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Working from home is a dream come true for so many parents, but it can quickly turn into a juggling act when you’ve got a baby in the mix. However, don’t get discouraged, because you, yes you, can successfully navigate this chaotic and rewarding experience!
As a work-from-home parent, you’ll learn innovative ways to make the most out of every precious moment, because let’s face it, babies can be unpredictable. With proper planning and organization, you can strike a balance between your professional life and caring for your little one as you learn how to work from home with a baby!
So, buckle up and prepare to become the CEO of your home office while juggling diaper changes and impromptu dance parties!
General tips for the work-at-home parent
You might think as work-at-home-parents that life will be as easy as pie, but trust us, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Fear not, the following tips will help you get through your workday without losing your sanity (hopefully).
- First and foremost, establish a routine for the week ahead that incorporates both your work and parenting responsibilities. We know it’s easier said than done, but having a schedule will not only help you stay organized but also prevent your baby from suddenly becoming your new boss.
- Next, set clear boundaries. Not just physical ones like having your own space and a dedicated workspace, but also with your child. Communicate with them when it’s mommy/daddy’s work time and when it’s time for cuddles and playtime.
- Don’t forget the importance of taking breaks. Utilize your baby’s nap times to refocus and reset – maybe even squeeze in a power nap yourself. Remember, a well-rested parent is a happy parent, and a happy parent is a productive one.
- Now, what do you do when your little one demands your attention while you’re juggling work tasks and deadlines? Multitask! But do it wisely. For example, catch up on some reading or answer emails during their tummy time sessions.
- Lastly, cut yourself some slack. Learning how to work from home with a baby can be challenging, and there’ll be days when everything goes haywire. Don’t be too hard on yourself; working parents often feel guilty but you’re doing the best that you can. And you aren’t alone –61.9 percent of married couples with children under 18 both work.
Surviving the baby stages while working
Working from home with a baby can often feel overwhelming, like you’re trying to maintain your career amidst an onslaught of mini dictators. To help you navigate this far-from-easy task, I’ve divided the journey into three developmental stages, each with its own set of strategies to keep you sane and productive.
Newborn (0-4 Months)
Your newborn may seem like the epitome of an unforgiving taskmaster, but remember that they’re also utterly helpless and dependent on you. To survive this stage:
- Don’t jump in too early. Take the time in the first 2 weeks postpartum to bond with your baby.
Take advantage of naptime to focus on important tasks before your baby wakes
Keep a to-do list handy so you don’t forget anything while attending to the newest member of the household
Communicate openly with clients and colleagues about your new situation, and you’ll likely find them supportive and understanding
Infant (4-12 Months)
As your baby develops into an infant, she’ll start exploring the world, inevitably invading your workspace. Consider these approaches:
Establish a safe, designated play area within view of your workspace but not close enough to cause chaos
Invest in a baby carrier so you can walk and bounce the baby to sleep while making calls. A baby swing could work well too.
Introduce focused, short bursts of work during quieter moments
Toddlers (1-3 Years)
Toddlers have perfected the art of tyranny and may unapologetically interrupt your work at any moment. To counter the toddler takeover, try:
Multitasking during playtime – answer emails or handle smaller tasks while engaging with your toddler
Establishing a consistent nap routine, allowing you to schedule important calls and focus on uninterrupted work
Enlisting the help of a trusted babysitter or family member for a few hours a day to let you concentrate on work.
Remember, each stage comes with its own challenges and opportunities. Stay flexible, adapt your strategies, and embrace the chaos as you work from home and spend time with your baby.
Clever parenting hacks
Baby carriers: The wearable office
Turn your little one into a wearable office with the help of a baby carrier. Babywearing allows you to keep your hands free for typing away on your laptop or tackling other tasks, all while keeping your baby close and content. Say hello to increased productivity and happy snuggles.
