For many moms, working from home is the ultimate middle ground. They get to maintain their careers, but they also get to spend their days at home with their little ones.
However dreamy it all may sound, though, it’s not always easy to be a work-from-home mom. Perhaps you know this first hand. Or, you’re planning to start WFH and want to prepare. Either way, you know it won’t be a cakewalk.
The good news is, you can make it work well for you, your family and your career. Here are the best five tips for every WFH mom who needs to strike the perfect balance between work and real life.
1. Create a Schedule
Having your baby on a schedule makes life easier for you, a WFH mom. That way, you will know when they need to sleep, eat and play. And you can work these off-the-clock moments into your schedule, too.
Every baby is different, so there’s no set time during which you have to put your child on a schedule. However, most experts say you’re safe to do so when they’re between two and four months old.
Once you have established a routine, you can feel okay about leaving your little one to rest while you work. They’ll be used to napping during particular stretches, so you can be productive. And you’ll know when it’s time to wake up for a feeding, thus giving you a set window for working.
2. Start a To-Do List
Lists don’t work for everyone. As a WFH mom, you might need one. With two big responsibilities day in and day out, it’s easy to forget some of your to-dos.
All you need is a notepad on your desk or a virtual one on your desktop. Jot down what you need to accomplish and use it as a reference throughout the week. That way, if you get interrupted from work to spend time with your little, you’ll be able to pick up right where you left off.
Plus, drawing up a to-do list keeps you from dawdling. With your baby home, it’s easy to prioritize — you want to work hard so you can devote your free time to your family. So, keep a checklist to improve your focus and finish strong.
3. Create an “I’m At Work” Habit
Normally, you’d commute to the office each morning. As you drove, sipping your coffee and listening to podcasts, you’d get in the work mindset.
Now, though, your office is inside of your house. It might be harder to make the mental switch from mom to boss.
So, create a morning ritual that puts you in the mood to get stuff done. Perhaps that means you’ll get up and change out of your pajamas before heading to your home office. Or, you might hop in the car and drive for a coffee, just as you would on the way to work.
Repeating the same ritual every workday morning will signal to your brain that it’s time to work. And that’s just the mindset you need to be in if you’re working from home with your little one in tow.
4. Get Creative With Your Working Hours
For the first year of your baby’s life, they will sleep for at least half of the day. If you’re staying at home with older kids, though, you have less nap time during which you can work. It can be tough to focus if your child’s running around all day, but you can’t skip out on your working hours.
So, you’ll probably have to get creative with your working hours once you become a WFH mom. For example, you might have to wake up a few hours before your child and get started without interruptions. Then, you can log back in when they do go down for a nap. After dinner, you could tie up loose ends when you have downtime again.
On top of that, you can come up with ways to kill two birds with one stone. Perhaps you have a phone meeting before your child’s scheduled nap time. If so, pop them into the stroller and take the call while you’re on a walk. Your child will be distracted, and you can chat in peace — and that’s a win-win.
5. Get Help If You Need It
Finally, you might need to hire a babysitter or nanny to come by for a few hours so that you can be productive. That is a totally understandable decision to make as a WFH mom, so don’t be hard on yourself if you feel like you can’t do it all yourself.
Instead, look at the benefits of having a childcare provider in-house. You still get to spend the day close to your child. You get to maintain your career. And you have a qualified professional caring for your baby until you are able to do so yourself.
Unfortunately, a nanny is not a tax-deductible expense. However, you can get tax credits once you pay for childcare, so look into your options — it may not be as expensive as you think.
Make It Work From Home
You’ve got the best of both worlds — working from home with your baby by your side. It will be a tough transition, but it’s so worth the effort.
And, now, you have the above tips to make it a simpler switch. Follow them to make WFH work for you and your family — a wonderful gift for all of you to enjoy.