5 Tips for Work From Home Moms

Adventure Clubs Founder, Janelle Schroy, a mother of four who works full-time from home while balancing full-time childcare for her four daughters, shares some of the tips and tricks that have worked for her along the way.

Context: Janelle is based in San Diego, California. She is working full time from home leading Adventure Clubs with a team of 15 staff who are located in 7 cities on 3 continents. She is “Adventure Schooling” four kids ages 2, 4, 6, & 8 every day through Adventure Clubs and also academic schooling (Language Arts, Science, Math, Social Studies, French) two kids (first & third grades) through Inspire Charter Schools. Her three older girls are also taking classes in violin, piano, guitar, gymnastics, ballet, jazz, yoga, and sketching / drawing (different kids taking different classes).

TIP #1 – Plan your life. What is planned is what gets done.

If we are working and having little ones at home, we MUST plan. If we fail to plan, we plan to fail!


Food Prep: I sit every Sunday night after kids are in bed and spend about four hours preparing well for my week in great detail including making snack packs for the week (I’ve got four kids, so that’s 16 packs to prep per Sunday night). I also go through all my dinner plans and make sure I’ve got the kitchen stocked with all the ingredients I need (if not, a quick run to the grocery store is a must!) I have no time in the week for worrying about food for my tribe, so it’s got to be planned and ready on Sunday night. I use the the Crock Pot (slow cooker) a lot! The hour before dinner is too crazy to even think about cooking, so I usually throw my Crock Pot dinner in at about 2pm when my two little ones go down for a nap (MUCH easier to do 10 mins of meal prep if the little ones are sleeping), so then I can go about my afternoon and it’s ready at 6pm for dinner with zero mess, zero fuss.

Activities Planning: I use a magnet weekly planner which lives on my refrigerator door and it’s a dry erase one, so I can write everything happening on it for each week. I plan when I’m working, and when my husband is working (we work together in our business, but because we don’t have other childcare assistance and we both work a full 40 hour workweek, we balance the kids between our schedules). Each Sunday, I plan who is taking kids to all their activities too. It varies for us because our work schedule is flexible. I also pre-pack the bags for things like gymnastics, ballet, music, and yoga classes, so they are all lined up on hooks beside the door, ready to grab and go as we move through our week.


Laundry: I do laundry every day so I can stay on top of it. My best work time is in the evenings from 9pm – 3am, so as kids are going down to bed, I gather all the laundry and just do a couple of loads (yes at least two loads every day for our family of six!). It’s great to just get it done while I am working. I run the loads, pile the dry clothes, and when they are all done, I take a work break, put on a 30 minute episode of Netflix or something, and fold it all and put it away. So every morning = no dirty laundry in the house. That’s the most effortless system for me and it’s just routine. It saves me from piles of clothes building up.

Dishes: I let the dishes pile up during the day (I do NOT have time while kids are awake!), and after they are in bed, I do ten mins of loading the dishwasher and then ten mins unloading it an hour later so that all dishes are done from the day before I go to bed.

Pre-prep for morning: I lay out kids’ clothes for the morning before I go to bed too, so that when they wake up, the older ones can get up, make their bed, get dressed, brush their teeth and get to the breakfast table. At the same time, I put all the breakfast dishes and items on the table so that as kids wake up, the 4, 6, and 8 year old can help themselves to what’s there without needing me. I am NOT a morning person, so this 15 mins of prepping clothes and breakfast the night before (sans kiddos at my feet!) saves us all from a sleepy mommy trying to think in the mornings!

TIP #2 – Schedule margin. An extra 20 minutes on either side goes a long, long way with kids!

If we are working and having little ones at home, we MUST plan. If we fail to plan, we plan to fail!

Things ALWAYS takes longer with kids. If I think we need to leave at 9:50, I’ll tell everyone we need to leave at 9:30 on the dot and I work towards that, giving myself 20 minutes of margin in case of a two year old diaper explosion, four year old meltdown, six year old melodrama, or eight year old hair crisis. The struggle is real! ?

I’ve learned that scheduling 20 mins margin on either end (coming or going) from anywhere saves us a lot of headaches as we move our busy little circus from point A to point B.

TIP #3 – When you are with your kids, be with your kids. When you work, work.

As a mom and a business owner, my work mode is naturally always “on” in my head. That is, I am always responding to an email, thinking about the last text that was sent to me, planning my presentation for an upcoming speaking engagement, editing a document. It never stops. But my kids can FEEL that even when I’m with them and it’s happening in my head.

I have to make a conscious choice to turn it all off when I’m with them, put my phone down, and talk to them, play with them, be with them. If I’ve got a lot going on and I’m struggling to stay off my phone, I literally lock it in a cupboard in the other room so that my kids have my full attention. When I’m with them, I’m with them. My mind, heart, and emotions – the whole shebang! That takes GREAT effort from me, but it’s crucial.

That means when my work hours come, I fully trust my kids into my husband’s care and then 100% step away and go into work-mode. I’ve got to pull off a 40 hour work week on top of being with my kids full-time, so when it’s work time, I’ve got to hustle and FOCUS! I don’t message with my husband back and forth or answer questions for him while I’m working. I’m unplugged from the family and full-on working. I can do that now that I have a two year old (it was different when I had a smaller baby strapped to me while I worked!)

TIP #4 – Plan for memory making moments. Life has a way of filling in all the extra minutes, so carve out the space for memories before that happens.

90% of a child’s brain is developed before the age of 5. When I heard that, I HAD to pay attention to the memories that I need to make during this time. I plan a month in advance for the “adventures” I’m going to go on with my kids. Not classes, not school, not field trips. I’m taking ADVENTURES!

We use the Adventure Clubs app, which offers loads of group experiences for families with kids under the age of 10. We typically to adventure about 4 – 5 times per week, usually on weekday mornings, but also sometimes afternoons or weekends. We also use the book “Designing Childhood: 50 Great Experiences to Share with Your Child” (find on Amazon), and if Adventure Clubs isn’t offering those experiences when I can do them, I organize them with my kids on my own.

The #1 single biggest indicator if a child’s future happiness depends on the quality of their closest relationships while young, so this is a non-negotiable for me as a mom (and for my husband too)! Adventure, experience, and mutual memory-making is the life-blood of my kids’ world.

TIP #5 – Take a day off once a week.

I take a full day off once a week, and that’s not always on the same day. Usually it’s Sunday or Tuesday, but not always. The point is, in any healthy cycle / season, there must be rest. When I take a day off, It’s full on. I try not to use my phone (except to coordinate logistics of the day or contact someone I’m meeting, etc.)

I leave my laptop on my desk, covered. It’s a hell-of-a-hard thing to do (for me!) but it’s a self-imposed mandate for me to rest my brain and my workload, even when I feel like I can’t afford to take a day off.

I’ve found that if I am faithful to take a break, I am significantly more productive during the coming week. The productivity alone means that it’s wise idea. But apart from that, it keeps me physically healthy and mentally in a better space to have that one day off each week.

For all of you working from home mamas – I applaud you, support you and am cheering you on. If there is any way I can ever help, please reach out to me!

– Janelle Schroy
Follow Janelle on Instagram: @adventureclubsmom


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