Many moms-to-be are wondering if a work-from-home career is possible with a baby. It is possible, and with some adjustments, you can proceed with your work while tending to a newborn.
My personal experience with work from home with a baby went something like this. It wasn’t a must for me, but rather an experiment to see if and how I can do it. During the first year of my daughter’s life, I made close to $900 writing. This is nowhere near the amount you were hoping to see. But, I was also studying and writing papers for my Master’s studies. During this time, I informed my clients I will not be able to work full-time. I would stop working every time I felt overwhelmed.
On the bright side, I managed to do all these things without neglecting my baby. If you want to some tips on how to work from home with a baby, here are some guidelines:
1. Sleep is everything
If you are working from home, quality sleep is a must to remain inspired and productive. With regular jobs, where you have a schedule and list of duties to fulfill. At-home-work usually relies way more on your personal energy, inspiration, and creativity.
For me, doing a good job for a boss wasn’t such a challenge when I was repeating a well-rehearsed routine each day. Yet, working from home demands a lot more mental energy and responsibility. To get as much sleep as possible with a baby can be challenging, but there are things you can do to help yourself.
Avoid getting distracted by social media, TV, and the internet when you should be sleeping. Don’t text or make any phone calls. Don’t check your emails unless it’s a designated time for that. You can’t control the amount of sleep you will get with a baby. Yet, you can avoid wasting precious time doing irrelevant things instead of sleeping.
2. Cut your hours and work while your baby sleeps
I wouldn’t recommend working more than 4hs/day. At most, you should work 6hs/day. It is understandable that you want to maintain your career. But it shouldn’t be at the cost of bonding with your baby and recovery.
I began working when my daughter was about a month old. She was pretty much sleeping all day and all night until she turned 4 months. But, I didn’t want to deprive myself of all the joys of being a mom, even if it was only folding her clothes while she sleeps. My priority was also to rest, recover and enjoy spending time by myself. At this sensitive time, you need to take care of yourself as much as possible. This means, working a moderate amount of hours that will not dominate your day.
The most important thing is to work those hours during the day that your baby spends sleeping. If you have a colicky baby that needs you all day long, working will be close to impossible. You shouldn’t blame yourself if you can’t do it. Leave all the work for those hours of your baby’s naps. There will be enough of them. This brings me to my next tip.
3. Be flexible
In an ideal world, you would choose your working hours by the time that is most convenient for you. At best, it would be the time. you feel most inspired. This type of schedule may not sit well with your baby. Your baby might sleep all morning, all afternoon, or take several short naps during the day. To be effective with your work, get used to working in multiple sessions during the day.
4. Keep your working supplies ready to start and stop working at any time
This can mean different things depending on the type of work that you do. For me, it meant setting up my MS Word to autosave writing, logging into all accounts I use to find sources and check my work first thing in the morning. It also included keeping a list of tasks and projects. All these helped me resume my work when I got the time, without having to waste time figuring out where should I start and what should I do next.
5. Plan your projects by tasks
Though keeping up with any sort of schedule while tending to a baby is tricky, you should always create a list of working tasks for the next day. The main purpose of these is staying focused on what you are doing. Also, you will use all your available hours, without feeling stuck, lost or overwhelmed. If you are anything like me, having a vague idea of what I should do often makes the work seem more difficult than it truly is. Breaking it down to a list of steps to take should save a lot of time and energy while making you more productive.