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Working at home with a baby might seem like a contradiction, but it can totally be done and without losing your mind.
I should know because I have an 8-month old baby and I’m currently working from home without childcare 25-30 hours a week.
I also have two older children (ages 4 & 2).
Sure, the days are busy and there are times where either my parenting or my work suffers, but for the most part it is balanced and working from home with kids is successful.
The one thing that you absolutely have to be if you decide that you wish to work at home with children is intentional with everything you do.
It will take real effort to not get overwhelmed and burnt out, but you absolutely can be successful.
Here are some work at home mom tips that make the dream happen.
#1 Use a Planner
Let’s face it…kids suck out our memory cells and I’m pretty sure they turn it into the energy that they never seem to run out of.
What I’m saying is…you need to write everything down.
It’ll stop you from forgetting things, increase your productivity, and lessen your mental load.
I love using my planner for this. I’ve been using the same one for the last 3 years and it honestly has everything I could ever want in a planner and MORE.
It is specifically designed with moms in mind and it is incredibly affordable, especially in comparison to many other planners on the market.
You can take a look at it HERE.
#2 Establish a Routine
I’ve yet to come across a work at home mom that doesn’t have at least a semblance of a routine.
Working from home with kids means that you have to be self-disciplined and this includes setting up a schedule.
I have a work at home mom schedule for myself and also have my children on their own schedules.
It means that I can depend on certain times of the day to be available for work.
Knowing when the baby is going to nap and when you’re going to be tied up with parenting will really help you to plan your day and be more productive.
#3 Get Up Early
This is difficult if you have a newborn, but once you’re past those early weeks of utter sleep deprivation, do your best to get up early.
Having a chance to get a start on the day before your kids are up will really help your workflow.
I use that time to check emails and respond to certain messages that need my attention.
You can get so much accomplished when the house is quiet and there are no little ones demanding your attention.
This is also a good time to write your to-do list and go over your plans for the day so that you’re not caught off guard.
#4 Time Block
If you have a routine in place for your day to day, then the next step is to time block.
Multi-tasking has its place, but focusing on one task at a time is also a hyper efficient way of working and is proven to be very productive.
I like to time block tasks that require deeper concentration because otherwise I find it takes forever to get them finished.
For me, its things like writing my blog posts. I only tend to do those when my children are asleep because I need to concentrate and not be interrupted.
It could also include phone calls and meetings.
However, I also time block when it comes to spending time with my children. It is so freeing to be able to spend time with them and not have my attention demanded elsewhere.
#5 Work Smarter Not Harder
The fact is, if you’re a mom, you’re already working hard. Add a job to your job of being a mother and it is full on.
So here’s the thing, you need to work smarter, not harder.
Think of ways to do things faster, lessen your mental load and get things done more efficiently.
Here are a couple of examples:
Sometimes newborns sleep, and sometimes they don’t.
Sometimes babies want mama and absolutely will not stand for being anywhere but on your lap.
Babywearing is a good solution for this.
Invest in a carrier or two and use them when your baby needs a nap but just won’t settle.
I love it for the late afternoon when my little one is fussy and wants me but I need to just sit and type for a minute.
Multitask while Breastfeeding
Once you’ve established breastfeeding and are no longer in the “cracked-nipples-I-want-to-die” stage, you can totally learn to multitask!
How many of us don’t have our phone nearby when feeding our baby?
Use that time to answer emails.
Or, you could set up your laptop and work a little while baby nurses.
Be creative and see what you can accomplish.
#6 Have a To-Do List
Having a to-do list will make the things you need to get done tangible. Somehow, writing it all down makes it seem less scary and more achievable.
That’s probably because half of the work is being taken away because having a list means you don’t have to keep trying to remember everything.
I love to make a list where I have the three most important things that NEED to be done that day.
If those get done, the day is a success. If I get more done, give me a cape and call me superwoman.
#7 Claim Your Priorities
Part of being a successful work at home mom means knowing what your priorities are.
It can be really easy to get overwhelmed and defeated because you feel as though you aren’t achieving as much as you should.
A good way to combat that is to write down your priorities, not so dissimilar to the to-do list concept I mentioned above.
If you know what your priorities are, then you’ll be better able to schedule out your tasks and stay focused.
#8 Make a List of 5 Minute Tasks
Being a mom means that your are constantly interrupted. Sometimes it is as often as every couple of minutes.
You may feel as though this means you can’t get any work done, but here’s a clever idea…
Make a list of tasks that can be completed in under 5 minutes. Things that you can do while your toddler is distracted or your baby is happy.
That way, instead of spending those 5 minutes wondering what you should do, you’ve already got a list of readily available jobs.
#9 Encourage Independent Playtime
My children are all brilliant at playing on their own and enjoying it.
That hasn’t just happened by chance. I actually encouraged independent play from a young age with all of them.
You can find a post all about that HERE.
However, while it is hugely beneficial to their development and learning, it also frees up time for me to be able to work.
My two older ones both have some independent playtime for just over an hour every morning while the baby naps.
The house is quiet and everyone is content which allows me to get a bunch of stuff done.
#10 Focus on Results, Not Time
We’re often guilty of equating work results with time spent working.
However, if you’re working smarter, not harder, you’ll find that more time doesn’t always mean work completed.
It can be super easy to get discouraged and frustrated when your time is cut short or just limited in general.
Instead of focusing on how little time you spent working, focus on what you DID get done.
If you’re anything like me, there are ALWAYS things left on your to-do list.
Focusing on what hasn’t been done would 100% get me feeling down and defeated.
Take the positive outlook because it will motive and encourage you.
#11 Use Childcare
I don’t use childcare, but that doesn’t mean I think YOU shouldn’t.
If you have the option available to you and are happy to use it, then do so! I know that I get far more accomplished in a couple of child-free hours than I do when I’m on mom duty.
#12 Use Support
If you have a significant other, talk to them and find out how you can help each other out.
Perhaps your husband will do the bedtime routine so that you can get some work done a bit earlier in the evening.
Or, divvy up the household chores a bit. You don’t have to do it all!
#13 Be Patient With Yourself (and your Child/ren)
Remember to give yourself and your children grace as you work together to balance everything.
Babies change very quickly. The routine that worked like a dream may be a nightmare next week.
You have to be willing to be flexible and go with the flow, at least to some extent, or you’ll end up frustrated and bitter.