working from home when you have little ones

As a newlywed I’m not quite sure how I thought I was going to be a stay at home mummy and keep up my usual spending and lifestyle. I don’t know where the money tree was supposed to be or why it hadn’t occurred to me that times were going to be tighter. But reality set in when Keira was a few months old. We had a mortgage on our new house, a new baby, I wasn’t bringing in any money and even just shopping for clothes and things at big w and target was costing us money. I learnt pretty early on that if I wanted to spend money and have my crafts then I needed to bring some money in myself.

So I tried avon – there’s no money in it! I then moved on to tupperware and loved it. I’m a huge tupperholic (yes, there is a name for us) and it was great to be bringing money in although husbands don’t love the plastic that invades your house. But for me it was hard to try to do parties and attend the weekly sales meetings with a baby and a husband who was late home or travelling overseas. But I enjoyed it while it lasted and my mum was helping me out behind the scenes. Doing the tupperware gave me the confidence to set up an online store and give it a go. We went to japan with a big empty suitcase and came home with $1000 worth of fabric. And that was how I started my first online store.

I ran the store for a few years and loved it but also hated it at times. Customer service is hard work. Big online stores have people to do their packaging and posting for them and can post parcels off that night or the next day. Little one woman shops have to do everything for themselves and that means even when you’re absolutely exhausted or had a crazy day or sick kids you still have to get orders out in the mail. It was hard work but it was fun at the same time. I made the most beautiful friends and customers and I did love having all of that gorgeous fabric in my house. I reluctantly closed the store for good last year but feel very lucky to be working with my blog and just loving what I do.

And you don’t need to have a big business mind to be bringing in some money to the household budget! Making and selling things to friends, minding other little ones while you are at home, having a market stall (there are so many great little markets now popping up), selling new or second hand things online, doing party plan on weekends or like me using my blog and working online.

And it kind of strikes me as funny that I’ve never been as busy working as I am now and I’ve never had this many little ones to look after! But working from home is just a dream come true if you can do it and bring some money in. But I’m always clear to point out that you must never forget the reason you are home!!!!! Whatever happens I make sure my little ones know that I’m here for them and that they come first. I’ve turned down trips and I hardly attend any PR events because they are all weekdays when I’m busy on the homefront.

and so here are my top tips for working from home:

– make a list of jobs that you HAVE to get done each day/that week so you can prioritise and not forget anything. Include the personal/family jobs in the list too. Nothing like the feeling of crossing things off a list.

– I don’t do phone calls! Unless you are my grandma or my nana. I do email and text msgs and will answer the phone but I’m not a phone call maker. I never have been. Anyone who has called me will know there is no peace and quiet in this house. And also phone calls can tend to go on a bit too long. I’m a girl, I like to talk. If I have to do a call then I schedule it for the day we have our nanny in so I can be guaranteed a little peace and quiet. I don’t know what it is with little people but as soon as you are on that phone they need something or decide to do something they shouldn’t do.

– if you’re really struggling with time and getting things done then get someone in to help you – whether it’s a student or friend to help you with your business for a few hours or giving you an extra pair of hands on the homefront. If you are making some money then using a bit of that money to get some help could mean you’re in business for longer and a little less stressed out. Or pay them in product!

– when you have deadlines take your laptop to the playroom and outside. I am pretty lucky that having so many little ones means they all play together. This afternoon a littlest pet shop jigsaw and pretending we had a fairy cupcake shop had everyone involved and let me catch up on emails and get some washing done and out on the line.

– don’t let your inbox get out of control. But I don’t know the solution to this because I have over 12,000 emails in mine but I’m getting better at deleting as I go and putting things into folders. It’s just there is a lot of history in my inbox. If you’ve got a secret for a fabulous email inbox then please let me know.

– school pick up is a great time to check emails and msgs and get on your facebook page. I can have up to 3 of the little ones asleep in the back of the van and it’s a good time to check emails and msgs. I like to get to school early for a good park so it’s also a great time to grab a bit of knitting.

– think about which social media is best for you and your work. I was so reluctant to join instagram because I was a little maxxed out in the social media department. I love facebook because my readers are all there, twitter moves too fast and sucks me in and is not necessarily productive so I’m not on there much, pinterest is fun and is great for feeding time or when I’m a bit bored, instagram is how I record my day to day stuff……..and I hang out where my readers are.

 – make sure you have lots of times where the computer and phone are switched off! For me this is my baking time, my craft time, my tv time and my taking the little ones out and about. This is us this morning trying to water the garden – we all got wet but had fun while doing a job on my list!

– if you can’t get much done during the day then use your night times productively. I am a night owl which is good and bad….I tend to write most of my blog posts at night, do the photos in the day, team them together, check and double check them and publish either super early in the morning or later in the day. The bad of working at night is that I can feel myself drifting off to sleep while sitting upright with the laptop.

