As a mom, working from home was at the top of my priority list. It was the number one deciding factor in leaving my full-time job. Of course I wanted to be more independent and live on my own terms but most importantly, I wanted to be at home to watch my son grow up. I wanted to be there for his first words, his first steps and even just to make sure he was eating lunch every day.
A lot of women leave their jobs to stay home and start their families but more and more women are starting to realise that you no longer have to choose between being a mom and being a career woman.
You can have both – it just takes a little bit more effort and life-planning to work from home with a new baby.
You’ve got to set plans and targets in place and be strict about them.
There is no room to fudge about and neglect things that need to be done. Every task and deadline has to be addressed and met on time. This means setting up your days in advance, planning the things that need to be done and making sure that you get to them.
For me, this has meant having a set routine. Every morning is more or less the same. I’m fortunate in that I’ve got a nanny who takes care of my son for part of the day but I’ve got to make the most of the time she’s here. That means that from the second she walks into the door, I’m in the shower and getting reading to start my day.
I work through lunch most days to maximise my available working time and to ensure that I don’t have to take up evenings and weekends that should be spent with family.
I also make sure that I stick to my work schedule so that when my nanny leaves, I am ready to take over as mom. I don’t have to multitask and try to juggle a baby and work.
I schedule work and meetings in advance during the week so that I know when I have time to focus on writing, planning and dealing with clients.
My diary/day planner is my best friend
I don’t use anything to fancy, I just make sure that everything is written down so that at a glance, I know what is due, what needs to be done and what priorities I have for that day.
I am home to be with my son and he is always my first priority
On days when I don’t have too much going on, I try to spend as much time with my son as I can because otherwise what’s the point in being at home anyway? My nanny also knows that she can bring my son to me at any point during the day (unless I’m on a call or Skyping with clients) so that she can make his lunch or bottle.
Working from home without a nanny can be done but it’s much more challenging. Moms who are the main caregiver during the day will need to be even more ruthless about their work schedules.
Work will need to be done while the baby is asleep or distracted with toys. A play pen for the baby or closed safe room that you can both sit in is very useful if you have to work and mom at the same time.
My top ten tips for working from home with a new baby
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Plan everything in advance
Prioritise the things that are urgent
Work while the baby sleeps
Close yourself and the baby in a room and work while the baby is distracted
If you can, get a nanny in for a few hours in the day
Schedule Skype sessions or calls for after hours when you know the baby will be sleeping
Be very strict with your free time
Try not to be too harsh on yourself for not getting something done
Set deadlines longer than you would usually need them to account for baby distractions
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family members and friends
It can be done but it does mean adjusting your life a bit to accommodate having a baby in it. You are going to have to put less pressure on yourself than you normally would and work around deadlines that suit you as best as you can.
Don’t take on any responsibilities that will make you feel like you’re drowning.
Rather give yourself some time to adjust to this way of working. It is possible to work from home with a new baby and actually get things done, it just takes some getting used to and figuring out your own groove. You’ll get there!
Do you work from home? What are your top tips and tricks for juggling it all?