Ahh, yes. Work from home life. Love it, hate it, many of us were thrown into it within the last couple of years…for better or worse. It can be challenging when your home also becomes your workspace, especially when you add kids into the equation. Balancing mom life and work life is no easy task. I’ve been a full time working mom with a job outside of the home, a full time stay at home mom and a full time stay at home mom with a side home business and they all come with their own set of obstacles.
While I can’t offer a cure all method to solve all the madness, I can share some suggestions that will make work from home life a bit easier, more comfortable and at the very least a tad more functional.
Staying Organized as a Work From Home Mom
There’s a pretty wide range when it comes people’s levels of organization. You’ve got the Marie Kondos of the world. Then you have the people who just fling it, wing it and hope for the best. Then you have every shade in between. Wherever you may fall on the organization spectrum, here are some basic essentials that will help you stay more consistently organized and make mom life and work from home life run a bit more smoothly.
Whether you’re the digital planner type or the hard copy type, a daily planner is a must have! I personally like both for different reasons. My husband and I share a Google calendar so we can see appointments/meetings that will effect both of our schedules. The hard copy planner is helpful for all the smaller minutia details in between such as playdates, grocery order pick-ups, school projects for the kids and of course my personal business deadlines. These dot planners are AMAZING. Ever have a hard time finding a planner that has all the features, categories and specific functionality you need? Enter dot planners. You can design them in a way to meet your specific organizational needs and can vary the design month to month. The dots help you to keep your writing and organization streamlined but also give you the freedom to be as creative as you’d like!
- Desk/Drawer Organizer
So you’re not tearing your junk drawer apart looking for a stamp or paperclip or stapler refill that you know you own 143,657 of but can’t track down in the exact moment you need one.
- Charging Station
I love being able to keep electronic devices off the kitchen counters and in one “go to” place that is easy to find but out of the way of communal/crowded living space.
- Meal Planner/Calendar
You can opt for a more temporary, disposable option like this magnetic notepad calendar. Or make it a more permanent/decor menu like this one. Essential for any and all moms. Whether you stay at home or work outside the home, the big question of the day…what it all seems to boil down to each day is – “What are we having for dinner?” The question that can send any well intentioned mom into a state of cold sweat and heated panic. You can run from this obligation, but you can’t hide. Whether mom, dad, grandparent, babysitter or other caretaker is responsible for dinner time in your home, feeding the family is something that has to get done and planning meals ahead of time (we usually do a week at a time) can alleviate a lot of stress. Using a meal calendar can help you with your planning and staying organized and also prevent food waste. Knowing what you’ll be preparing ahead of time can help you shop more efficiently and use food items before they go bad. If you hang it in a visible spot in your kitchen, it can also drastically cut down on the amount of times you’ll have to answer the question, “Mom, what’s for dinner?”
- AnyList App
Go here to download. I honestly don’t know how I lived life before this app. Complete game changer when it comes to grocery shopping, recipe organization and meal planning. The best way to understand its functionality is to download the app and explore it hands-on, in my opinion. There is a free and paid version, but I feel like the paid version is worth its weight in gold. The app is able to export online recipes directly to a recipe folder with the click of a button (yes that’s correct!). It will convert the recipe into a list of directions and ingredients for you. It provides an easy way to compile a grocery list based on your recipes for the week. The app will automatically categorize each grocery item under the major categories (canned goods, paper goods, produce, household, etc.) or you can manually categorize each item as you add it to your list. If there is a specific recipe you are planning for, you can simply click the check mark next to the ingredients you need within the recipe and it will automatically send it to your running grocery list. It also has a meal planning calendar that allows you to plan out not just dinner, but also breakfast and lunch for each day. You can add notes to the calendar and link specific recipes to the calendar so you can access the recipe for any given meal with just the click of a link. Like I said…game changer.
Making Your Work From Home Space Comfortable
- Desk Lamp
Studies show that warm lights are soothing and more relaxing to the brain while cooler color lights can help stimulate the brain and help with productivity. I’ve always been a fan of the warmer color lights regardless of the task at hand, but depending on what type of mood you’re trying to set in your workspace, you might want to consider one over the other. If you’d like to take a more holistic approach with your lighting, salt lamps can provide a calming vibe to your workspace but also help to improve the air quality and respiratory health.
- Blue Light Glasses OR Blue Light Screen Protector
If you’re spending a considerable amount of time looking at a computer screen during your work day, a blue light protector is helpful for reducing eye strain. Blue light glasses are now a popular, easy solution (and are a sweet fashion accessory during live zoom meetings), but a blue light screen protector is another helpful tool if you wear prescription glasses or if you don’t like the feeling of wearing glasses for long periods of time. Also, some studies show that over exposure to blue light can accelerate the skin’s aging process and lead to skin cell shrinkage and death (cell death, not DEATH death). So a blue light screen protector like this one can offer more protection than glasses.
- Wearable Blanket
As I sit here typing while wearing mine…If you’re like me and your body temperature can fluctuate between sauna and ice box temperatures, one of these puppies can help make your working conditions a lot cozier and adaptable.
