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5 Ways to Work at Home and Be Mum

Here we are, in a situation none of us has ever been in before.

We all have to change the way we go about our days, change our habits and ways of doing things . As with everything else, this will take a little time but it CAN be done and done well.

I started working from home over three years ago when my children were 5 and 7 years old. I dropped them to school and was back in the house starting my day usually by 9 -9.30 am. My day would finish at 1pm, when I would have to pick them up from school. Now it wasn’t always the same every day. Some days the distractions of house work and phone calls stopped me and the day would slip away on me and I got nothing done. As I was starting out in business, I found this so challenging, so had to come up with some kind of plan to break this cycle.

So here is what I did…

Set up a plan for each day.

Every evening when the kids were in bed, I would write down 1 thing I intended to start, 1 thing I intended to work on and 1 thing I intended to complete. On a great day, I would achieve them all.  Some days were a disaster, but I learned to find something that looked like progress in my day however small it seemed.

Setting a timer for 30 mins for the more challenging jobs eg. Technology and (Facebook Lives!!! Eek!!) helped prevent my energy getting zapped and feeling I had accomplished nothing.

One of the best things I did and still do today is draw a line through each item that I finished. I could very clearly see what I had achieved, which was very satisfying and  prevented me from getting overwhelmed with all I had to do.

Stopped saying YES to everything

This was hard for me at the beginning. Saying YES to everything is not a healthy boundary that I had; in fact, boundaries were something I had no idea about. This  included answering the phone immediately, even if I was in the middle of something. Every time I did that I would get distracted and feel so frustrated if I hadn’t completed my work at the end of the day.

Before I agreed to anything, I would look at my plan for the day first. This might have meant calling someone back or telling someone you would have to think about it. The same went with phone calls.  If the phone rang and I was working  I would  check who was calling before answering.  If it wasn't urgent, I would call them back once my work was done. That meant my work was complete and I could cross it off the list.  This is such a game changer!

Noticed how I spoke to myself

Everyone has this little voice in their head that can be so critical and harsh at times. On my not so productive days, I began to notice the words, phrases and conversations going on for me and they were not pleasant.

 “You just can’t do it, can you?

 “Just give up Suzanne, for heaven sake”

“No one needs your coaching; you’re not a good yoga teacher”

“You are NOT a good enough mother”

Funny thing is, it’s through my coaching and yoga that I understand how our words and thoughts create our beliefs and our realities, so I had to change them. The moment I caught myself saying negative things, I stopped what I was doing and asked the question “Is that really true, is it really, is it ????

I kept asking that question until every bit of the negative chatter had gone. This is so powerful and if you practice this enough, it is amazing how you go from feeling useless to remembering all that you are.

You are enough and as good as anyone else.

Practice the Pause

This has served me so well. It is simple reminder to breathe in times of stress, in times of overwhelm or when you are just not in good form.

We have the ability to change our whole state when we breathe consciously and are the only animals that can do this. It is a practice of stopping what you are doing, taking a big breath in, holding the breath for one or two seconds and breathing out. Repeating this as many times as you like until you feel an ease in your body, allowing you to respond to a situation with clarity and reasoning, rather than reacting from a place of stress and upset. I find this works so well with my children when they are arguing or just not getting on. 

This will be one tool I would definitely practice if you find yourself working from home and trying to keep yourself and your children calm. It may not work all the time, stick with it , I promise it will help.

Talked to my children

 Children are amazing and  we don’t give them enough credit. If they are old enough, they may understand in their own way what’s happening. If they are younger, talking to them in appropriate language for their age about what’s going on will make them feel safe in the middle of the changes. Children get it and will adapt very quickly to new ways of doing things. Their world has been changed to, remember. No more school, no playdates, sports, no friends and having to stay at home and entertain themselves. Just as we have to change our ways and how we do things, so do they.

Today, my husband and I sat down and explained just how serious these next few weeks are and how they may or may not unfold. We decided to come up with a schedule for our Monday to Friday week to include homework, screen time, exercise and mum and dad working time. We will work when they are watching a film when they are content and happy. We will work early in the morning  before they children wake up  and find more time during the day.

 Now, I expect there will be good days and not so good days and that is ok. At least now, we all have a plan to make these next few weeks run as smoothly as possible.

Thinking and working smarter is what can make this work for all of us. We can manage the changes , manage the workload and  be a great Mum! 

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” Dr Wayne Dyer



How does food affect your mood?

The alarm goes off. You jump in the shower, get dressed, wake the children and go and prepare the breakfast.  You pack the lunches, make sure homework is in, find the missing shoes, pants, hairbrush, etc, check your phone, butter toast, put on a wash, check the time and finally leave the house.  After dropping the children off, you head to work. Big breath in, you realise all you have had this morning was a cup of coffee. No time to stop though, you keep going.

Sound a little familiar? This was me a few years ago, 4 out of 5 mornings a week. My day started with a coffee and sometimes I would not eat until mid-morning, when I usually have a headache anyway. More times than not, I would have a scone and another coffee, very rarely a healthy choice.

My lunch was usually healthy, but could be closer to 3pm some days before I would be able to eat. By the time I picked up my children, unpacked the bags, took out the washing, put on the dinner, finished off work reports from the day, did the rest of the million and one things, I was fit for nothing. What I was doing to myself was the equivalent of running my car without putting any petrol in the tank. I started most days with an empty tank and tried to drive my body without any fuel in it to do everything I needed to do.