– oh and work on your eyes in the back of your head! Elodie has discovered climbing on to everything and climbing up the stairs faster than I can say ‘where is elodie!’ So make sure you can see everyone and everyone can see you. If I want to sit and do an hours work during the daytime I get snacks out, drink bottles ready, toys out and sit nearby. Everyone can see everyone and I can sit for a while. I love that emerson naps in the daytime.

– Our laundry is next to the downstairs bathroom so every time I go to the bathroom I chuck a load of washing in or fill up the basket. I put the basket next to the door and get it out and take little people outside for a good run around.

– remember you’re not perfect at everything! Oh boy, the pressure we put on ourselves! Lose weight, look good, be fit, have a clean and perfect house, have your kids in 50 million after school activities, help out at school, work from home, cook all your meals from scratch……….who can be perfect at everything! Work out your priorities – clearly exercise is not one of mine but trying to eat right is so I might not be exercising but I am trying to eat right and that makes me feel better. I tidy after dinner or bath time and then again before bed. Not much point in tidying too much before little people have finished playing…..

– don’t overcommit! this is a hard one but know your limits and your workload. Keeping a good calender of what you have on – again both workwise and personally for the family means you can see what is coming up and whether you can take on more or not.

– and lastly always have a good supply of snacks stashed away. Unfortunately there is no vending machine in the home office so I like to know that when deadlines are looming or I’m having a crazier than crazy day that I can find a bit of chocolate in my pantry.

And I’d love to hear if you’re working from home or have any top tips to add. Or maybe you have a question? Fire away………………

p.s my last market is next Saturday 17th November at Leichardt Town Hall from 9am -1pm. I’m clearing all stock out including some lovely new stuff so I can makeover my craft room in time for Christmas. Come on down and say hi! I love a chat!


  1. Love this! I’ve been working from home since Riley was three months old and it helps me to have the life that we want to have but it’s not always easy!

    Having water and snacks and activities ready is definitely something that I need to do! For me the house stuff is always something that suffers so I need to look into ways of being smart about that and doing things as I go a bit more.

    Something that really helps me is having a desktop set up so I stand up to work on it. I find that the kidlets do their own thing a whole lot more if I am not sitting down!

    For me 12 hours of work is about the maximum I can manage. If I take on anything more than that I would have to get help in. Although there was a horrible period of around 8 weeks where I was working a 40 hour week with no help while the house was being painted. Never again!

  2. Hi Corrie, you are one amazing girl. Did you mention you achieve all this by a lots & lots of effort, boundless motivation and by being super organized. Say again you are AMAZING. Happy Days Chris xx

  3. A very thoughtful post which focuses on the positive ways to parent and maintain your home. I am past that stage now but I agree that the kids are the important part and being very organized most of the time is your best help at getting things done on time.

  4. When my oldest was 6 months old, I went back to work full time and quickly discovered it would not work for our family. My daughter got very sick and required several stays in hospital. I realised where my priorities lay and quit my job for good. The extra months working however mean’t we paid off the mortgage in our first home so although money was tight, there was no real pressure for me to generate an income.

    When my second child was 3 years old, I discovered Trademe and found it great for selling off things we no longer needed or were spilling over from our home. This was great for that bit of extra cash and ten years later I still use Trademe for spring cleaning.

    When my third child came along however, we had a new home, a morgage and the internet became my best friend. I started an online business making and selling cloth nappies. I learn’t soo much and even managed to teach myself web design. I worked when my children were in bed or at kindy.

    Now that all three children are at school, I am ready for part time work but I wouldn’t have had the pre school years any other way.

  5. This was a most I needed to read. This is the first time I’ve worked from home and I’ve been struggling. X

  6. Wow, congratulations on such an amazing job working from home. I’m feeling inspired to do something too. Now I just have to think of something! Love your blog, so real and what a gorgeous family.

  7. Great post Corrie! I have yet to perfect the eyes in the back of my head and you’re right, deadlines creep up and market preps are chaos bvt I wouldn’t swap our crazy work-from-home life for an office any day.

  8. I am really hoping to be able to grow my little blog next year which is going to take time I know.
    I have been thinking for ages about how best to schedule things to make the most of the day and also of my boys.
    Will be easier when Eli is in kindy, but that’s not for another 12 months yet.
    I’m pretty good with sorting out routines so I’m sure I’ll find a way

  9. I loved this post – I’m so excited to be growing my blog ( and I hope to be able to start bringing in some form of money whilst I am on maternity leave (beginning in March 2012). Beforehand would be awesome – I am doing my first Nuffnang Product Talk next week. I’d love the ability to be a stay at home mum and have 5 kiddies (like someone AWESOME I know). Any more tips would be greatly appreciated. Shari xox

  10. Love this post – It really is crazy with little ones and a business but nothing beats having your little people around you everyday .

