Guest Post by Sara Fairbanks
Being a mom is one of the most important, wonderful, rewarding, fulfilling jobs that there is. Having said that, being a mom is also one of the most complicated, thankless, challenging, and exhausting jobs as well! Being a working mom can take EVERYTHING to a whole different level! I am very emotionally tied to both motherhood and teaching, so I’m always learning. My home life and online work alter quickly because my child’s needs and behaviors change rapidly. How do you balance both family and your job? In order to balance both family and your job, you constantly have to learn and adapt.
I heard about VIPKID from a friend and she mentored me through the process back in 2017 and I actually failed my second Mock interview. After that I thought it was a lost cause. I had been working in the public school system for two years and was still in my early teaching years. Later that mentor and friend advocated for me to be put through as a teacher because she believed in me. Soon after that I was accepted into the VIPKID teaching community and began working.
I worked for about 6 months and did not get many bookings- I did not have a business mindset and stopped teaching after I had my baby Clara. About 10 months later an email came up offering a new contract and a chance to work for VIPKID again. I took the job again because I had confidence in my teaching abilities and shifted to a business mindset. It took me time develop that. When I first started I struggled to balance family needs with my job. I didn’t know how to teach online while my baby was awake. I felt exhausted and didn’t make enough time to rest. If I wanted to continue working at VIPKID, I knew I needed some solutions. I created balance by making a schedule, being flexible, and taking time to rest.
There isn’t a recipe that works for every person, however there are some simple solutions to common problems that every work-at-home-mom should know.
Tip 1 – Make a Schedule
As moms we have an inner desire to care and provide for our children. When you work while parenting you are pulled in multiple directions, but you can ease those feelings by creating a schedule.
Take time at the start of your week to write down your family’s schedule. Plan weeks in advance if possible- the more you plan now the better off you will be when the storms or the unexpected hits.
My husband and I write out his work times, his master’s school schedule, and my VIPKID schedule. It takes us about 10-15 minutes to collaboratively make our schedule for the week and plan for future monthly events.
I have multiple lists to stay organized:
- a shopping list
- errands to run
- cleaning to do
- my work notebook
- routines we follow
I keep all of my lists both in a small notebook and on my phone to reference whenever necessary. I also have a notebook just for VIPKID to write notes about classes, workshops, professional development, and props.
My lists help me keep work and home life separated out enough so that I can still enjoy being a mom and VIPKID teacher- it’s not perfect and that’s ok. Overall, it sets the foundation for success!
Tip 2 – Be Flexible 👯♀️
Kids are constantly in flux and the great thing about VIPKID is that you can adjust it to fit your needs! My husband is getting his Master’s and we have a fourteen month old toddler. We take morning and evening shifts watching our daughter. When both of our jobs overlap at the same time I have a camera to monitor her while I teach online.
Recently, we tested out doing one class while she was awake. I had her in a high chair in the back of our apartment with the door closed and camera on her as I taught so that the class could have that quiet background while she entertained herself watching Elmo and eating Cherrios. We know our limits though! One class is 30 minutes and for now this works for us.
If something doesn’t work, reassess and change your plan! You aren’t a failure if you change your plan, you are finding what you and your child’s needs are.
Tip 3 – Rest 😴
Finding time to rest doesn’t have to mean sleeping, although I do nap when my husband is home on weekends. Rest for you could be drinking enough water, going for a walk/exercising, or taking care of your own emotional wellbeing.
I listen to a life coach when possible during the quiet moments of the morning while I get ready or when I have a no show. Some days I take it in pieces and listen in five minute spurts. This is a source of calm for me in my busy life.
I also exercise – as crazy as it sounds this gives me more energy in the day and helps me sleep better at night. Even if I only have 10 minutes I will do both and multitask when possible.
There’s no shame in doing laundry during a workshop while taking notes too (VIPKID offers workshops for teacher professional development)! Start simple and find 30 minutes during your day to take care of yourself. You deserve it!
Working for VIPKID is ideal for me because I get to be a mom and have my teaching career. I have learned that you can overcome challenges and come back stronger with hard work and the right mindset. You succeed in the moment that you fail if you chose to learn and change from it. Through these struggles I have learned that you are not your failures, YOU ARE YOUR SUCCESSES. So take your time and know that your journey is unique and amazing whatever it may be. I have heard the phrase, “only the brave teach.” It takes tremendous bravery to teach while being a mom. Be brave! You will find what works for you, mama! There are plenty of excuses not to do something you love in life. Let children be your reason for being a mom AND a VIPKID teacher. 😍
Need a VIPKid Coach?
Both Sara and Nikki work at VIPKid and can help you through the hiring process.
Click here for Sara’s VIPKID referral link. Sara’s referral code is: SARA00050
Click here for Nikki’s VIPKID referral link. Nikki’s referral code is: NICOL0711