Breastfeeding board meetings
Who says you can’t close a deal while nursing? Breastfeeding can be incorporated seamlessly into your work-from-home routine. One-handed typing might take some practice, but once you master it, you’ll be responding to emails and attending virtual meetings like a pro. You may even try a hands free pump to pump breast milk that you then store at work in a pitcher. Don’t forget a comfy nursing pillow and chair to support your baby.
Babies are notorious for their unpredictable napping patterns, but I have a hack for creating some much-needed quiet time: invest in a white noise machine. This magical device can help soothe your little one to sleep, providing you with a brief but precious window of two hours of peace to focus on your work.
Hydrate and nourish
Find a way to keep yourself hydrated and properly nourished. If you are breastfeeding you may find breastfeeding-friendly protein powders are ideal for you while you snack on lactation cookies – whatever works for you!
When setting up your workspace, consider creating a baby-sized workstation right next to yours. This allows your little one to feel included while giving you the flexibility to keep an eye on them as you work. You can place a soft and colorful mat alongside your desk and add age-appropriate toys to keep your baby engaged.
Play area: The kids corner office
Transforming an area of your workspace into a designated independent play area can work wonders for both you and your baby. Separate this area using a baby gate or a creative room divider to ensure that it’s both safe and stimulating for your little one.
Here are some essentials for the perfect Kiddie Corner Office:
Soft, comfortable flooring to cushion those tiny, crawling knees
A basket full of baby’s favorite toys and books to keep them entertained and curious
Visual stimulation like baby-safe mirrors, posters, or wall decals
A cozy corner for rest and relaxation
Remember, the key to working from home with a baby is to balance productivity and care. By incorporating these tips you’ll optimize your work in no time. Just keep your sense of humor close by!
Mastering time management
Let’s jump into time management strategies that’ll help you stay productive, efficient and achieve a better work life balance.
Child’s daily schedule
Having a flexible daily schedule for your child is crucial. It helps you plan your day and ensures predictability for your little one. However, always be prepared to adapt, as young kids and babies are notorious for changing the rules at the drop of a hat.
Taking advantage of playtime
When your baby is happily playing, seize the moment! Use their playtime to tackle tasks that require moderate focus. You can even prep a list of these tasks in advance so you’re ready to jump in when the opportunity strikes.
Deep work during uninterrupted time
Try setting aside blocks of time for deep work when your baby is sleeping or otherwise occupied. Maximize productivity by tackling high-concentration tasks during these precious quiet moments.
This fantastic trick involves scheduling focused chunks of time for specific tasks. Whether you use a good old-fashioned paper planner or a fancy digital app, time-blocking helps you stay on track while making the most of your limited time. Every week, plan your tasks in advance and assign each a designated time-block.
Partners in crime
Mastering how to work from home with a baby can seem like a Mission Impossible sequel, but with a capable sidekick (your partner), you can tackle this challenge head-on. In this section, we explore how teamwork works wonders in the home office arena.
Now that’s what you need while working from home with an infant! It’s all about playing to each other’s strengths and dividing tasks. So, while one of you is busy on a Zoom call, the other can do a diaper change. Upwork suggests taking turns to feed and entertain the baby, allowing each other some focused work time to earn money.
Work different hours
Changing circumstances call for creative solutions to maintain work-life balance. Enter, alternative working hours! Divide the day between early mornings and late-night productivity bursts.
Partner A: 5 am – 9 am and 2 pm – 6 pm
Partner B: 9 am – 1 pm and 6 pm – 10 pm
Adopting flexible hours helps maintain sanity (a precious commodity for most parents these days) if you both work a full time job and ensures each parent has the opportunity to successfully juggle their children.
Remember, teamwork makes the dream work. Or, in this case, helps keep you both sane and productive during this home-office-with-a-baby roller-coaster ride.
