9 Tips for Working from Home with a Baby
I always knew I was going to be a work from home mom. I remember the day my mom asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up, I was probably 8 years old, I told her without thinking twice, I want to have my own business, so I can spend more time with my family.
When I grew up I discovered that working from home gives you the flexibility to organize your schedule and prioritize responsibilities, but that does not mean that you are going to have a lot of time to spend with your family.
It got even harder after my baby was born. I planned to take a few weeks off and get back to my work routine as quickly as possible.
The first day I tried to work with Jax, and no one else was at home helping me with him, I discovered I was in trouble! I tried it all. I laid him down on the floor next to me so he could see me while I was working, I put tons of toys around him to distract him and I even carried him in the baby carrier while typing on the computer. No matter what I tried, my baby wasn’t happy, and thats when I discovered that working from home was going to be challenging.
That first day I ended up completely exhausted and cranky. I couldn’t finish anything, and I was so angry that I didn’t even leave the house.
That feeling of guilt stayed with me for a couple of weeks, until the day I decided to try new routines until I found something that made us both happy.
I can’t say that I’m an expert. I have only been doing this for a few months, but I wanted to share what has worked for me.
9 Tips for Working from Home with a Baby
- Organize your day around your baby’s naps.
At first, I wanted to continue with my old routine. Get up, make coffee, answer emails, take photos, edit them and post. Big mistake. The reality is that your baby does not care about your schedule, you have to get used to his.
The first two months were the hardest. Then when Jax started to develop his schedule, I began to take notes about the time he takes his naps and the time when he gets fuzzy and uneasy. When he is restless, which often happens between 12 and 5pm, is when we go for a walk or to one of his baby classes.
Leaving home make me feel so much better and it’s something I recommend you include in your daily routine. When you come back you’ll feel motivated and fresh and your baby hopefully will be tired and ready to take a nap and let you finish some work.
- Learn to juggle.
I was surprised to discover how quickly I learned to make things with one hand. I have learned to send emails, share photos on Instagram, edit pictures and many other things using just one hand. So when Jax is very restless, I just carry him with me and try to continue doing the things I need to finish. I have also learned to entertain him dancing, making funny faces and sounds while trying to send a quick email. It doesn’t work all the time, but it’t worth a try.
- Keep your baby close to you.
Using a baby carrier to keep your baby close to you is also an option. For me, it worked for the first two months. I used to carry Jax and make crafts, take pictures and even edit my posts, it was amazing! But it only lasted for a couple of weeks after he was born. If your baby is very quiet, you should definitely take advantage of this as long as he stays with you.
- Buy lots of toys!
You have to find things that will draw his attention. Toys with sound or lots of colors are always a great.
- Forget perfectionism.
Learn not to judge yourself too much when things aren’t perfect. I have also learned to be very fast and get organized to have the things ready on time. It is true that you can’t plan things with a baby, so you better do your best from the beginning and make things work the first time so you don’t need to repeat it.
- Sometimes you just have to let him cry.
At first I wanted to have Jax near me all the time. Until the day we bought a baby monitor for his crib, and discovered how functional and practical this little camera can be. We started to leave him when we have things to do around the house and we love knowing exactly what he is doing all the time. If Jax is very fuzzy, I put him in his crib and let him cry for a minute while I finish the things I have to do, normally when he’s fuzzy, he’s ready for a nap anyway and often ends up falling asleep.
- Ask for help.
If you’re one of the lucky ones who have family close to home, you can ask them to help you for a couple of hours while you work. Me, for example, live far away from my family, but my husband takes care of Jax when he gets back from work, and lets me get stuff done in the afternoon.
When I have those really bad days, when Jax doesn’t let me do anything, I like to remember that Jordan will be home soon.
I also work a lot at night, especially when I have deadlines to meet. I’m exhausted in the morning, but I have started to wake up later so I can take a few extra hours to rest and get ready for the day, help is key here too, an hour or two of extra sleep in the morning is incredible.
- Learn to work in 5 minute sprints.
You’ll be surprised how much you can finish in 5 minutes if you make them count!
- Invest in tools for your convenience.
Invest in the tools that will improve your productivity. After Jax was born, I have learned to use my phone more for social media and other things. I have also invested in some applications that help me edit photos and manage social media while he’s feeding. I have also started to buy more online. All this saves me a couple of hours a week, those hours that when you work from home and have a 5 month old baby, are super valuable.
In the end, no matter how you organize your time, sometimes you’ll have one of those days when nothing goes right or when your baby is fuzzy and uneasy. The best thing you can do is to just put work aside. You can use those hours off to walk, relax and make your baby feel special and loved. Remember that they don’t understand that you have stuff to do, they just want your attention. After a few hours, you can go back and try to work again, but feeling fresh, relaxed and motivated.
Being a mom and working from home is not easy, I wonder, how do you guys do it? What advice would you give to all those mothers who are newbies in this crazy, exhausting, incredible adventure?