- Spotify or YouTube Playlist
For soothing inspiration or hyped up bravery, lol. I personally need music without words because my brain gets too distracted otherwise. Mom brain at its finest.
- Essential Oil Diffuser
I love diffusing peppermint and rosemary to help perk up my brain and stimulate focus. I also love a good Vetiver, Valor or Stress Away blend to help get the anxiety calmed and the creative juices flowing. We have one for every bedroom and one for the main floor of the house. I love this one and this one for my office area and our first floor living area because of their pretty aesthetic appeal. By the way, if you’re not currently using them, here’s 21 ways I use essential oils daily in our home!
- Chair with Good Back Support
Anyone with a desk job has probably had first-hand experience with back, neck and/or shoulder pain. Prolonged sitting brings increased stress and pressure on the back, shoulders, neck, legs and arms. So it can be very beneficial to take quick movement breaks throughout the day (even if you have to set an alarm to remind yourself). A chair that has good back and leg support is also key. If you have a bigger budget, this adjustable chair, designed by a chiropractor, allows your pelvis to move in a natural way and prevents slouching while allowing your vertebrae to move and engage with supporting your body’s weight. For a more economically friendly choice, both this chair and this chair come highly rated and provide solid ergonomic support.
No, doesn’t have to be LuluLemon. Something that’s a step up from PJ’s to make you feel like you were productive enough to get dressed and not embarrassed to be seen by the delivery man. However, also comfortable enough to feel like you’re truly taking advantage of the work from home life by not having to dress in business casual attire. My favorite type of pants that fall into this category is the jogger pant. I LOVE these during cold weather seasons and these during warmer weather.
- Quality Coffee/Tea
My favorite coffee and/or tea is what sets my mood for the day. My all-time favorite coffee is this one. It also comes as a coffee/creamer set. A former Starbucks addict myself, I can honestly say I crave this coffee over my former macchiatos any day of the week. I call it my “smart coffee” because it’s actually great for brain health! It contains collagen for gut, skin, joint, hair & muscle health. It also contains nootropics like bacopa to support brain health, focus, and emotional health (actually helps boost your mood). It’s a very natural source of energy as well, so I don’t get the caffeine let down effect that I often get with typical coffee. I drink it every day and can notice a difference when I don’t. Use this code to get $10 off your purchase: 8849400This tea has become my all time favorite. It’s loose leaf but super convenient because the leaves come in pre-made sachets. No need for a loose leaf steeper and sucking down stray loose leaf pieces as you sip.
Making Your Work From Home Space Functional
- Cute Coffee Mug
Essential for caffeine inspired motivation
- Practical Coffee Mug
Essential for caffeine inspired motivation that won’t get cold. My YETI coffee mug is the household item I used the most. I use it to keep my cold drinks cold and my hot liquids hot. It still feels like I’m drinking out of a coffee mug because of the handle and design, but it will literally keep my coffee and tea palpably hot for hours.
- Water Bottle
Something that won’t have you making multiple trips for more ice. YETI pulls through for me again. We own MULTIPLE water bottles and this is by far my favorite. It holds 30 oz and would keep that ish cold all day even if I didn’t drink it all within a few hours. I did just notice this big tumbler design YETI now has that I’m going to have to grab for myself. I love that that bottom is better designed to fit into a car cupholder and the top is designed specifically for a straw.
- Coffee Maker
One of the best investments we’ve made as husband and wife (other than our minivan) is this dual function coffee maker. You can use K-cups or coffee grinds to make a full pot or single serve cups. However, we just bought this amazing work of art for my parents for Christmas and I’m officially jealous. This one has the same luxury of making both a whole pot or single servings of coffee, but it also has a hot water dispenser and a FROTHER! HELLO creamy pumpkin lattes!!! I’ve used it several times since we’ve gifted it to them and it has me secretly wishing our current one will bite the dust so we have a good excuse to buy this one.
A must have for any busy mom…which is all moms…or just any busy person…which is all people. When you can stick a whole, frozen solid chicken in a machine with a splash of liquid and a few seasonings, and open the cover an hour later to a fully cooked, juicy, mouthwatering masterpiece, you know you’ve found something special. It has truly redefined the ability to throw something together last minute for dinner.
Less of a last minute option, and more of a sit and simmer option. But how nice is it to throw some ingredients together in the morning and not give it another thought until dinner time. I recently switched from my Crock-Pot slow cooker to this beauty. I wanted something that was stainless steel instead of ceramic since studies have shown that chemicals from the ceramic coating can eventually start leaching into your food. The cooking options on this InstaPot one are more versatile and I’ve never had a problem with anything sticking to the bottom. I usually like to double or even triple crockpot recipes so that we have leftovers for the following night. Which brings me to the next item on the list…
- Food Storage Containers
My “go to” has always been Pyrex but these silicone containers are really cool. They are 100% food grade silicone (including the lids), freezer/dishwasher/microwave/oven safe, and they collapse down for easy storage!
- Desk Pad
Forget a dinky mouse pad. This desk pad is amazing! It gives you the flexibility of free range motion with your mouse, especially if you’re working with more than one monitor.
There you go my friends! My best suggestions for keeping working from home mom life cool, calm, collected and cozy.
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