will become. I’m probably a legitimate recluse. I have zero problem keeping my own company, but even I need an occasional change of scenery. I’m currently sitting in my backyard.
Enjoy the Perks
Everyone wants to work at home ’cause…no pants. At least, theoretically. Pajamas are a standard dream. Those little things eventually get old. There are studies that show people who work from home are more productive. We tend to get more done in less time…and as a result, we tend to continue to put more and more on our plate. Before long, we’re just as stressed out (or more stressed out) as we were when we were in a more traditional job.
Sometimes you just have to stop what you’re doing and enjoy the perks. I like sitting outside while I work. I like to sometimes take a hot bath in the middle of the day. I like to go to the store when most people are at work.
Make a short list of things you were excited to do when you decided to work from home. Then, do those things. You don’t have to do them every day.
You Gotta Take Care of You
Every work at home parent has this moment where we realize all it feels like we do is work and make sure everyone else gets what they need. And when we want or need time to do something we want or need to do, we feel selfish.
We’re not selfish. We can’t expect anyone else to tell us to stop working and do what we want or need to do. Because we’d probably tell them to go to hell because we have responsibilities and deadlines. We ARE the business. And we MUST take care of ourselves which means we are happier when we work.