Thinking about working from home with a baby? Well this one is for you mama! I won’t tell you that is a magical ride and super easy because to be honest the last week was rough. My husband and I both work for companies that allow us to work virtually and with all the toys and distractions we own, I figured it wouldn’t be too hard, just different.
Well, its tough to juggle nursing, nap schedules, conference calls, video calls, emails, webinars, and make sure that you eat lunch, use the bathroom, (ya know, the basic human needs?) and keep your baby occupied during playtime. Here are a few things you should do if you are seriously considering going back to work or starting a new job (from home) after having a baby.
- Flexible Schedule
Our baby girl has been on a pretty consistent schedule since she was around 2.5 months old. She takes two morning naps and one or two in the afternoon. She is happier in the morning and much needier and fussy as the day progresses.
I highly recommend trying to get your baby on some sort of a predictable “schedule” (like Moms On Call suggests) so you can plan around nap times for conference calls. I pre-warn you to say some days your little one may refuse a nap and other days they may be like clockwork. It’s unpredictable just like new meetings pop-up on your schedule. Discuss with your boss about the ability to work in the morning and then maybe working in the evenings when your baby has gone to bed or when your spouse can help watch them. Every day is an adventure. It can be VERY frustrated when you are being pulled in two directions. Some days you may be doing good to get anything done at work and other days you will be doing good to babble with your little one or curl up for a nap. Hang in there! It’s not for the faint of heart.
2. Set Up a Baby-Friendly Office
Bouncy activity gym, a play mat with toys, a tummy time space with toys, an excersaucer and anything that can help entertain your little one is nice to have in your office space. Keep in mind that with all those fun things in her office, my daughter loves to hold my ear phone cords and stare at my computer screen. Lovely, right?
Another great thing to have is a baby carrier. She loves to sit close to me and it allows my hands to be free. We have the Ergobaby 360 (allows babies to face outward) and she loves it! I can type and stand at my kitchen bar to get some work done during those awake periods or when she is refusing a nap.
3. Schedule a Call on a Walk
If you have a meeting that doesn’t require you to be in front of your computer, perhaps you can put your baby in the stroller, attached your earphones to your cell phone and take a walk outside. This will allow you to keep your little one calm and occupied while you get some work done.
Here I had a few webinars I needed to watch. My daughter loves to be outside and she loves to be pushed in a stroller. This was a great way to keep her occupied and allowed me some time to focus.
4. Schedule Time on your Calendar for a Break
Before I had Brooke, I was adamant about taking a lunch break. Working from home can easily distract you from a normal work day and cause you to sit at a desk all day and not take time to take care of yourself. Sometimes your brain just needs a break from all the emails.
Now that I am back to work, I still have those scheduled hour lunch breaks on my calendar. During this time, I take a break. Get up, stretch, play with her, walk outside and grab some lunch. It prevents co-workers from scheduling meetings during that time too.
I also recommend putting “place holders” or “fake meetings” on your calendar during your baby’s awake time. This will allow you time to get up, move around, change diapers, play with them and prevent others from scheduling back to back calls. It has helped me tremendously!
5. Take Advantage of Nap Time
Nap time is the golden hour of when I need to be 100% focused on work. I attempt to schedule my important client calls during the times I know she will be asleep. It is the only way I can focus and actually get work done. Thank God for nap time!!
A thing that I have found helpful is to put your baby in the crib for naps. If they wake up and you are still on that call, it is okay to let them cry for a bit until you are finished. Sometimes babies have to cry and as long as they are in a safe space, that is okay.
Working from home while caring for a baby is the job of a super hero or a very flexible work environment. We already know moms are super heros, so be sure to be upfront with your boss that your kid is at home. It will make it a bit more manageable!
May the odds be in your favor!– Your Friend, Amanda