By Gina Abuyuan
I’m a WAHM—a Work At Home Mom. Aside from the assignments I work on at home, most of my time nowadays has been taken up by a book project, for which I go to my client’s home and we pore over her manuscript there.
I’m about to go crazy.
Understandably, I got a wonderful rush yesterday when I went out to my first meeting not situated in a structure with a sala, a kitchen, a bedroom, and a maid to call on when you need water. Finally! An environment with strangers! With food you had to pay for! And me actually caring for how I looked like!
Working from home does have its upsides—obviously, you get to spend more time with your kids and work without having to commute or dress up. On the other hand, it can be stressful, especially when homework needs coincide with deadlines, or clients are a-calling while the kids are causing a ruckus. It also keeps you more than a tad isolated from the outside world and other adults. So much so that a visit to the mall may seem like the most exciting thing to happen all week, and coffee with other grown-ups is something you want to last forever. A burnout isn’t far away if a WAHM doesn’t take care of herself.
How to prevent it? Some tips:
* Set a schedule, just like you would do if you were working in an office. Before or beyond 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., for example, is time for family. Working at home is for naught if you don’t get to enjoy what WAHMs have over regular working moms: getting more time with the kids. During your “off” hours, allow yourself to play. If needed, you can resume your work after the kids are asleep.
* Designate an errand day. Spend one day a week to get everything done outside your home; stuff like paying bills or going on a bank run, doing groceries, going to the dry cleaners or having clothes altered…you’ll get things done while at the same time, preventing cabin fever!
* Designate a “no kids zone” in your home. In my case I had to build a separate room in our garage. As expected, the kids don’t strictly follow the rule and we end up “working” side by side. My partner and I decided it would be better if we rent a studio nearby to serve as our office. The kids haven’t even been there yet, haha.
* Don’t forget downtime with your spouse or partner. After playtime with kids, you and your partner deserve time together. Step out on a date or snuggle up while watching a movie. Lock the door.
* Have lunch with a girlfriend. WAHMs, SAHMs (stay-at-home moms), and regular working moms—it doesn’t matter. We’re all busy in our own ways, but need time to connect and talk about…well, what women talk about. Make an effort to stay in touch with your friends.
* Get some exercise. In between Skype meetings, go for a walk, a run, a swim. Do some yoga. Me, I hop on a stepper and lift free weights while taking a break. Exercise is a great de-stressor.
* Pay attention to your looks and pamper yourself. Looking lousy will make you feel lousy as well. Being able to close deals while you’re in your pajamas may be a perk, yes, but don’t get too used to it. Don’t forget to groom your brows, get the occasional mani-pedi, hair treatment. Stay fab!