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I am so blessed to be able to work my part-time job from home. I absolutely LOVE that I get to be with my son all day. It was difficult the first couple of months I went back to work after maternity leave and left him with a babysitter. I missed him so much!
It’s also great because my husband works 2 blocks from our house and is able to come home and have lunch with us everyday.
Of course I do miss some things about going into the office – mainly my co-workers – but I at least get to go in once a week or so for a little bit and can see them then. They love when I bring my son in with me 🙂
But let me assure you, although I love it, working from home with a 10-month-old is hard!
I started working from home when my son was only 4 months old. My boss was generous enough to offer and I was totally down for giving it a try.
It was definitely a lot easier when I first started out – before my son was mobile and when he slept more. When he was awake I would often just lay him on a blanket and set up my computer on the floor and work right next to him. That way I was still right by him.
Now that he is crawling and walking along furniture, there is a lot more going on! Like most mobile babies, he loves to get into everything. I can no longer work on the floor because he wants to grab my computer.
Thankfully our house is set up for him to be able to move about, but that doesn’t mean he can’t still get himself into trouble. I have to constantly keep an eye on him.
I am always trying to find ways to pay attention to him and work at the same time. It’s not easy, but it is well worth it! I wouldn’t give this up for anything 🙂
I’m very blessed with my job where although I am technically on the clock for certain hours of the day, my boss told me right up front he understands there will be times I might need to push work off a little to take care of my son. That, my friends, is HUGE! Without that it would be a lot more difficult to pull this off. That is also why I can start work right when I wake up in the morning, even if it’s a little earlier than I’m technically “clocked in” for.
The following are tips I have found work well for me, based on my experience with my baby. Again, he’s only 10 months old and he’s my only child. If you have an older child or are working from home with multiple children, there are probably a lot of other tips that would help you as well that aren’t on this list. Perhaps one day I’ll be in the same boat and then I will update this list! However , if that’s you, keep scrolling because some of these still might work for you 🙂
Take advantage of anytime they are sleeping
If I wake up in the morning before my son, I start work immediately. No shower, no breakfast – nothing. (Well, I do make a pot of coffee. But as soon as that starts brewing I open up my laptop and get to work!). I do this because he could wake up at any moment (he’s not quite on a schedule yet where he wakes up around the same time everyday).
Some of you might be thinking that I’m crazy and that you could never just wake up and get right to work. And if that’s you – I totally get it! It’s completely normal to need some time to wake up before you start doing something where you have to think.
But I am able to get so much more done when my son is sleeping and so I try not to waste any of that time. I try my best to take advantage of it, both first thing in the morning and during nap times (thankfully, he’s still taking two naps a day).
Of course there are some other things I do as well when he is sleeping because I don’t want to be interrupted (such as my daily devotionals, which I usually do during his first nap), but for the most part it’s all work.
Do non-work related activities during awake time
Because I get so much more work done when he is sleeping, I do most of my non-work tasks when he is awake, such as showering and getting ready for the day.
Of course I still work most of the time he is awake (otherwise I would never get all of my hours in everyday), but he’s usually at my feet trying to get my attention or wanting to bang away on my computer, so I’m not quite as productive.
During this time I am often stopping the clock to attend to him, either with something he needs or because he could use some play time with mama.
When I am working I try to be somewhere near him, even if it means I’m standing at the counter while he’s by my feet. I want him to know that I am always aware he’s there.
Do hardest-thinking tasks when baby is sleeping and most mindless tasks during awake time
I like to do activities that I don’t need to think about as much when he is awake. That way if I need to stop for a certain period of time, I don’t need to worry about losing my focus.
I often write for work and it is a lot more challenging for me to write when my son is awake. It’s just hard to focus when there are a lot of interruptions. (I can’t usually even have music on when I’m writing.) If I have a writing assignment to work on, I usually do so when he is sleeping.
Take advantage of feeding times
Feeding time is a great way to keep my son contained while I am working. I put him in his high chair and sit him right next to me and work. It gives me at least 15 or 20 minutes I can stay in one spot and get as much done as possible.
I still pay attention to him – talk to him and let him know I haven’t forgotten about him. But I can at least sit and work for a few minutes without him pulling at me.
Have areas of containment
My mother-in-law got us the baby play yard above and it’s great! It’s a large space he can play in. Of course he only lasts so long until he wants out, but it does give me some time to work. And I can sit inside with him if I want.
I also take advantage of his Pack n Play to keep him somewhere when I need to leave the room. If I have to make an important phone call, I usually put him inside of it so I can go into another room and make my call in the quiet (as with most kids, he always gets really loud as soon as I’m on the phone and thinks he needs to pull it away from my ear!).
Have a play area set up
We have a storage ottoman in our family room that holds a bunch of my son’s toys. He knows that he is allowed to play with anything inside. We often turn it on its side and he has a little “cave” he can play in. Having this designated play area if very helpful.
When he wanders into the kitchen, we have one cabinet unlocked that is filled with Tupperware. He loves to go in there and pull everything out. He still tries to get into other cabinets, but he is starting to understand a lot more that there is a specific cabinet for him.
My thoughts on using the TV
I try really hard to keep the TV off for most of the day. However, if I am having a difficult time getting work done because he just constantly wants my attention, I will turn on children’s music videos or VeggieTales for him to “watch” so I can get a little bit of work done.
He is not at an age yet where he will just sit and watch for long periods of time, which makes me feel better about it. And for some reason, just having it on the in the background tends to help him play more on his own.
I felt guilty about this at first, but you know what, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. And it’s not for hours at a time that I try to distract him with the TV while I’m working. It’s also not everyday.
I’m sure I will get some negative comments about this but it’s not easy working at home with a 10-month-old!
When he’s a little older and can read and do some more things on his own, I will have more options.
As I mentioned, working from home with a baby has its challenges. But what job doesn’t?
I absolutely love being able to spend all day with my son. It is amazing – even when there are days when it takes me a really long time to get my work done.
The biggest downside of working from home is that I often feel guilty having my nose in a computer most of the day instead of paying attention to my son. I can’t blame him for trying to get my attention when I’m working. Because of that, I do my best to give him my full attention anytime I am not working. It’s not always easy, of course. And I don’t always stick to it as much as I would like (I still have to cook and clean and get other things done!). But he is most important and so I try my best.
Do you work from home with children? If so what age(s) are they? What tips do you have? Please share in the comments below! It could help someone else!
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