Working from home definitely has its pros and cons and, like all jobs, comes with challenges. Of course, it’s amazing being able to wake up, get ready and throw on leggings. But, it’s also nice to get dressed up, go into an office and mingle with work friends. Working from home with a toddler on the other hand brings challenges to another level.
I have been doing this now since the beginning of the year and though it does have its ups and downs, in my opinion, nothing is more rewarding than being able to spend more time with your kids, see their firsts, and have the ability to still bring in an income of your own.
If you are one of those mamas who have to work, but feel stuck in the corporate 9-5 world, I am here to tell you it is doable and totally possible to work and also keep your baby at home. Granted, keep in mind that this is not for everyone and I do only have 1 child right now, but if you follow these tips, I am sure many of you would be able to do it! In fact, there are so many virtual positions out there! So what are you waiting for mama? I have put together a list of tips that has helped me ever since being a working/stay at home mom.
Tip #1: Find a position doing what you enjoy, but also that is flexible and where you have the ability to work on your own time as long as you meet deadlines. Some of you may be saying in your head “easier said than done” but I am here to tell you that it is possible. And, there are SO many jobs out there that have flexible hours. With technology advancing the way it is, there isn’t much you cannot do remote now days. Of course, there are jobs where yes you have to be physically there, but more and more companies are letting employees work remotely. If you are a working mom right now and don’t want to get into network marketing, how about this. Find what you’re passionate about and look for a job as a Virtual Assistant in that field. That is a good place to start.
Tip #2: Some Childcare may still be needed –When I started working from home part-time, I decided to enroll Brady at Mothers morning out 2-days a week. Not only is it good for him to have time being around other kids, but it allows you more “work-time” or just free time to get things done that you don’t have time to do while he is here. And, you won’t have to foot the bill of full-time daycare.
Tip # 3: Create a designated work space – I created a designated work area in my home, that also doubles as a play area for Brady. When I am working at my desk, I let him sit at his table next to me and color, play in his tee-pee with toys, or let him watch his iPad. Now before I get judged for this last thing. I do believe letting your child watch the iPad is okay as long as you a.) set a time limit on the time they watch it if you can and b.) ensure they are watching things they can learn from. Since everything is going digital, our kids need to learn how to use these devices and keep up with technology. That’s what I tell myself at least. 🙂 Another thing I do want to say on this is: I do understand every child is different so you need to be realistic and ask yourself is working while keeping your child something you are able to do based on your child’s needs. If you have a kid or kids who are constantly demanding attention and do not do well with playing by themselves, sitting and coloring or watching an iPad for a little bit, then I still think you can do this, but you just may need a position where you can work mostly nights from home while child is in bed or definitely look into a mothers morning out.
Tip # 4: Create a safe environment that can also be a work/play space- We had already pretty much child proofed our house when Brady started walking so this was easy for us. The key here is that you need a few designated play areas in your house that are also “work friendly”. If you have a laptop, you can pretty much take it anywhere where your child is. You just need to make sure you have a space that’s also easy to work at while they play. Whether it’s a couch with room to lay a pen and paper or a table nearby. You also want to have anything the child may need accessible to you so it causes less interruptions. For example, we have an upstairs play area and I have a changing table upstairs so if he is playing and needs a diaper change and I am working, I can stop, change his diaper, and then go back to my work immediately so I stay on track.
Tip # 5: Set-up your e-mail and anything work related that you can on your mobile devices – This is very important when working from home not just with a toddler, but in general. You want to make sure you are first and foremost keeping an eye and paying attention to your child, but also that you are available if you boss needs you or if anything urgent comes up. I have my e-mail on my phone along with a few apps we use, so I can easily access anything I need if I am not at my laptop.
Tip # 6: Adjust your work schedule to your toddlers schedule- In order to do this, you must have the flexible schedule as I mentioned above. The majority of my work gets done when Brady naps, while he is playing, or at night when he goes to bed. Our day normally looks like this: I wake up and lay in bed for a minute and check my e-mails to make sure nothing is urgent. If it is, I respond to it while Brady is still asleep, then I get ready. Normally, that consists of a shower, putting on make-up (yes I do this pretty much everyday because its like the phrase “look good, feel good, sell good”- more on this later) and put on comfy clothes. Next, I feed him breakfast, then it’s playtime. This is when I check and respond to my e-mails, have a video call with my boss on zoom, and then start my work day. Brady goes down for his nap around noon. Sometimes he sleeps for an hour and sometimes 3 hours. It really depends on the day. While he is sleeping, I throw in some laundry or dishes (things that can get done while I work) and get back to the computer to finish what I need to. I crank out as much work during nap time that I can. When he wakes up from his nap, that’s mommy and his playtime where we will go to the park, play outside, take him somewhere fun, or whatever he feels like doing. Then it’s typically dinner and bath time after that. If I am unable to get all my work done during the day, I resume after he goes to bed. The key here is to just ensure your communicating well with your boss and also make sure you are meeting your deadlines.
PS: Yes I do have 31,000+ e-mails on my phone. ????
Tip # 7: Schedule calls around nap schedule or Mothers morning out (if your child is off naps) – This is very important. The work you do during playtime should be something you can do that’s okay if it get’s interrupted. However, if you are on the phone with a client or customer, you cannot have your baby in the background. I try to schedule as many calls as I can while Brady is at mothers morning out or while he is napping. I know he typically goes down between 12:12:30 so 12:00-2:00 or while he is out of the house is when I schedule all calls, other than zoom with my boss. She is super flexible and knows Brady is here so if he is playing in the background it is okay with her. Just ensure your boss is okay with that up front. I realize that the time will come when there are no naps, and yes my plan is still to work from home. We have enrolled Brady at a mothers morning out that is 5 days a week in the fall. Though he will not be full-time, this will make up for the lost nap time.
Those are all the tips I have for now. As stated above, I do realize every child is different and this may not be for every mama, but I do think with a little patience, flexibility, balance and creativity, it is possible for everyone. You just need to decide what works best for you and what does not, set a schedule and always remember to over communicate with your boss!
Thanks for reading!