I have been a work at home wife and mother for 7 years. My work from home journey started back in November 2011, and it started in a very unusual way. In September 2003 we moved from Illinois, where I had a huge homeschool support group, to a small town in Idaho, with hardly any support at all. Around 2005 I found a homeschooling blogging site called HomeschoolBlogger.com, and a friend of mine encouraged me to join to make some more homeschool friends. Unbeknownst to me at the time, that one decision would eventually make it possible for me to do what I love while working from home.
My work from home journey
As I started my first foray into blogging on HomeschoolBlogger.com (HSB) my love for all things technical started to surface again. I was an IT back in the early 90’s before I got married, so working on computers, technical issues, etc… have always been something I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. One of the great things about HSB was you could do a lot of HTML and CSS customizations, which I did a lot. Because of that, I started to contact the main editor and webmaster of the blogging platform asking for tips, learning how to set up my blog and many other things. I wanted to learn all of this just for me because I wanted to learn how to make my site look and act as I wanted it to. Through the years I got to know these two people quite well, starting on a first name basis after a while. 🙂
Then in 2011 HSB was sold and the editor was going with the original company, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine which left an opening for the Editor of HSB. The new owner asked the editor if she knew of anyone who she felt that could do the job, and she recommended me! Being an editor wasn’t really technical, it was more writing and editing what people sent in. It wasn’t a strong area for me, but it was a job I could do from home. So November 2011 I started my first work from home job.
I loved what I did, and loved learning what it would take to work from home. I worked for HSB for a year, before it was sold back to The Old Schoolhouse®. Thankfully they decided to keep me on when TOS took over ownership, and in February 2013 I started officially working for The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. I was still an editor, then moved to manage their blog, which then grew into me helping with website duties. I continued to grow in what I was doing, and now I’m the Director of Website Management for TOS, overseeing and running almost all things technical for TOS. This is my dream job, and I am beyond blessed to work for such a wonderful company. If you would like to know some history about TOS, you can read more about it here.
Homeschooling and working from home
During this time I had two high schoolers we were homeschooling. There were many aspects that made working from home while homeschooling not too daunting for me. My children were in high school and had already learned to how to do independent learning. I was just an overseer for them, which worked well with my schedule. Plus, working for a homeschool magazine, they understood if I couldn’t work during the day because I was busy with homeschooling.
With all those things, we still needed to stay on schedule. I had personal schedules printed out for our children that hung in their rooms so they knew exactly what needed to be accomplished each day. They had the chores they had to do also, besides outside activities. We had everything printed out or listed in our calendar so we knew exactly what needed to be done.
Things that helped me stay organized
I’m a huge list/calendar person. I love to-do lists, checklists, calendars, planners, printables, anything and everything that helps me to organize and stay on track for what needs to be done. I had the planner from TOS that I used, plus I create my own schedules in Excel or Microsoft Word that I would print out every week or month for our children. I love calendars too, but I don’t schedule things quite the same as others. My husband, Paul, works retail so not only do we never have the same two days off for our ‘weekends’ and they are rarely on Saturday and Sunday but we also only know our schedule a week before! So no planning what we are going to be doing in 3 weeks, because we have no idea what days Paul would have off in 3 weeks. So we decided early on we would only homeschool 4 days a week. Sunday the kids and I always had off, plus the two days Paul had off, so we could have family time.
Because of our ever-changing, crazy, only knowing one week in advance schedule, we’ve never been able to schedule things by days, i.e. Mondays we do this; Tuesdays we do this etc… We just didn’t know if we would be schooling on Mondays or if that was Paul’s day off and we could be having a family outing. So our schedules were always by days, Day 1, Day 2 etc… That worked a lot better for us because we could easily plug in what we needed to do on the days we were able to do it.
Our youngest graduated high school May of 2016, so I no longer have to juggle homeschooling and working from home, but I do have to juggle being a wife, mother and taking care of a home while working. Because of that, I still use many of the organizational items I used back then. My husband still works retail, so I still can’t schedule too far in advance, though our lives and schedules are a lot different now. I’m not usually scheduling for my whole family now, I do still love my lists, planners, and schedules, I just use them now for my home business. I continue to work for TOS, but I also run my own business, Watered Garden Creations, where I help people design, manage and create their websites. I still love all things technical and love the work I get to do from my little corner of the living room office.
I hope to write more here on my site about how I work from home, from organizational tips, time management, technical tips and more. I want to help others who work from home too but need some help with making their work flow smoothly and balancing family life too. Even after all my tips, if there is still struggle with organization or technical issues I’m here to help others manage their websites when needed.
How about you? Do you work from home? Do you feel you have a good organizational flow with work and your home life? Please comment below, I would love to hear from you. I hope you come back soon, as I will be writing more about what I consider the myth of balancing work and home, struggles and joys of being a WAHW&M (Work At Home Wife & Mother), planners and more. Talk to you soon!