The joy and wonder that comes with your baby’s birth can easily turn into stress and strain when it comes time to start working again. If you have to return to work, you will need to find childcare arrangements that you trust.
But, what if you have decided to continue your career from home?
How exactly do you fulfill your career goals while working at home with a baby?
Here are a few tips and tricks to help any parent who is planning on working at home – some obviously just apply to mom, some apply to both mom and/or dad – while also taking care of that sweet new addition to your family.
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12 Tips From Moms Who Make It Work
This post comes from one of the moms on our team – if you’ve got thoughts, questions, or feedback please leave a comment below!
Work While the Baby is Napping
We have all heard the cliche (and unrealistic) advice of sleeping when the baby is sleeping. In theory, this is good advice for catching up on your sleep and making sure that you are rested enough to take care of an infant.
However, we are going to tweak that advice a little so that it fits better with working from home: work when the baby sleeps! Babies who are under a year old spend a good portion of their time napping.
This is the perfect time to strap down and get as much work as possible done. The younger your baby is, the more naps that they will want to take, which means more work time for you. Once you get into the routine, you will be surprised by the amount of work you get done during a nice, quiet nap time!
What about While the Baby is Awake?
Just like sleeping when the baby sleeps, working while the baby is sleeping is not always ideal. Your baby may not be a good napper, or perhaps a car backfired and woke up your sleeping bundle of joy. Whatever the case is, it is best to have a backup plan for that first piece of advice.
If you need to work while your baby is awake, it is best to try and do that when your baby is at its calmest.
Usually, babies are calmest after eating or after waking up, so try to fit in some work during these times as well.
With a set routine, quiet time can prove a very effective time for you to work.
Work While Baby Carrying
Above all else, our babies want to be close to us. And nothing will get your baby closer to you than a baby carrier.
Strap your baby to the front of you, and work while you are standing.
Your baby will be thrilled with all the skin-to-skin contact they are receiving, and you will be able to get as much work done as you want.
You will be surprised at all the uninterrupted work time that your happy and comfortable baby rewards you with.
Who knows, you may even get a couple of hours’ worth of work done while your baby is strapped to you.
Technology Can Help You Be More Productive
We have all heard that we should not let technology babysit our babies, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures.
Though an infant’s vision is not great until they are about five months old, there is always the chance they will be mesmerized by a fun children’s show.
If your baby is being a particularly fussy baby, try setting the baby swing in front of the television.
If this screen time catches your baby’s undivided attention, you may be able to buy yourself large chunks of time to get some extra work done.
Work More Family-Friendly Hours
There are many jobs that require you to work certain hours, and there is nothing you can do except try your best to work during these hours.
However, if you have a more flexible job, it may make more sense to carve out your workable hours from other times during the day.
If your babysitter is only available in the afternoon, you may want to consider moving your work schedule to that time.
Sometimes, you may have to carve out random blocks of time where you will be able to get the most uninterrupted time.
Working more evening hours can also be a great option that will allow you to get your work done and still enjoy some much-needed family time.
Make Sure to Take Breaks
When you are dividing most of your time between working and parental duties, it is easy to get caught up in those two tasks.
However, it is important for your mental state to take a few breaks throughout the day.
Pack up baby, strap him in his stroller, and take a 15-minute walk around the neighborhood. You will feel better after some fresh air and some exercise, and your fussy baby will feel better as well.
If it’s a rainy day, take a small break to help your infant do something fun, like read a book or build a tower with blocks.
Try Not to Feel Guilty
It can be hard to dedicate so much time to your work while your baby is in the same house.
Sometimes all you want to do is cuddle and spend time with him.
Remember that working from home doesn’t mean you’re not doing anything worthwhile.
In fact, many people who work from home say they actually enjoy it more than going into an office.
If you’re feeling guilty about work taking your attention away from your kids, try to remember that you’re providing them with a better life than most parents could ever dream of.
Great time management can ensure that you have time to work and time to spend with your family.
Be Prepared to Share the Workload
While working from home, it is easy to feel like you have to do it all.
You are home, after all, so why should you not be in charge of the house chores and errands as well? But remember that this is the quickest way to overstretch yourself as a work-from-home parent.
In order to avoid this burnout, it is important to share your workload with your spouse (or anyone else willing to help).
Let your partner take over parenting duties when they get home. Do not be afraid to ask for help with the chores, and be mindful that people do chores in different ways.
Take turns working and caring for children if you are both working from home.
This ensures that you both are getting enough time to finish your work and that both of you are getting to spend time with that cute little bundle of joy.
Set a Schedule and Try to Stick to it!
If you’re planning to work from home, you’ll need a daily schedule to keep yourself organized.
This will include everything from what you eat to when you exercise. A simple spreadsheet works well for this purpose.
Completing everything on your schedule is a rare occurrence, even without taking care of another person, but even a rough draft of your schedule will help you feel more accomplished.
To start with, make a short list of tasks to complete for the day. When you get good at completing these tasks, add them to your schedule to make it more thorough.
Work While You Breastfeed or Pump
If you have decided to breastfeed or feed your baby pumped breast milk, you have just opened up a little free time to get some work done.
Invest in a nursing wrap that will allow you to comfortably wrap your baby up against your chest.
This makes hands-free breastfeeding a breeze.
Likewise, investing in a hands-free electric pump will allow you to pump while you are working. Who knows, you may even be able to pull this off during your daily Zoom meeting!
Dress for Work
It can be very tempting to roll out of bed and work all day in your three-day-old pajamas, but this can negatively impact your productivity.
Consider changing into a professional outfit first thing in the morning, and then changing into more comfortable clothes in the evening.
Not only will you feel more like a professional, but you will also be more productive during your work hours.
Changing out of your work clothes will also signal to your brain that work is over, so you will be less tempted to continue working after hours.
Also, working while in your pajamas may sound like the best part of working from home; if that is the case, take advantage of that comfort!
Use Your Weekends Wisely
As a parent, you will be required to sacrifice many of your weekends, and it starts early.
You make want to consider using your weekends to catch up on any work or to get a head start on your work for next week.
Alternatively, you may want to cook and freeze all the meals for the week over the weekend.
This will help the weekdays flow more smoothly and will save you from the “what’s for dinner” discussion daily.
You can also use this time to find fun things for you and your baby to do throughout the coming week.
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