  11. This is such a great post, thank you! I’m on maternity leave with baby number two and have just started up a little online business (it’s on hold for the moment because I’m 39+ weeks!), I’m really hoping to find some balance once the baby comes along and I have a toddler, a newborn and a business to run. If you can do it with five, here’s hoping I can with two! Thanks again for the inspiration :)

  12. Lots of inspiration here.

  13. Wow Corrie you always pack so much into your day! I couldn’t see my self doing a market I just like making clothes, quilts and allsorts for my baby and cousins. Very inspirational. Thankyou.

  14. Hi retro mummy, it sounds like there would never be a dull moment in your household. Thanks for the great post.

  15. I need to do this urgently! 3 kids under 5 (includes a baby) blogging, business and babies are a an interesting mix. Xlisa

  16. While I was a stay at home mom, I did my very best to save money in all manner of ways: sewing our clothes, cutting back on electricity, cooking from scratch, avoiding extra charges by paying bills on time, finding inexpensive ways to have fun, etc. I considered it part of my at home job and enlisted the boys in helping as they grew older. Being organized and allowing myself to be less than perfect was key to my sanity. Putting the kiddos first was so much more important than anything else going on. Enjoy the time you have with them!

  17. Hi Corrie what a great post. I left my job only a few weeks ago and am so happy being home and looking after my four kids. I started a blog and it is going well. The kids are at all at school so the middle of my days I run around like crazy getting everything done so I can spend time with them when I pick them up from school. I have been making some extra moey by doing some sewing (kids clothes and accessories) which means I can continue buying fabric and craft things. Same as you I feel I work so much harder and busier now than when I worked fulltime but I would not change a thing.

  18. Love this post Corrie! Especially the pics :-) how cute are your twins in the background of Keira having a chat, real life pic, love it! You be sure to take your daily multi vitamin Corrie, you don’t want to burn out busy lady! Hugs to all, XO Jetts

  19. Great tips Corrie! I would add just one…when you don’t have any little people or that helper is in the house-go, go, go! Today was my go go day. I schedule what I have to do, as you say, and stick to the timings. Otherwise I would only finish one thing. I never regret my decision to leave a humongous job at one of the big4 accounting firms for this….EVER!

  20. its funny that you mentioned the phonecall thing. I’ve never liked making calls (to people I dont know) but the other day I was wondering if 10 years as a stay at home mum had ruined me for phone making. I am literally scared to ring the bank, electricity, insurance… anxiety!! I will not be quiet enough, I cant think and I am scared to even make the call… started thinking I had issues! lucky my lovely husband will make most calls in his lunch hour but i feel bad about that!! lol. anyway that comment of yours had me smiling.

  21. Hey Corrie. This is a great list. I have only 2 young boys but they keep me busy and preoccupied. I am in the never ending planning phase of my etsy store. But I will get there when the time is right, when I can keep all the balls juggling! You do a great job. Thanks for the phone call tip. I feel dreadful for not calling my friends but find being both time poor and $strapped I simply can’t do the calls (mobile phone only). Its funny but it is like I now have a precedent to draw on hahahaha! xx Fi

  22. Hi Corrie

    Thank you for doing this post. It has come at a great time for me as I have been thinking a lot lately about starting some sort of business to bring some money into the household. I am on maternity leave with my first daughter (she is 4 weeks) and really don’t want to go back to full time work. I thought if I start thinking about my options now then by the time my 12 months is up I might have a better idea of what can work for us. I would love to start an online store selling some crocheted/knitted baby goodies and things and possibly also sell at markets on the Gold Coast. My main question is what do you think is the best platform for opening an online store (etsy, madeit, big cartel etc). Also, how did you have the confidence to spend the money and start the online store without knowing whether it would work or pay off. I think that is the biggest thing holding me back. I keep questioning “what if no one buys anything?”

    Also, do you have any tips on ways to grow your blog into a way to bring in some extra money? How did you start doing paid work through your blog?

  23. Today was my last day at my boring office job … well at least until the end of the year. I have six weeks off work, yaaay! It’s going to be 100% craft, 100% of the time. (I’d much rather have little ones to look after, but that’s not to be.) I’ll be doing 2 markets a week, making LOTS of new accessories to sell, and doing my best impersonation of a work-from-home entrepreneur. Thanks for your inspiration Corrie.

  24. Mummy WildThing says:

    LOVE, LOVE,LOVE this post!

