The arrival of a new baby brings many things: joy, tears, late nights, and early mornings. But when it comes to working at home with a new baby? Now that can bring in a flood of emotions with frustration being high on that list.
Babies do not come with instruction manuals nor do they come with agendas. When you are trying to work from home and take care of your new bundle of joy (and poop,) it takes some planning to keep it all together.
Also see – 150 work from home jobs
Don’t worry moms and dads, I have compiled a list of tips to help keep you sane. Or maybe just keep you a little saner during this time when the days are long but the years are short.
1. Give yourself time to adjust.
You will not have it all figured out by the end of week one, by week ten, or by year 10. You will find rhythms and then the baby will destroy them with every growth spurt. Not the bearer of bad news – just presenting you with some logic. Give yourself grace first and keep in mind that while it is important to establish routines, understand those routines will change and change often.
2. Schedule your work hours in blocks.
One of the worst phrases someone can say to you after having a baby is “sleep when the baby sleeps.” Listen, Karen, no one has time to sleep like a baby. We have jobs, household chores, bills to pay, and TikToks to watch. Depending on the type of work you are doing from home and the rules of your employer, scheduling your own shifts can make a tough job a little easier.
Guaranteed, your newborn baby does not care about deadlines, phone calls, or Teams meetings. Breaking up your work schedule into short blocks helps give you some flexibility while your little one naps.
3. Ask for help.
You know when people say “call me if I can help with anything?” Now is a great time to call and say “Hi, I need help with something.” And that may just mean you need someone to hold the baby for an hour or two or maybe some help to clean bottles or wash dishes while you juggle the baby and your work from home job. Calling in a babysitter, a grandparent, family member, a neighbor, or a friend does not mean you aren’t good enough. It means you know how to delegate and ask for help when you so desperately need it.
4. Keep the baby close and hands-free.
Infants can be corraled pretty easily. Those toddlers? Not so much. When your baby is still in those early stages, a baby carrier, bouncer, wearable wrap, or baby-wearing sling can be a new mom’s best friend. Make work tasks easier and keep your little one close, all at the same time!
5. Hire a babysitter.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all hire a nanny? While this isn’t realistic for many of us, a babysitter might be a little more reasonable. Sounds like a no-brainer but this isn’t necessarily an easy task for everyone. Caregivers are not always easy to find and new parents may find difficulty in just handing their baby to just anyone. Sitting services like Care.com or SitterCity.com provide lists of available sitters for just a couple of hours or even full days or nights.
Some doula and midwife services also offer overnight stays and sitting services to help new parents adjust to life with their newborn. Check to see what services are available in your area. Childcare can be expensive, but scheduling some uninterrupted work time could be just what you need to keep you flowing. And if daycare isn’t necessarily an option, a sitter can be a much-needed perk.
6. Schedule some “me time.”
The baby is crying, the email is dinging, the smartphone is buzzing with new texts, the talking head on the TV is blabbering non-stop, and your mental health is taking a beating. Remember that you can’t be good to anyone, including yourself if you do not get a chance to step away and focus on your own sanity. Simply taking a walk, getting some fresh air, or scheduling that overdue spa day can be good for you and for the baby. Work life balance can feel like a joke but it doesn’t have to be.
7. Buy yourself a good set of headphones.
Need to take an important call but can’t juggle the baby and hold the phone? It might seem silly, but simply buying yourself a good set of headphones can make a big difference. Bonus points if they are noise-canceling. Remember, you are sharing a workplace with an infant. In this situation, your coworker is demanding and loud. Headphones are your friend.
8. Reset your space.
Distractions are everywhere when you have a baby and even more so if you have older kids. Clutter, play area, dishes from breakfast, a dirty diaper on the changing table. Put that little one in the baby swing (or bouncer, or bassinet, or whatever the latest and greatest baby technology is at the time you read this) and take a few minutes to remove a few distractions so you can start your next shift a little easier. And if you can, it helps to designate a workspace in your home, even if it is just the tiny available corner of your kitchen countertop.
Also, make sure to keep important work items in a designated space when they are not in use. Put up your laptop on a charging station, put your calendar and headphones away, and minimize the risk of a spill disaster.
If you are working for a company, for yourself, or through a service, it is important to communicate with the people that make sure you get paid. If you need to shift your working hours, make sure you communicate your daily schedule. Work-at-home parents CAN accomplish great things. But remember that communication is key and changes, delays, or disruptions should be noted.
Did you remember to call that vendor back yesterday? Scheduling the marketing call? Email the boss the invoice. From one mom to another, do not rely on your very fragile, sleep-deprived memory to get you through the day. Post-it notes, Trello, Outlook… whatever it may be that you use, a work-from-home mom (or dad) should keep notes and reminders and never rely on the “I’ll remember that tomorrow” attitude. Because you won’t. If you do, message me your secrets.
11. Don’t focus on what you are not accomplishing.
Is the laundry piling up in the corner? Are the older kids relying on screen time a little too much? Have you eaten fruit snacks for more than one meal this week? Have toys taken over your living room?
This sounds wildly familiar to me. Now let’s throw the demands of work in the mix. Making a to-do list is great but throw your expectations out the window. Focus on accomplishing tasks, check them off the list, and, when you can, prepare your task list for the next day. Your workday may be full-time or part-time, blocked schedules or full days, but no matter what, you are a working parent and it is easy to get overwhelmed and focus on the negative. Focusing on what you are accomplishing in your time working helps build your confidence while also focusing on loving and caring for your family.
12. Do Not Disturb is your friend, doomscrolling is not.
If you find yourself mindlessly scrolling social media while your little one is sleeping, checking out Amazon or other sites for deals, or reading the 536 messages you missed in the friend group chat… you might want to consider turning “Do Not Disturb” on your phone for blocks of the day.
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Are you looking for a work-from-home opportunity? Check out this post for more information on jobs you can do from your home. And if you are pregnant and looking for remote work, this post contains some great ideas to get you started in your search.
In conclusion, you can schedule and plan for almost anything when working at home with a baby, toddler, or child. However, those little ones have minds of their own and needs/wants that can rip your schedule into shreds. The little tips noted in this post can help you approach your workday with an open mind as a parent and an employee.