What I understand now is the link between food and our mood plays a huge part in how we manage stress. When you get stressed, your body produces sugar to provide extra energy. When the sugar levels get too high, insulin is produced to deal with this and sugar levels fall. You start to feel tired, hungry; you may get headaches and feel shaky.  All of this affects how you feel and how productive you are. Unfortunately this is usually the time you reach for the chocolate biscuit or bar and up go the sugar levels again.  Your body gets very unstable when this happens all the time and can lead to diabetes. To prevent this happening, eating regular meals at regular time’s keeps sugar levels balanced and your energy up so there is always something in the tank when you need it.

  One of the problems with our modern society and diet is that food is too easy and we go for this kind of food without giving it much thought when we are busy. Usually these convenient foods are full of sugar, additives and not great for the balanced diet we all need. I am not an expert in food, but I do know simple, balanced meals should be as natural as possible and include a variety of whole foods that can be cooked daily or taken out of the freezer for next day’s dinner.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with fish fingers or a take away  every so often, but the evidence is very strong now in terms of what we eat determines how we feel and what we are physically able to do. Having available healthy snacks during the day can help with any hunger pangs when you are on the go.

I am sure you know a lot of this already and maybe you have learned something about why you feel the way you do. Preparation and planning your meals to take you through the week is a great place to start. Making it a priority to have three regular meals every day and have your snack ready to eat if it’s not possible on one of those days.  Your body should be a priority and so should what you put into it so you can get the most out of it. Don’t kick yourself if it doesn’t work out every day, simply start again the next day.

Become a priority in your life “You can’t pour from an empty cup, take care of yourself first”



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Why do we think stress is a normal way to feel ALL the time?

I used to think it was normal.   I loved the amount of things I could get done in a day if I just kept going. If I was stressed and busy, I must be very productive. And I was, for a while. But it couldn’t last.  With too many plates spinning, one came crashing down bringing stress & overwhelm to my door.

I know now that stress is a normal function of how our body works. The problem is it has sneaked into our everyday language over the last few years to casually explain how we feel when tasks become difficult to manage.  Is this right? Why do we let ourselves get to this point, where we cannot cope with our lot?

 It is like a sign of weakness admitting you are stressed. Almost like a badge of honour to be working so hard. Looking back I felt I had to do it all myself and thought that I couldn’t ask for more help. I could manage it all. I found out I couldn’t.

Our lives really have become so busy. Both parents working in many situations, long days, childcare issues and then what to do when children are sick, are all a huge part of people’s lives. Add in demands at work, constant changes in technology, 24 hour access to emails so you are always “on”, sitting in busy traffic and the list goes on. The changes in our society over the last 30 years have been significant and not good for our stress levels.

Everyone feels stress differently, but no one is immune to it. The medical world has always known about it, but the damage to our bodies from long term stress has resulted in World Health Organization declaring it to be an epidemic.

On the other side, stress can be a huge motivator when meeting your deadlines, getting important work done or preparing for exams. This stress should be short term only.  In my previous job, during a conversation with a cardiologist I discovered one of the main stress hormones is Cortisol. Cortisol should only be produced for short periods and then switch off after these short stress events. However, when someone is in a regularly stressed state, there is a continuous drip of cortisol into the blood stream, which can have damaging effect on blood vessels and organs such as the heart & lungs. This can lead to heart disease and diabetes which we are all too familiar with these days.

 For me, understanding about the physical effects of stress has made dealing with it much easier. Why we have normalised it in our language though, has been challenging for me. Now when I hear someone say they are stressed, I believe it’s a warning sign that something is going to happen . Why wait to do something about it?




Create your Space to find YOUR space

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I used to read about people doing this  and think," How is that going to help me?  How can a space do that?”

But that’s just what happened in my home. One evening, I made a decision to clean out my garage and make my space. No idea how or what it would look like, all I knew was it was going to happen. So with boxes, bikes,old toys filling up my bins, hall and kitchen, I got to work. By the end of the day I had the first wall painted and it had already begun to feel amazing. Next morning,  I was up early and soon it was done.

Now I had an empty, freshly painted room and it was a little strange to be honest.  I put one cushion on the floor ,flowers on the window sill and lit a tea light. Right on cue, the sun came out and lit up the whole room.   It was so simple so serene and so beautiful!



 I knew what I had created was something special.

 I started to drop in and out of the room during my day,mostly checking out my painting handiwork at the beginning. Over a few days I found myself spending longer there, just feeling the room. It felt different than any other room in the house and although I tried, I couldn’t put my finger on it. Was it the candle, incense I was  burning , the emptiness of the space, or a combination of all of that? Whatever it was , it offered me a minute of wonder trying to work it out and in that time, I was not thinking about any of the million and one things that I would have normally filled my head. It gave minutes of space, to slow down  throughout the day and made it so convenient to do so.

 I love walking and being out and about, but sometimes this takes a bit of planning. Who will look after the children? Will I be back in time for the call? Traffic will be busy and all the other excuses. I could just open the door to my  my space and stay for as little or as long as I wanted.

 I am so lucky to have a  room to call my own, I know, but this can still be done on a smaller scale. By using  a corner of a room, somewhere not usually disturbed, you can create a space for you to visit when you need to. If you have a windowsill, decorate it with things that you love like candles, photos, fruit ,music, stones, plants, anything and everything that make you feel good. Incense, aromatherapy oils or smells that you love would be a lovely addition to.  Put a chair or cushion there so you can sit and read or just be comfortable.

 This space should be inviting and make you smile. Tell your family what it is all about, even if you have young children, they will understand, believe me. Go to it regularly, bring your cup of coffee, read, sit, write or just breathe for a few minutes. Admire and take note  of all the items in your space and take it all in. Stay as long as you can and if you get distracted or life becomes too busy to be there,don’t beat yourself up, start again the next day.

 Whether it’s big or small, enjoy the feeling of the space you have created and watch how it makes you feel.

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