Lists: The backbone of sanity
As a working parent with a baby, you know how chaotic life can get. That’s why lists are your new best friend. A simple daily, weekly or monthy list can make all the difference in keeping your sanity in check. Keep your tasks organized with color-coding, due dates, and appropriate priority levels. Be sure to throw in a few personal tasks, too, like squeezing in a nap or actually consuming a meal while it’s still warm.
Try using tools like Trello or Asana to manage your to-do lists digitally. Having a visual reminder of what needs to be accomplished can help you stay focused and ensure that nothing slips through the cracks.
Conference calls are a normal part of normal life when remote working from home, but throw in a crying baby, and things can escalate quickly!
First of all, give your colleagues a gentle heads-up about your new coworker. Most people appreciate honesty, and it might even spark a chuckle. Next, invest in a quality headset with a mute button, so you have an emergency escape hatch when your little one decides to make their presence known during a crucial call.
Also, consider setting aside specific “core work hours” where you know you’ll be available for conference call meetings and phone calls, and communicate those with your team. This way, you can schedule your baby’s needs and your work needs with a bit more harmony (and a lot less stress).
Getting some help
Childcare: A Helping Hand
One of the best solutions for juggling your own hours at work and baby duties is enlisting the help of a childcare provider. Whether it’s a family member, friend, or professional service, having an extra pair of hands can be a game changer. As a busy parent working alone, you deserve some support!
Consider the following childcare options:
Family members: Reach out to Grandma or Grandpa, Auntie, or Uncle. They might be craving some bonding time with your little one, and you can take advantage of the extra help and save money!
Friends with kids: Partner up with other working moms in your circle and swap childcare duties. It’s like killing two birds with one stone – the kids can have a playdate while you tend to your work.
Professional services: Hire a part-time or full-time nanny, or even look into daycare options in your area. Check local and national publications for recommended services and be sure to pick the right person for the job to ensure a smooth working relationship.
Keep in mind these options come with varying levels of commitment and cost. Carefully evaluate what will “mesh” with your work schedule, baby duties, family time, and budget before making any moves.
With a bit of creativity and resourcefulness, you can find a helping hand to strike the perfect balance between work and baby. Just remember, give yourself a well-deserved break, and enjoy a successful work-from-home life with your baby.
The art of taking breaks
First on the agenda, consider trying the Pomodoro technique. Set a timer for 25 minutes of work and reward yourself with a glorious 5-minute break. Your break doesn’t have to be spent watching your baby, but it can be spent trying to locate their missing sock. Parenthood is full of surprises!
Here are some break ideas for you:
Take a short walk
Grab a healthy snack (maybe share with your baby if they’re into solid foods)
Engage in a brief cuddle session with your little one (built-in stress relief!)
If your baby’s napping, don’t just power through your workload. Use that nap time for a well-deserved break, too. A wise new parent once said, “Nap when your baby naps, and break when your baby breaks.” (Not quite, but we’re sure someone’s said this.)
In all seriousness, taking regular breaks does wonders for your own mental health, well-being and productivity. So, why not impart that wisdom upon your baby, and take mindful breaks together? Happy parents, happy babies, happy workday!
I work from home now as a mompreneur after a long career doing shift work as a paramedic. Truely, I wouldn’t have it any other way but it has taken a good few months to establish a healthy balance in our household! For all the new moms out there: just remember that career is important of course but you never get those first few years of life back. Enjoy the opportunity of being present with your baby – plenty of moms would love the chance of a cuddle with their baby at lunchtime or be around for every bathtime.
The biggest takeaway I can give you is: be flexible!
Fancy being a stay-at-home mom but not sure how? Check out my post: How to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom: 5 Epic Secrets for Thriving
Love the idea of being a mompreneur but need some inspiration? have a browse through my ideas: 27 Business Ideas For Stay-at-Home Moms: Quick & Easy Startups
If you are new to business or want some guidance to start your business the right way use my book Stop the self-doubt … and hustle anyway!: A guided workbook planner to kickstart your side hustle business! to get off on the right track!
Have questions? I have answers.
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