Working from home with a baby can offer lots of benefits to both you and your family.
For starters, babies and nesting can be a bit intense, and having a way to work on something outside of that gives many women mental relief.
It’s also a fantastic way to help with all of those extra bills coming in now that there’s a new member of your family. Not only that, but it’s a way for you to continue working on your career, while being the primary caregiver to your child.
Still, it’s not the easiest job in the world, and I know that from experience working at home with my own infant. That’s why I’m letting you in on my top three secrets for how mothers can both work from home and raise their baby at the same time.
Secret #1: Set Up Your Devices to Squeeze in Work Time
If you’re a new Mom, then you probably don’t think there’s a lot of downtime to raising a baby.
Then your baby grows into a crawling/walking toddler (who doesn’t take as many naps, and the ones they do take aren’t nearly as long as before) and you realize how much downtime and freedom you used to have when they were younger.
One of the best ways to work at home with an infant is to get things set up ahead of time to multi-task during the downtimes.
Here are some great ways to set up your devices so that you’re ready to work at any time:
- Use Free Transcribing Apps: Download the free Evernote app on your desktop, and then on your smartphone (the two will sync with one another). When your creative ideas pop into your brain (like when nursing or feeding your baby), you can simply open your phone’s app and use Evernote’s free talk-to-text feature for transcribing. When you can spare some time to sit down and work at your desktop, just open the app and your notes will show up. Another great way to use this is to actually write out emails and articles or anything else using the talk-to-text feature. Then, you can copy and paste them into a word document to edit instead of starting from scratch.
- Set Up Podcasts for Easy Listening: You’ll likely go on baby walks, cook dinner, and do any other number of things where you don’t need to focus mentally on the task at hand. Use those times to sharpen your business skills through listening to business and marketing podcasts. To take advantage of these times, you’ll want to make sure you have podcast apps downloaded on your smartphone ahead of time, and understand how to use them.
- Set Up Business Reading on the Go: Did you know that you can email any PDF you want to read onto your phone’s kindle app? Talk about a convenient, on-the-go option for reading all those guides and marketing reports. Here’s instructions for how to do this (I use the email method).
Secret #2: Rearrange a “Normal” Work Schedule for What Works Now
Mothers of babies know that they’re in a special season of life where what’s considered a “normal” schedule kind of gets thrown out the window.
And that’s okay.
Give yourself permission to also rearrange a traditional or “normal” work schedule for what will actually work for you.
This means you might need to do what my husband and I did after our baby was born: have him take over several hours of care on Saturdays so that I could get out to a coffee shop or library for some solid work time.
This also means you might get an article or email written at 3:00 in the morning when you’re jazzed after a night feeding, but you’ll sleep right through the 8:00 a.m. hour when other people start their days.
Or maybe you divide up the baby’s naptimes with both housework/napping during some, and then solely working during others.
The point here is to be flexible and to forget about how you thought things were going to go. If, instead, you can adjust to what your current needs are, then you’ll increase your productivity.
Secret #3: Rearrange Your Environment for What Works Now
Just like many parents find out that they hardly even use the nursery they so lovingly built in the months leading up to birth, you might also find that your home office starts to get dusty.
That’s because it’s not always the best place to work when you have a baby.
I found that I worked much more easily when I was close to where all of my baby’s things were. Meaning, I usually worked downstairs (my home office is upstairs).
You’ll want to let go of where you think you “should” work – like a home office – and actually set things up so that you can work where it’s most convenient for you.
Because let me tell you: if it’s not convenient, it’ll just be easier to take that nap or do that next laundry instead.
To do this, you might consider:
- Getting a laptop or iPad to work from so that you can work anywhere within your home or outside of your home.
- Making room on your kitchen counter for a laptop to sit, so that you can get in some work near where your baby eats, sleeps, and sometimes plays.
- Trying out different kinds of baby-wearing devices to see which, if any, you can use to free up your hands and allow you to work a bit.
You’ll find that you use different parts of your home as your child evolves and ages. So, you might circle back to that home office after turning it into a quasi-playroom once your baby begins to crawl. You never know what will work until you try it out!
Be forgiving to yourself
If you feel discouraged by any of this – and all mothers of babies who work from home get discouraged, at some point – I’ll give you the best piece of advice that someone once gave me: Remember that this is just a season of life. It is temporary and will change. Cherish what you can now, work on what you can now, and in the future, you’ll be able to switch things up and focus on what you’d like to, even more.
–By Amanda L. Grossman