A Little Structure = A Lot of Productivity

I am currently a Stay-at-Home-Mom posing as a Work-at-Home-Mom.  Basically, I’m living off our savings in a new city and waiting to find the right job after our recent move.  I am a photographer but I have been working administrative “day jobs” for my entire adult life.  It’s been two months since my last day of work for the small marketing company I worked at (from home) for 7 years.

At first, my transition into SAHM status was difficult. You can read about it here.  Honestly, Liam and I were driving each other crazy.  Add to this new 24/7 parenting thing an absent husband and a new city and it was a recipe for disaster. However, I’ve implemented 5 things in the past few weeks and we are both so much happier. Here’s what I did:

  1. Get organized – Most people thrive in structure. Use your time wisely. I started to use nap time and [his] bedtime as my work time. I scoured the internet for jobs, I created brochures for my business, I also clipped coupons and found creative ways to save our family some money. This helped me feel like I was contributing without having an income.
  2. Baby wearing – A friend recommended baby wearing and it was amazing. I hadn’t done it in over a year! Liam is 2.5 but he’s still small enough to wear. He was reluctant at first but just a few minutes a day calmed him down and gave him the attention and love that he (and I!) needed.
  3. Small Activities – I like doing small activities with Liam to give him structure and to focus his attention throughout the day. I believe that devoting 15-20 minutes, several times a day, of small activities with your child will give him the attention he needs to get through a day without clinging to you and/or begging for attention. It can be anything; throwing a ball around, pillow fight, painting, a bath, a walk are some activities I do with Liam. He’s much more content in playing alone if he’s had this time with me.
  4. Television (with Rules) - My son asks for TV a lot lately and right after our move I’d say things like, “TV is boring” or “you’re too smart to sit around and watch TV” but then I came across an old post here on LWM called Coming Clean on Television in which Law Momma, a single mother, confesses that she lets her child watch TV. Then I remembered that my husband travels a lot and I’ve basically been a single mom since we moved to Nashville. So, I let Liam watch TV. We put some rules on TV, though. He gets to watch TV when mom is preparing lunch and dinner. (This gets a hungry, crying kid out of my way while I cook so I win, too!) And, since we’re spending more time driving around than usual he gets to watch TV in the car if the drive is more than 30 minutes. (That’s not a rule you can explain to a 2.5 year old. That’s just my secret rule!)
  5. Sleep – Moms are seriously sleep deprived. Go to bed early! Use melatonin if you have to. A cranky mom is the worst.

What are your tips to being more productive? What types of structure have you implemented into your home life to make it happier or more productive?

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About the author

Lindsy is a photographer, self-employed work-at-home-mother and wife to a touring musician. She's a multi-tasker and is pretty sure she's never done just one thing at a time. You can read more on her blog: LMRphotos.com or find her on Twitter and Instagram: @lmrphotos.

5 Comments

  1. Ashlie says:

    I love this! I know that structure and routine are the only things that keep me from going insane, even though that wasn’t really the case before I had children. One thing that helps me a lot is to have a pretty solid morning and dinner/bedtime routine that stays completely the same. Even on do-nothing days, or days when everything has gone wrong, coming back to it is a huge relief.

    I teach, so I’m out of the house about half the time, and I’m also very lucky to have a lot of help. You’re doing an awesome job in a new city with a lot on your plate!
    Ashlie recently posted..ordinary, as alwaysMy Profile

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  2. KB says:

    This is really helpful since I am about to find myself in a similar situation. Thanks for the tips!
    KB recently posted..Catch the Moment 365 {Days 78-84}My Profile

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  3. Monica says:

    this was a breath of fresh air to read, I’ve thought a lot about what it would be like to work less and be home more and I enjoy reading someone’s perspective about what its really like. I don’t like to hear all the glory, I want to hear the reality, thank you!
    Monica recently posted..Why I Got My MastersMy Profile

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