  25. Hi Corrie,

    I have often wondered how you fit it all in and agree with the above comment you must be highly motivated, very impressive:)
    I work from home with two boys at home full time with me. I was lucky that the financial institution I work for let’s me do 16 hours of work per week from home. i manage it by doing appromximately 4 hours over 4 days.
    I check my workload the night before estimating how many hours I will need to put in the next day. I do most of it when my boys are asleep at night or during their rest time in the day. Once the boys are in bed I log straight on to work and don’t allow myself to check any social media outlets until my work has been completed( otherwise I can get lost in outlets like Pinterest and lose the motivation to work).
    I compete my housework and excercise in the morning so at night they are ticked off the list the house is in order and I can sit down to work and not be surrounded by a messy house! I shop online wherever possible and try to be organised for any upcoming events super early.
    Sometimes working from home is full on in terms of there is no leaving work. Somedays I look around and feel surrounded by work; house work and my other work. I have a husband who travels a lot and these weeks are the hardest but I feel so lucky to be able to stay at home and raise my boys full time and also contribute to the household earnings and I enjoy what I do aswell! Thanks for your post you have a great attitude to life Corrie:)

  26. Hi,
    Long time reader, first time commenter :). Great post, I found myself reading everything and having a few light bulb moments. My husband and I run our own business and found that when we had our baby (3months ago) that things had to change rapidly to fit around her. I was back working within 3 days of bring her home from hospital, but that’s what you got to do when you have a business to keep going :). I love your suggestions, the only thing I also recommend is don’t be afraid to ask, we had to change some thing when baby came, you never know unless you ask, I.e our policy is to have product back next morning by 9am, but we asked our clients if we could have until midday (which they all said yes) so that what I don’t get done the night before I do during her morning sleep. Thanks again for great post.

  27. I’m a wahm too and the thing that is my saviour is having a box of toys that is only used when I’m working. It’s a special box that Mr3 is only allowed when I have an important call to make or email to write and he’s not allowed them any other time. I have also painted the inside of my office door with blackboard paint which keeps the kids busy for ages! Once again, they’re only allowed to play on it when I’m really busy as a ‘treat’.

  28. Such great advice Corrie. I appreciate it!

  29. Very true! I was very excited about starting my own little biz a few years ago when i stopped working and had my first baby. It was great for about a year and then it demanded so much attention and i felt like i was neglecting my daughter so i could keep up with running the biz…this was the very reason i wanted to work from home- to spend great time with my children. I have just had my second and closed up my little store. My treasures need me more than i need the cash so i’m all their’s. Thanks heaps for sharing.

  30. Hi Corrie,
    Your generosity of sharing never ceases to amaze me. Likewise the wonderful comments and support from all your followers. I love that you all do it your way. Good luck to all you gorgeous enterprising young Mums of today. Lesley

  31. Loved this!! I realise my biggest problem is the internet/facebook. I waste so much time here but I love reading what others are doing and how they cope with day to day issues. It connects me with adult conversation during the day. Thanks for the reminder on all this. :)

  32. Hi there! I’m new to the world of blog following and must tell you how much I enjoy reading all that you have to say! I discovered you when I recently became an very proud owner of a thermomix!
    My little one in now 9 months old and I run an online business from home called BumpStuff. I am a qualified Osteopath who ran a successful practice in Melbourne only to decide at 30 weeks pregnant that I was not going to be able to be the mother and wife I wanted to be if I was working 6 days a week and putting all my care and attention into my patients. I identify with so much of this post but am only at the start of my journey! I hope that my business continues to grow so that I am able to stay at home like you. My biggest challenge in my business is marketing, how to get the word out there and ultimately make money! So this is my question to you… what is the best tip you can give me to help me make an online business and blog a success?

  33. Mama of 2 boys says:

    Oh Corrie, what a great post! I find you so inspirational, so reading these tips has really helped me. I am currently trying to forge a little at home business, in the form of an online store. Like yourself, I have tried various other money making ideas since having children. I do like the idea of staying at home, but definitely need to keep my mind busy and try and bring in some cash. I even did a party plan business for while when my first boy was a young baby. Love the photos here too! xo

  34. I wish I had your… Enthusiasm, passion, energy, commitment… I do have 2 kids and am back at work 2 days a week ( while hubby is home). It keeps me sain but cash is still limited. My tip for those of us with a fabric addiction is make gifts. If I were to buy a gift for a friends birthday say a cook book and casserole dish that’s at least $50 so I can spend that on stash fabric and give a table runner and coster set. Worth well more than $50 but cost me less. The same goes for kids. Hair clip holders, book bags, p.j pillows, stuffed toys. All the more stash to sew with and projects to make.

  35. you are super amazing. you really inspire me to do something..
    How do one start earning from blogging from home?




  1. […] you so much for the great response you’ve given me to my blog post about working from home with little ones. It’s funny how something I just take for granted […]

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