You have it planned out in your mind: it’ll be amazing. You are going to be a work-from-home mom. You will be the mom and career woman you always wanted to be and you’re going to juggle it all because, sister, you are a powerhouse. The only thing holding you back up to now was having to schlep yourself into that ridiculous office every day and being controlled by that absurd time clock.

But now, you’re a work-from-home mom and you’re going to conquer the world.

No one has ever been or ever will be as good at this as you: mother of the year AND employee of the year. All you needed was freedom, flats, and a stretchy waistband. You’re your best self in yoga wear, and you don’t even have to attend yoga. You are a beast of a woman.

Your children will be happier and healthier than ever before because, after all, mommy is home.  Right there with your babies all day every day. They will be so well adjusted and happy now. You will find time for playdates and lunches with friends and at the same time, you will build an empire. This is going to be beautiful.

I’m here to tell you, working from home is the greatest, most sought after gig out there…until you do it.

Turns out you didn’t just gain a bunch of freedom, what you actually did is double your workload.  Yogawear, yep, because chances are it’s what you slept in for the last two nights because showering has become a luxury. Laundry, dishes, meals, all of it is a hot mess; all the time you were going to spend on that stuff actually has to be spent working. Because don’t forget, mama needs to make some money to make this work from home dream a reality.  You’re a bigger mess than ever before and wondering what on earth happened to the woman you once were.

Not to worry, I’ve been there and I was a hot disaster of a woman until I figured a few things out.  I’ve worked from home for more than fifteen years and am going to share a few tips so that you can finally get that shower.

1. Quit striving for balance. There is no such thing as BALANCE with equal time in all areas, but you can have HARMONY. Figure out a flow that is right for YOUR family, not one that society says you have to have. I have a friend with a husband who works until 8pm every night, so they moved their schedule to eat later, wake up later and go to bed later so that they could have family time. It works for them. (I understand that this is not a reality when kids are in school.)

2. Plan your week on Sunday nights. Do a “brain dump.” Get everything that needs to happen in the week ahead out of your brain and on to paper. Be clear about what you need to be doing each day. This will put you into the mode of working proactively rather than reactively. It stinks to go through your day just reacting to everything that comes up, take control of your days and plan them. TIP: Put the harder things first.

3. Get Help. I can’t stress this enough to you. This is one of the single biggest downfalls of women in business — they try to do it all themselves. Let’s be clear, being busy all of the time is not a badge of worthiness, it is a badge of poor time management. There I said it. You can be mad at me now and stomp away, but it’s true. Sorry.

Building a business deserves focused time. You will never build big or become highly successful if you don’t respect your business enough to give it the time it deserves. You can hire someone as a “life assistant” to help with all of the non-money-making things during your week (errands, laundry, meal prep, house, etc.).  They can do more in 3-5 hours a week than you ever dreamed of doing because it’s their job. If you have kids at home, get a sitter for two days a week and work. If a sitter is not an option, work in the evenings at a coffee shop when hubby or help is available. It’s only for two days and it’s worth it to get your business going.  TIP: when hiring a life assistant, ask her this “Is there anything that is “beneath you” or that you will not do?”

4. Give up the TV & Social Media during the day. I know, you hate me for this one. When I gave up watching TV during the days, and set a schedule for being on social media, my world changed. I suddenly had 456 more hours in my day. It was like a miracle!  Seriously, give it up and you will be shocked at the amount of time you have. Check social media in the morning, do the posts you need to do, and then don’t get back on until the work day is over or during your lunch.

5. Get dressed at least three days a week. Your hair and makeup too. Sounds silly but this has a huge effect on your self-esteem. When we go day after day seeing that unshowered yoga wearing mom, it messes with our heads and we start to think that’s all we are. Get dressed for YOU — no one else — and you will feel amazing. When you feel good, your confidence increases and it empowers you to make calls, set appointments and do things you keep putting off.

6. Schedule a real lunch for yourself. Take time to unwind, decompress and play.  Let your brain relax. Meet up with other grown-up humans too. You need it.

7. Focus on income producing activities during those weekly hours when you have help. This will make you feel better about paying for help and motivate you. TIP: Organizing your office is not income producing.

8. Set a timer when kids are home. Let them know it is mommy’s work time now and as soon as the timer goes off, it’s their time. This one was big for me and I came to learn that it wasn’t that Ella needed hours on end of mommy time, it was that she needed a small amount of very focused time. I was “all in” during our time and it worked beautifully. Just her, no distractions, lots of looking her in the eyes, smiling and playing with her.

9. Never discount the power of working in a carline or on a toilet. Many a great deal has been sealed in the confines of a car or while sitting on the toilet. I have booked some of my best appointments on a toilet — yes, even toilets at restaurants. Use the pockets of time you have to work smart. You DO have time if you WANT to have time.

10. Remember why you are doing it.  Working from home can be much harder than going into an office but the rewards are worth it.  Don’t throw in the towel and go back to work, just pivot a little, you’ll find your groove and lady, you are going to the best work-from-home mom EVER!

I would do just about anything to never have to go to an office and work. I love the choices and flexibility I have, but I am very clear with family and friends that I do have a job. It is hard for outsiders to give your work respect if they do not see you giving it any respect.

Moms, working from home is a gift. You have the gift of being close to your children. Respect the job, treat it right and it will give you the flexibility and income you need and want. Be a good boss to yourself.

P.S. Ok, technically this “job” of mine is not paying a dime right now. In fact, I am spending money and not making money, but I also believe that this is part of the hard work for the later reward. Some jobs are like that. Do the time; it’ll be worth it.