For many working moms, being switched to a Work From Home (WFH) status may seem like a godsend. As an in-office worker, there is the fear that a prolonged leave to care for a baby may lead to their being laid off. Even if they do get to stay on the job, there is the added cost of getting a babysitter, not to mention the worry over the child’s health and well-being in the hands of a stranger. With WFH, they no longer have to entrust their baby to someone else. They can take care of their child themselves while still earning a living at home.
However, working from home with a baby or a toddler is not easy. In fact, the baby becomes the ultimate distraction because their needs are your priority over your work. How can you even find time to rest, much more sleep, when both work and your baby are competing for your time?
If you are presently experiencing this dilemma, here are some tips on how you can work from home with a baby.
1) Inform your boss or manager
Before you even commence WFH with a baby or a toddler, you should inform your boss or manager of your home situation first. While WFH gives you the luxury of a flexible schedule, the higher-ups in the office need to know that you will be adjusting your time to meet your baby’s needs. What is important is that you impress upon your bosses that you will still be able to deliver assigned work within the day.
2) Plan out your day or week to the best that you can
Working moms have conflicting opinions about this. Some say that it is impossible to keep a schedule with a baby. However, you can still be able to plan out your day or week so that you can keep your mind on important work that you need to do and how to work them around your baby. With careful planning, you can choose the best time to accomplish household chores and even schedule some quality time for yourself.
For this work, you need to observe your baby or toddler’s sleep and behavior patterns. Usually, the duration of your child’s naptimes is between three and four hours. This gives you sufficient time to do focused work while your baby is sleeping. If your baby tends to be fussy when awake, you can allot shallow work (work that you can do without too much thinking or concentration) during these times.
3) Working while your baby or toddler plays
Play can be a good distraction for your baby or toddler while you work. Of course, babies should not be left out of your sight, so you can move their bassinet or put up a play pen in your work room. One way you can keep your baby distracted and amused is by setting them up in a bouncer.
Unlike babies, toddlers are capable of independent play, so you can have them play with their favorite toys inside your work room. Or you can set up a play area in the living room so that you can watch them from the kitchen or dining table. If your toddler often wants your attention, a good way that you can deal with this is by utilizing the Pomodoro Technique. Set your timer to 20 or 30 minutes and tell your toddler that you will play with them once the timer rings. The timer itself becomes an object of fascination for your child so that they anticipate not only playtime with you, but the delightful ringing as well.
4) Share the load with your partner
If you and your partner are working from home, you should take turns in caring for your child. Take shifts especially when you are supposed to do concentrated work, so that you can both finish your deadlines while still being able to care for your baby.
5) Keep your hands free with a carrier
More often than not, what a fussy baby needs is the warmth of their mom’s embrace. To free your hands for work, you can keep your baby close to you by carrying them in front of your body with a carrier. For breastfeeding moms, you can also use a hands-free breast pump. Using these “baby helpers” can help keep your hands free to type out documents on your keyboard and make calls on your phone.
6) Get rid of other distractions
While your baby may be your ultimate distraction, there are other things in the home that can distract you as well. For example, if you find yourself checking your social media frequently while working, use an app that can block these sites until your work is done. Household chores can also be distracting. Before you even start working, allot 30 minutes in the morning (or whenever is suitable for you) to get these chores out of the way.
7) Get some naptimes in for yourself
There are times when you feel that you’re not getting enough sleep because you’re juggling between your baby and work. However, it is important that you steal some naptimes for yourself, so that you will stay healthy, motivated, and productive. A great time for a nap is during your lunch break. After giving baby their lunch, they are sure to fall asleep. You can catch 30 minutes of zzz’s on the couch or you can simply tilt your work chair back.
8) Use weekends to relax and to plan your work week ahead
Weekends should be kept totally free of work so you can devote time to your family. You can also use these days to plan for the following week. Cook the dishes and snacks that you will be eating during the week. You can also do a little research on fun activities that you can distract your toddler with.
9) Always take time for yourself.
Between WFH and the pandemic, you might find yourself feeling trapped and lonely, not to mention burned out from working and caring for a baby. In your off-hours from work when baby is napping or asleep, do the things you love, like watching your favorite TV show or movie on Netflix, exercise, or take a soothing bath. If you feel like going out, get a babysitter.
10) Be realistic
WFH and caring for a baby is a delicate juggling act which can be frustrating at times. In these times, always be realistic because you can’t do everything perfectly. There will be situations wherein your carefully laid plans will get thrown out the window. Be flexible and try to adapt to any situation that goes your way to the best of your ability without wearing yourself down in the process. Strive for efficiency and productivity without sacrificing your health and well-being.
Let these tips help you so that you can care for your baby while working from home!