So you scored the holy grail of work/life balance by being able to work from home. Yay for you! Except….screech…..your child is six months or older and now knows exactly where you are working in the house. She wants you, only you, and wants to hang on your leg or stand outside your office door crying “Mama” non-stop.
You loved the idea of being a part of your child’s daily routine by working from home, but it has turned into a total nightmare because you cannot mentally and physically work full-time and be a mom, especially when you’re paying a babysitter to take the reigns.
Don’t give up mamas! Here are some top tips to creating a seamless job and mom balance:
Sleep Train Your Entire Family, You Too Mom!
Let’s start with you mom. Get yourself up and ready for the day and rolling before your child. The #1 key to success in life is sleep! To be your best self you need sleep, and your child needs sleep for you to sleep. It is NEVER too late to teach healthy sleep habits (even five-year-olds can be taught to sleep in their beds and stay in their bedrooms until it’s time to wake.) For example, when you know your “Me Time” is before 7 am, you have known parameters for getting caught up on overnight emails and social media while you’re experiencing quiet coffee time. Teach your child respectful boundaries so you can begin your day sane, centered and focused.
Create a Schedule For You and Your Child
Just because you’re working from home does not mean you’re on call 24 hours a day. You have an important paid job to do! I recommend having a hard start and stop time to your work day. Create a daily schedule that both you, your child and your caregiver can maintain. Children (as well as adults) thrive on schedules because they know exactly what to expect in their day and tend to transition seamlessly from event to event. To create the best schedule, start with your child’s eating and sleeping schedule. You can then build in as many activities out of the house as possible without making your nanny and child race around like crazy people. When a schedule is followed, your child will more easily cruise out the door without wailing, “Mommy!” You’ll get the house to yourself to focus on your job.
Here is a sample schedule for a toddler on one nap:
7 am breakfast
7:30 am get dressed
8:30 am drive to music class
10 am snack after class
10:15 am target stop
11 am lunch
BONUS! Because your child naps at the same time every single day, you’ll know when you can send your nanny out to run errands, while you can have peace in your “office” to work on more difficult projects.
Schedule Quality Mommy Time
Decide when you’re going to be a mom and be consistent in the role every day. For example, maybe you want to feed your child lunch every day. Your sitter can prepare the meals, and then you pop into the kitchen to sit and have lunch with your child. Every single day for a half-hour you’ll know not to schedule any conference calls because lunchtime is quality time with your baby. By being consistent, you will teach your child that your actions speak just as loudly as your words. You will build up trust with your child as they will know what to expect. Also, you will know exactly what your child is doing and when, so you can fit in YOUR needs around her.
Working from home while a caregiver takes care of your child is like being a fly on the wall in your own home. You may have the urge to race out of your office to tend to every cry, crash and thud. DON’T! Stay in your lane, lady, and let your caregiver do her job. She will not appreciate your hovering or micro-managing her every move, and if you can’t leave them alone, I suggest wearing a pair of Bose noise-canceling headphones to keep your focus firmly on yourself.
Take A Break!
Being in the same four walls all day long will not benefit your energy or creative juices. Try to schedule a walk to the park with your baby and caregiver at the same time every day. Alternatively, take a stroll by yourself for a cup of coffee to return to your desk awake and focused. Also, remind yourself you are a woman first and foremost and require human contact. Be sure to schedule face-to-face meetings to get off mommy island and connect with others.
Combining work and family commitments is never easy. Creating a schedule will help you with the daily juggle, but remember to relax if a piece of the puzzle goes off the rails. You’ve got this!
Want to share your inspiring stories and fun family tips? