Thursday, June 4, 2009

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Mix Work with Pleasure!

Many of you know by now that I help answer all your cloth diapering questions over at Kelly’s Closet and the other DiaperShops.com stores. I’m thankful for this incredible opportunity to help others in their cloth diapering success. I’m especially thankful for the ability to truly mix work with pleasure!

However, I suddenly found myself trying to balance all my responsibilities simultaneously. There were times when I was so completely absorbed in what I as doing that I realized after a marathon nursing session with Ilyas in my lap nursing while I answered emails and calls that he desperately needed a diaper change! Thankfully we use all absorbing cloth! And of course there were the few hours here and there where the diapers sat in the machine waiting to be run through another cycle or simply taken outside to dry on the line.

I slowly began to discover ways to figure out my cloth diapering routine while still working from home! So here’s what I do…

Wake up early!

I know In order to maximize my time I wake up super duper early (around 4 or 5 am) most days to get as much done as possible before my three little monsters wake up. I also take advantage of the evenings when the little ones are in bed to wrap up miscellaneous projects.
Wash my cloth diaper laundry (and all other laundry for that matter) at night.

In the evening I toss the diapers in the machine for the cold wash. If I get them in right on time, then oftentimes I’m able to start the hot water wash just before bed and wake up to start the additional rinse.

Since I opt to wash the inserts/prefolds first this also allows me to get those out on the line early in the morning for some prolonged sunshine! Then I start washing the pocket diapers and I’m able to get those on the line by lunch/nap time for the remainder of the sunshine hours.

In the evening I recruit my “cloth diaper girls” as they lovingly refer to themselves to help sort the diapers, inserts, prefolds, etc… into piles. A great learning opportunity as they learn how to group according to color, size, shape, etc… Then I do all the stuffing as they gather the baskets so I can organize the stuffed diapers and put them away.

Take advantage of long phone calls.

Oftentimes I’ll have a customer call that lasts longer than usual, so I’ll take that opportunity change the baby (or give the girls a snack, fold laundry or pick up toys, etc…).

I also get very specific questions about certain brands of diapers or types so I will pull them all out and have them in front of me as I answer questions (another incentive for me to try a little of everything as I expand my experience and expertise). If I’m helping troubleshoot problems with the fit of a diaper then I’ll even change Ilyas into that diaper to have a more “hands-on” idea of what might be going on with the customer.

With my changing table only a mere feet from my “office” diaper changes are quick and convenient!

TIME-OUT!

Lastly, if there’s one thing I learned very quickly is to take a regular time out. When you’re a working at home mama, your kids really do need some time and attention and regular breaks, however brief, does wonders for increasing productivity!

Every hour I try to take 5 minutes to read a book with the kids… in the late afternoon I take a complete hour to myself when all the kids are down for a nap – I typically window shop online or catch a little online video or work on a sewing project that I’ve been anxiously waiting to finish.

Here’s a cute picture I had to take of the girls when they told me they were “at work in their office” (which is their homeschooling computer). A funny reminder that I probably spend far too much time on the computer, eh?

Working from home isn’t “easy” by any means as it’s still work! However, with a bit of organization it’s easy to be more efficient. I truly admire Kelly for everything she does to be able to bring us all such a comprehensive online cloth diapering store and community here on The Cloth Diaper Whisperer!

17 comments:

Kelly said...

I am definitely impressed. I just gave birth to our third and right now I can't even imagine juggling three kids and work. Congrats on findiing a system that works for you.

Upstatemomof3 said...

I wish I had the energy to get up at 5am to be more productive. Or maybe I don't but it is a good way to get more done.:)

Serena said...

Hey ladies - like my new "office?" I had to upgrade from the corner cushion of my couch because I was starting to wear out the cushions - LOL!

At least now I have my very own special place to call "my office."

It's conveniently located right next to the kitchen so I can grab a snack and "diaper central" (changing table and diapers galore) is just around the the corner on an opposite wall!

TheClothDiaperWhisperer said...

Serena! Your girl are so cute. I love your idea of taking a few minutes out of each hour to do something with the kids.
I certainly picked up some good tips from your post.

Denise said...

I don't have a paying job, but I do a lot of the same things to keep things going in my house with 5 kids still at home....getting up earlier than the kids & putting laundry in before bed are two of the keys to sanity in my house!

Your girls are adorable!!!

crunchymommashay@yahoo.com said...

what a schedule! i just started waking up two hours earlier than i used to (sadly, that means i get up at 7:30 or earlier) and im beat most of the time.

i just got our diaper sorting system down. it makes things much easier.

Katie said...

Totally impressed. I don't think I could handle being a WAHM - NOTHING would ever get done around here! :)

Jennifer said...

Cute pic of the girls folding diapers!!

Ashley said...

I too wish I could get up that early! I only have two. The youngest is 7 weeks old and I still don't have the hang of "just" being at home much less working from home! Way to go!

hosiewosie said...

Wow, sounds like you are organized. I don't know if I'd be able to manage it all... You're girls are beautiful by the way.

Jackie said...

Wow - I'm impressed with all you get done during the day! I don't think I could do all that w/ my 3 kids - haha!

Shelly said...

You are inspiring me to get my behind out of bed earlier. And the photo of your lo folding clean diapers is so cute! My 4 yo now has a new chore-lol!

Senior Family said...

great tips ! great post ! i totally need to schedule my days better :)

queenoftheclick said...

Serena,

I love how you share all the little things about cloth diapering. I'm a new Mom so this is important to me.

Your girls arre so pretty!

Sara in Seattle said...

that's awesome! It's great to have a peek inside the lives of those behind the scenes at Kelly's Closet. I aspire to be able to balance work and play with my kids as well as you do

Thrifty Mama B said...

You have adorable children! I think I need to start getting up earlier than my boys too. Not sure if my body can handle it though. Just shows you have a handle on mixing work w/ pleasure.

Jen said...

Wow...very impressed! I have a hard time with the one little boy I have and getting things done around the house! I can't imagine doing allthat you do!