I’m a work from home mom. Which means that each and every day after I put the kids down for nap, I drag myself downstairs, open my computer, and start my second job. Although it’s a challenge, I wouldn’t trade this juggling act for anything in the world, and there’s a deep-rooted reason for that.
The realization came on a day we were huddled in the living room, watching a kids’ movie together. My son pointed out an actress on the TV, made up to look extra matronly, and asked if it was me. Far from a flattering moment, this woman was 12 years older than me (yes, I looked it up).
And there was nothing unusual about this particular day. Over the course of that same day, I was sneezed on, quizzed about the origins of poop, and barraged by the Little Einsteins theme song on repeat.
Why Work From Home?
It’s in those moments, I remember why I do this. This work-from-home thing. Because I’ll be honest – I need that certain je ne sais quoi to remind me that I’m still sane. That I can still accomplish great things. That my work is valued. That I’m not getting lost in these little people’s lives.
Plus, parents who want to re-enter the workforce after caring for a young family need to find a way to keep their career skills sharp. Finding time to regularly add to your resume can be tricky, but not impossible. The last thing you want to have is a giant gap to explain at your next interview! Thankfully, it’s absolutely possible to keep your skillset fresh, even with littles at home. It’s called naptime.
Here’s how to get started boosting your resume while your kids nap!
Resume Boosting Activities To Do During Naptime
1. Get in the right mindset.
Carve out a designated work time. And when that time arrives, go pro. Determine that during this time, you will not talk about your kids, roam social media, or let the mountain of unfolded laundry taunt you. This is your time to adult. And you need this, momma.
2. Create an online presence.
The first thing your prospective clients will do is Google you. Start building your online portfolio with a few quick action steps: Jot down your experience, and make it quantifiable. If it’s writing, how many views did your article get? If it’s finance, how much money did you save? If it’s photography, dig in to your old email and find those raving testimonials. If you created the website for your church or the newsletter for MOPS, add it in, and link to your published work.
3. Next, simply ask for work.
Invest a day each week to research compatible companies. Link to your portfolio, and pitch yourself.
4. Get in on the ground floor with a reputable freelancing site.
I use Upwork. (And no, I’m not paid to say that.) There are jobs out there for virtually every area of expertise, from data entry and customer service, to graphic design, web development, and marketing. Think your skill set falls outside what can be done virtually? I’ve seen jobs looking for legal, medical, accounting and consulting experts. Start with a low asking rate, and gradually increase your rate until you reach your earning goals.
Pro-Tip: These sites show prospective clients how long you’ve been a member, so start building your tenure now.
5. Just do one thing at a time, and be good with that.
If it feels impossible, I get it. Some days it is impossible. Sick kids, sleepless nights, and clingy phases come without warning. Those are the days you just take a nap, knowing that you can be professional tomorrow.
At this life stage, advancing a career happens in bits and pieces. But with intentional efforts, progress will happen. Small daily investments will grow into great results. And when the baby monitor lights up, you can walk away refreshed, knowing you accomplished something for you today.
6. Start keeping a work calendar.
This is separate from the place you jot down soccer practice and doctor appointments. It’s important to keep your head clear and preserve this dedicated space-time. I use a bullet journal, so I can adapt it to whatever projects I have going on at the time.
7. Find your niche.
If you want to work in a field where you have a lot of prior experience, great. But if you want to move into a new niche, this is the perfect time to pursue the career of your dreams. As you tread new ground, be sure to document each successful job in your resume. Soon, you’ll have a robust portfolio in your new niche that’ll attract the right clients.
8. Connect with other moms who do this very same thing.
Working from home is extremely rewarding – and also hard, tiring, and stressful. It presents a unique set of challenges that only another dream-reaching mom can truly get. Connect, meet up, offer support, and share tears and strategies.
You’ll find your groove – trust me! I’ve been doing this for seven years.
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Kelli Pavlovec draws from her experience as a work from home mom to help smart moms get unstuck and find their best self at Two Hour Mom. To find out how to Pursue Your Life Dreams, Even While You’re a Mom, click here.