No one ever warns you about the intense “mommy guilt” you will experience as work-at-home mom. I had many misconceptions when I dove into my business 2 years ago. One of the biggest challenges I face daily is how to entertain our children while I work.
I can’t always drop everything and run to the park for a play date, do a craft, paint (*shutter*), play Thomas the Train or read every book that they bring into my office. Then the pout… oh you know the look… sad eyes, pouty lip… “Pleeeeeeease mommy?” OH, the mommy guilt!!
Here are 10 simple ways to sneak in little surprises, blessings and special things for the kids to do while mom is working.
1. Lunch Dates –
Tuesdays and Thursdays our daughter is at Pre-K so I always try to make lunchtime special for our youngest Caleb. We have “lunch dates”. Nothing fancy, usually a peanut butter and Jelly sandwich (cut with a heart cookie cutter) fruit and snacks. One day I threw a sheet over the dining room table and we sat underneath and had a picnic. Occasionally I’ll surprise him with a trip to his favorite place: Chick-Fil-A.
2. Storytime –
Somedays I just need a break from the computer screen, I’ll go grab a book, grab the kids, and read them a quick story on the couch. It’s a 15-minute break for me and 15 minutes of quality time for the kids with their mom. Sometimes I even put this on my calendar so I remember. I also love audiobooks and Audible has been an incredible tool.
3. Have scheduled activities-
Every other Wednesday our church holds a great mom’s group. Many moms attend something similar. For the last 2 months, I’ve missed nearly every meeting, because I didn’t put it on my calendar and set aside the time to go. The kids love seeing their friends and I desperately need the fellowship. Just remembering to go doesn’t cut it. I have to literally put it on my calendar and I often tell my clients that I will be unavailable on those mornings.
4. Hot Chocolate with snacks-
My kiddos love hot chocolate. They love going with mama to Target – they know the Starbucks there… and they know that means one thing… Hot Chocolate!!! I’ve started to whip up hot chocolate on rainy or snowy days and surprise the kids with a cup at snack time or lunch. They love it!
5. Game/Puzzle Days-
We keep games and puzzles out of sight so that we don’t find pieces sprawled all over the livingroom floor. I try to have “Game and Puzzle Days” once in a while. Some of my favorite games are Hungry Hungry Hippos (just got it last night and the kids have been playing it for over an hour, seriously!), Hi Ho Cherry-o, Shoots and Ladders, Connect 4, Memory Games (we have several) etc. We try to pick up games at yardsales or ask for them as gifts.
6. Dining Table Tents –
This is one of the “Big Guns” that I keep hidden away for days when the kids are really bored, nagging or really need something fun to do. I grab a few sheets, blankets and make them the biggest tent I can in the dining room.
7. Go outside!! –
Even if it’s just a 10 minute run around the yard, getting the kids outside is so important. This is something I’m trying to do more often but to be honest I’m not great at it. When it’s warm outside, it’s a no-brainer. I grab my laptop and sit at the picnic table while the kids play. They get fresh air, run off some energy and I get a few minutes of peaceful working time.
8. PJ Day –
Raise your hand if your kids have made it through an entire day without changing out of their pj’s… I see that hand…. and you, and you! Yes, we’ve all done it, well now you can put a name on it and make it fun! We throw blankets down on the floor I put on a movie and the kids can just hang out all day. We’ve even had breakfast for lunch, which is always a hit. I know this isn’t really an “activity” but it does entertain the kids, which is the whole point!
9. Working with Mom –
Also known as Ipad time. My desk has a little pullout shelf on the right side. I’ll often invite one of the kids to come over and “work with mom” they sit beside me at my desk and I set up the Ipad with one of their favorite books (Monster at the End of This Book) or Games ( Angry Birds, of course!) or something educational (Teach Me – Kindergarten). I try to keep it to a 25-minute limit but depending on what they want to do – use a coloring app, practice their writing – I might let them sit with me for up to an hour.
10. Snuggle time
Both kids love love love to snuggle. They ask to snuggle. They come in and just climb up on my lap. I try to take breaks throughout the day to just sit, hug and snuggle these little ones. Time flies by. The kids are growing up much faster than I could have imagined, snuggle is way more important than that e-mail that you just received!
Do you work from home? How’s your mommy guilt? What activities do you plan to keep your children busy while you work on a project? I’d love to hear in the comments.