6 strategies to get work done—even while the kids are at home

One mama is running a baby bow empire—during naptime. Here’s how she does it. 

6 strategies to get work done—even while the kids are at home

Motherly @ Work features the stories and insights of modern women growing their careers—and their families.

A little over two years ago, Alysse Litster was expecting her second child, a girl this time, and her family was struggling to makes ends meet. Her firstborn was a boy—Cash—and her little girl would be named Poppi.

Alysse knew she wanted to spend as much time with her kids as possible, and still hustle. So, the retired makeup artist turned stay-at-home mama opened an Etsy shop called Peekabloom Baby, and turned it into a baby accessory empire, shipping over 3,000 orders a month and stocking 60 retail locations.


But it’s not always easy, managing a business, maintaining a marriage, and growing your kids into mature, responsible humans. The worlds are constantly overlapping, vying for her attention.

“Running a business with kids in the house is not always easy, especially when your house is 800 square feet and you share your office with your husband. Our space is cramped, and while I do try to work when everyone's in bed it's not always the case. We have a few things we do when mama has to work and the kids need some attention too,” Alysse explains.

Here’s how Alysse makes working from home—with kids—happen:

1. Let your partner help

My husband always tries to make as much time for me to work as possible. On nice days he takes the kids up to the park to run off their energy and give me the quiet time I need. If the weather is rotten, he'll try to involve them in making dinner or some other house chore. It's not quiet by any means, but my office space is empty and I can work.

2. Coloring and crafts

Sometimes I get pens and paper and let them do a little art at my feet, which they love. If they’re being wild, I can usually distract them with tape or the hole punch!

When that won’t do, and the littles are truly wild, I pull out the big guns....glue sticks.

My kids will sit quietly forever with the promise of glue! I'll cut up scrap felt and glitter fabric and let them make magic. Of course, this is for older kids only.

3. Playmate babysitter

The best thing ever to come by our family has been our playmate babysitter. He’s not old enough to leave the kids home alone with him, but for a few hours of playtime and the promise of some spare pocket money, he comes over just to hang out and entertain my kiddies. The kids love having him over to play Lego and make crafts, and he always comes prepared with a bag of goodies to entertain them.

4. Audiobooks or reading

Audiobooks are a great way to entertain your kids. There’s some great ones by Disney, and it’s often that little extra bit of entertainment they need to stretch playtime from 20 minutes to an hour.

5. The iPad

Of course, we have the iPad, we set up a comfy pillow and blanket and Cash or Poppi will settle in, but it's not much of a long term solution. There’s lots of educational games and movies available, and a little bit of screen time never hurt anybody. We don’t overdue it, and the kids know that when iPad time is done, it’s done.

6. After bedtime

If all else fails, I work after the kids go to bed. What’s owning your own business without a little hustle, right?

Peekabloom Baby’s beautiful accessories (use code “TAKE10” for 10% off)

More Motherly wisdom from Alysse—

How do you make your mornings run smoothly?

Alysse Litster: The key to making sure my morning, and well, every aspect of my day, is coffee, a husband that takes on so much of the work load and brings said coffee to me in bed, and my morning phone call with my mom (which is usually the first call of my day.)

My husband does everything to help me have a smooth morning. We are still trying to adjust to kindergarten life in this house, so to make things easier for me in the mornings, he has our son’s lunch already made. It’s a little bit of help that goes a long way to getting us out the door on time, which is never easy for me.

I always try to call my mom before we leave for school, or when we get home from our morning drop off. It’s the most important part of my day. Ask my husband. I mean, if I don’t talk to my mom during the day I am a mess. We never stop needing our mamas.

The lifehack or tip that has changed my life. . .

Alysse Litster: I think something that has really changed in the last month is asking for more help.

I design, make, manufacture, ship, and photograph everything available in my shop. It can be really overwhelming when huge numbers of orders are staring you down.

So I asked for help—starting with my husband. Now, he cuts bows and crowns, and does 90% of the shipping to the post office.

Delegating is hard, especially when it’s your name on the line and you have exacting standards. But now I’m less stressed and turning around orders faster.

Win win!

What superpower have you discovered as a mom?

Alysse Litster: I’m not sure if I’ve discovered my super power yet.

The honest truth is I’m just trying to get through the day to day.

Being a mom is hard. Haaaaaard, I’m not sure if I’m doing a good job yet.

Most days my business gets more attention than my kids, we eat microwave dinners more than I want to admit, I wash the same load of laundry at least three times before it makes it to the dryer…

I want to be a good mom, a good wife, and a kick ass entrepreneur, and I’m just trying to find balance.

Maybe balance will be my super power.

This quote inspires me. . .

Alysse Litster: Everyone who knows me, knows my love for DJ Khaled! I seriously love him, I can’t get enough. I mean it’s funny and it’s silly, but he comes from the best place. I’ve kept his appearance on Ellen on my PVR for months now, and I seriously watch it once a week.

He’s preaching some seriously good lessons. He talks about “they.” “They” are those people bringing you down. He’s totally got it. You have to stay away from the negativity, and on social media that can be so hard.

Let the doubters keep you hungry for more success.

I want to be the best bow shop out there. I want to be snap chatting about bows with DJ Khaled!

To me Motherly means…

Alysse Litster: Love & patience. I’m not sure if I’m doing right, but I hope my kids think I am.

Haley Campbell is the founder of Beluga Baby and creator of the ultimate bamboo baby carrier. She is a regular contributor to Motherly’s momboss series and is an avid advocate for entrepreneurs, and for the new generation of mothers making the world their own.

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.


Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.


Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.


Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.


Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.


Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

There are major health benefits when baby looks just like dad, says study

They had fewer emergency room visits and were less likely to suffer from asthma + illness, according to findings.

We’re the ones who carry them for nine months, so it can be a bit of shock when a baby is born looking nothing like us. It might even feel a bit unfair, but don’t take it too hard, mama. Science proves looking like dad has some big benefits for babies.

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