While many parents decide to work from home in order to achieve a better work-life balance, the arrival of a newborn is simply bound to shake things up and generate new challenges.
Here are 10 tips to help you successfully balance working full-time at home and taking care of a baby.
1. Consider Childcare
Consider finding a daycare for your child or having a sitter come and take care of the baby during the day. With someone else on the job, you’ll be able to concentrate on your tasks and accomplish your working goals, allowing you to really focus on your newborn once you’re done for the day.
2. Control Your Mindset
This goes especially for mothers, who will be experiencing all the tears and joy of excessive hormones. Add a dash of nerves and lack of confidence, and you’ve got yourself a powerful mix for an explosion that will shake the foundations of your home.
The key is to stay positive and take things as they come. Try to always see the bigger picture and don’t let yourself be led astray by emotions. Master your mindset to keep you cool and avoid the explosive meltdown that will come if you don’t take a deep breath and let off some steam.
3. Be Flexible
If there’s one thing you’ll learn while handling a newborn, it’s flexibility. Prepare yourself for working strange hours. Your workday will get unpredictable until you manage to develop a regular routine with the baby care.
Try to avoid overlapping your home and work life at all cost – mixing these two areas of life together, you’ll soon feel burnt out with no motivation to go on. Even if it’s just 5 minutes, make sure to leave out some quiet time for yourself and devote it to relaxation and reflection.
4. Avoid the Temptation to Nap
After a while you’ll be able to schedule the naps of your baby. This is a great opportunity to get some serious work done. That’s why it’s important that you don’t nap when your baby does.
Of course, you can nap if you feel particularly tired, but try to stick to your schedule – right now, it’s orchestrated by baby care, but in a while you might need to make a new one that will allow you to devote more time to your work.
5. Work in Fragments
When you’ve got a baby at home, don’t count on just sitting down in front of your computer and working with no interruption for a couple of hours. Learn to work in pockets of time – this requires you to be able to stop quickly and re-engage with your work even faster.
With a bit of thought, you’ll develop a system for yourself to keep your work on track. Jot a reminder to yourself when getting up from your desk or rearrange your schedule to perfectly match the baby – use feeding or baby play moments to catch up on your emails and sit down to intense work when the baby is asleep.
6. Try a Baby Carrier
Wearing a baby in a carrier is a very smart option for all busy parents – you’ll have your hands free and you’ll keep your baby close. This is something babies generally like. They calm down and snuggle quietly, while you’ve got your hands free to type or work with papers.
If you’ve got other children at home, the baby carrier will additionally help you to maintain order and make sure that the baby is not woken up or disturbed by older siblings.
7. Be Patient
Find a source of patience in yourself and channel it outwards. Be patient with your baby, with your partner, your other children and most importantly, be considerate and patient with yourself.
Women often feel that having a baby is a risk to their careers. The truth is that some careful planning and smart time management is all it takes to stay flexible and productive. Don’t expect yourself to return to your former professional lifestyle immediately.
8. Plan Ahead
Working at home, you have a certain degree of flexibility and freedom other professionals don’t. That’s why it’s paramount that you get as much work done as possible before the baby is born. This is also the perfect time to make some plans for the first months of having the baby at home.
You can start by working just a couple of hours a day and gradually extend that period, introducing a babysitter or daycare, to come back to the swing of things in time. You’ll want to spend every second with your child and planning ahead will help you to avoid making sacrifices in both your work time and baby time.
The beauty of outsourcing is that you can perfectly match it to your needs. Have a line of dependable contractors ready to help you once the baby is born.
Once you’re back in the game, you’ll discover that you haven’t missed so much and that you’re fully prepared to be focused and productive just like in the pre-baby period. Letting other people complete specific tasks for you is a great solution.
10. Work as a Couple
Serious responsibilities like nursing a baby are always easier when you’ve got support from other people – most importantly, your partner. The arrival of a baby is an excellent way to cement the relationship by sharing the responsibility. Initiate planing before the baby is born to make sure that you’re not surprised by any sudden routine alterations – the baby will itself generate a host of massive changes in your lives!
Needless to say, working at home while nursing a baby is a challenge, but not one you cannot face. Remember that you’re not alone in this. You’ve got your friends, family and partner who can all step in and allow you some time to focus on yourself and your professional life. Don’t lose your focus and don’t forget that despite all the problems and challenges, there’s so much joy to parenthood.