I’ve been a work at home mom now for seven years. From working at the kitchen table, couch, closet, spare bedroom, and now the She Shed, I’ve made mistakes and had a lot of successes (hello, SPM!). Along the way, I’ve made notes of what tools have helped make life as a work at home mom (WAHM) more successful.
Many of you may be a WAHM, or perhaps you know one (or live with one). If so, then you know that the WAHMs straddle the world between working and mothering almost hourly. Whether it’s getting a call from school and rushing out the door or sitting with our laptops on the couch while someone suffers through the stomach flu. We’re one foot in and one foot out almost all day long.
I’m a minimalist at heart, so living with less stuff has always been my gig. But so is having the right elements around me. Since Christmas is coming soon and birthday’s come every year, I thought I’d create the Work at Home Mom Gift Guide. I’m also taking my OWN challenge to create a gift guide for my blog — it’s one of my favorite things to do!)
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The Work at Home Mom Gift Guide
Here’s my list! All the things I love, can’t live without and help to make this WAHM life a little easier.
Balance Ball — When I first started working more hours on SPM I was sitting in a traditional office chair. My booty hurt so badly. I switched to my balance ball and my back or booty haven’t hurt since. You can get balance ball chairs but I like the freedom to move on the ball. It does take some getting used to but after you do you’ll find that your legs and core seem just a bit stronger. Get the bigger one at 75 cm the smaller ones don’t help.
Music — small Bluetooth speaker or headphones from Sudio. I first saw these on my friends Instagram page, remember I’m obsessed with Insta stories and I always wanted a pair. I do a lot of calls on my phone so these wireless ones make it easy for me to take notes or type. Also, they have fantastic sound. You can get a pair for yourself or suggest someone buy you a pair! Use the code PINKRIBBON15 which will give 15% off any purchase during the campaign. They are donating 10% of their profits on all the pink products to the Pink Ribbon Foundation in Sweden. I have pink, of course.
She Shed — That’s the mother of all gifts! Or just a quiet space. Working at home is really hard! When I was working at the kitchen table I would get distracted. So this designated space in my yard allows me to work from home but be very clear about my space. My kids don’t mess with my stuff, but my husband does sleep out here on the couch when my parents are in town. Not because I’m mean, he really likes it.
With working at home comes sitting on your booty. And when you’re over 40 the metabolism just isn’t like it used to be. This year I made a conscious decision to invest in my health. We joined a gym 3 minutes away (no excuses on driving, I can walk if needed), and I hired a personal trainer. I have two 30 minute sessions per week. I show up and she tells me what to do and forces me to do.
There have been many times I didn’t want to go because I had a super stressful day. Or I was processing grief. This was my entire spring and summer. Showing up with her there were moments I was defeated, exhausted and could barely think. After a 30 minute session, I would feel still exhausted but revived and ready to tackle the next day.
I know this gift seems kinda lame but most people make goals for their business and neglect their health. I did and needed to make it a priority again. I can think clearer and I’ve lost 5% body fat over the last year! I have a healthy BMI now and feel awesome.
The other thing I signed up for a few months ago was macro coaching with Stay Fit Mom. It’s a 6-week program helping me know how to balance fats, carbs, and protein. Most women don’t get enough protein and there are days I’m standing in the kitchen downing turkey but I feel so much better! I signed up for a second session to continue the weight loss.
Now giving this as a gift may be tough, but it may be the gift you give to yourself. Just tell Tracy and Krista, the Stay Fit Mom’s, that Kate sent you.
Water bottle — I travel everywhere with a glass water bottle that has a plastic protector. Having a water bottle in my office that’s cute helps me stay hydrated when I’m at home or traveling.
Our business world can be defeating and suck the life out of you when you start to compare your growth to others. When I realized the comparison trap in my own life I started to build in things that brought joy to me.
I love the She Reads Truth app. It’s a great way for me to read scripture daily on my phone and use the prompts to pray. I also LOVE their artwork and have bought some to add to our home.
