Avoiding Single Working Mom Burnout

Whenever people use acronyms to describe their working or stay at home preferences, I always try to make up one for myself. For example:

SAHM-Stay at Home Mom
WAHM – Work at home mom
WM – Working mom
SM-Single Mom

I guess mine would be: SAHWAHSBOSM. . .

Stay at home, work at home, small business owner, single mom. I own my business, I’m a full time graphic designer. I do graphic design for a wide variety of clients nationwide, as well as being a professional photographer. I work primarily from my home so I can be at home with my two kids. Also, I’m a single mama. Needless to say, I have my hands full. Burnout is SO easy. By the time the kids go to bed, I’m dragging myself there. Here are a few ways I keep myself from total rock bottom burnout.

Kid Boundaries

Boundaries and rules can be SO HARD WITH TODDLERS. My kids are now 10 and 12, and we have a few hard and fast rules that have helped a lot. Here are a few examples:

-My bed is not for the kids to play on. My room is not for the kids to play in. My office space isn’t for playing: 

I don’t know about your kids, but mine can leave a tornado behind them in 3 seconds flat. Establishing your personal and work zone early, helps you to actually have a personal and work zone. Sometimes as a parent, we have to remember that having a personal and work space actually makes us more productive, hence better parents.

-Getting My Attention: 

If you need to speak to mom when I’m on the phone (or talking to another adult) put your hand on my arm-I will put my hand on yours so you know, that I know, that you need me. Then, you wait.

This was more helpful when my kids were little. Now they just wave me down like silent maniacs while I go into the other room. This rule saved my sanity when my kiddos were toddlers and had ALL THE QUESTIONS. They usually forgot their question and went on their merry way for a good 2 minutes before they were back.

-My newest rule-now that the kids are older: Unless there is an emergency, no questions while I’m in the shower or bathroom.

(Now my cat follows me in, so I still haven’t used my bathroom alone in 12 years.) Those few minutes of peace while you do your thing, can make the whole difference in your mood and attitude. While you’re in the shower, take your deep breaths, pray, meditate- do whatever grounds and centers you.

Client Boundaries

We could go on and on about how to and how not to interact with clients. So here are a few of my own. I work from home, so my boundaries might be a little different I worked outside of the home. I encourage you to set work boundaries either way.

Don’t answer the phone / text / etc. after 6:

(This of course, is different for different lines of business.) I often will listen to the voicemail, read the email, possibly even work on the thing my client needs. But my work day has boundaries because it’s really hard to “leave work at work” when you live there. There are a few exceptions to this, but if you work around the clock, you WILL burn out.

-Don’t work with friends unless you contract them and treat them, like a regular client

This one is hard. You could be amazing at what you do, and your friends want to support your business. So when you do work with friends, contract them. When it comes to business, they become another client. You’ll have to expect on time payment, keep the conversation on track, and meet your deadlines.

Do Your Thing Too

Sometimes your thing involves the kids, sometimes it doesn’t. Here are some of my things.

-Trade babysitting services with another trusted mom and run to Target alone
-Grab a coffee while the kids are at school
-Pay a sitter and go out with a friend
-Read after bedtime (if I can stay awake)
-Morning 5 minute bed yoga, from YouTube
-Take my vitamins
-Read my daily email devotional
-Have coffee without working, just while sitting and being quiet
-Take a walk with the kids
-Go to the park with the kids
-Do a puzzle
-Order pizza every other Friday night

Do your thing too, it’s okay to still be an individual and be a mom. A burned out mom isn’t good for anyone! What do you do to avoid burnout? Let me know!

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