I also like starting off the morning right with my Rae Dun mug my friend and team trainer Shannon gave to me. The word for me this year was faith and boy did the year live up to its name. At our going away party for our foster daughter, Shannon gave me this beautiful mug with the word ‘Faith’ on it. I use that mug almost every day. It’s a reminder that stepping into the hard places is tough. We don’t always have a roadmap but I can have faith in the one who directs my path and has my best intentions. I need that beautiful reminder every morning.
This line of pottery is AMAZING. I want to buy one of everything. It would be a great gift for anyone.
This might also be a tough one to pick up for someone else, but coaching has been key to my business. Maybe you could purchase a strategy session for them with someone they respect. Listen for people they mention, look at the podcasts they are listening to, see if that person offers a 1-hour coaching session.
Valuable business books or an Amazon gift card to buy books. I know many times I’ll hop onto Amazon to make a list of the ones I want to buy and dial back because I feel like I shouldn’t spend the money. Having a gift card will make it easier to purchase. My favorite business books in my Amazon store.
Conference ticket — purchase a conference ticket for someone would be a great gift, especially if they have been talking about it. I know they can buy this for themselves with their business money but if they don’t have much capital, this might be a good gift. Nothing can replace live learning. Here are my favorites:
- Activate — new or intermediate bloggers. Covers all pertinent areas of your business. Will be in Orlando next fall. I attended this year here in PDX and it was well-crafted and provided a ton of networking support.
- Social Media Marketing World — all levels of people working online and in social media. This conference rocks my world every time.
- Everyday Food — Fantastic Food Blogger conference this coming May in Utah. I haven’t been before but I’ll be speaking this coming year.
- Indulge Conference — Again for food bloggers but very small and intimate. I’ve been twice and love it. This year’s location is in LA.
- SNAP — the conference for makers. If you’re a DIY, lifestyle, crafty person this conference is for you. Located in Salt Lake City.
Business travel can be tough and sometimes be lugging around your computer and electronics can be hard on your back. I was traveling with this horrible, but super cute, bag from Target. My arm was killing me and I knew I needed a backpack.
My friend Katie loves Cath Kidston and had a super cool backpack for her job. I bought the Cath Kidston laptop backpack and I have never looked back or for another option. I picked up the cute one with birds but this polka dot one has me swooning. It’s spendy but the oilcloth fabric keeps it clean and I really don’t have a need to buy anything else. I have this one that my friend bought me in Taiwan and I like it but favor the backpack.
This company is based out of the UK so if you order something to be shipped to the US make sure you join with friends so you can all eat the import tax and shipping.
Working in yoga pants every once in a while is okay, but if it’s every day you start to feel like you’re dressing. I’ve made an effort over the last year to only buy clothes that I look good in as well as feel good in. Here is my favorite that I wear weekly.
Wit & Wisdom Jeans — these are the BEST! Bootcut, skinnies, they have a fit for every body type and they are not expensive. Watch the Nordstrom anniversary sale for deals.
Pleione Tops — these add a pop of color if I’m going to do something on camera and they don’t hug my muffin top.
Zella pants and sweatshirt — these are good for those yoga pants or cool days. Never choose a plain sweatshirt, add some pop.
Lucky booties — I’ve had these now for 3 years and they are one of the most comfortable pair of shoes I own. And yes, I put on shoes to work instead of slippers.
Toms Flats — Another purchase from a previous year’s Nordstrom anniversary sale. My feet get super cold so after October these retire but they are a summer and spring staple.
Summer Ellis necklace — I picked this up at her little shop when I visited Waco this past year. It’s the perfect simple design. The one I purchased isn’t on the site but all of her designs are amazing and I love that she’s a small local business.
Experiences & Events
I need my friends. I’ve always been an extrovert who loves having deep conversations with people. It’s the main internal struggle I have conferences. I want to go deep and love hearing about your why, not just your tagline.
I build in a few trips per year with friends. We head out to Skamania Lodge for wine tasting or to the beach for a women’s weekend. Giving the WAHM mom time in her life to get away is so valuable to not only her overhaul health but to her creativity.
If getting away for the weekend just won’t work consider giving a gift card for a morning breakfast out with friends or a pedicure. These are fantastic gifts that are life-giving. I need these in my life.
So tell me, what are your favorite gifts for the WAHM or ones you would like to receive as the WAHM?
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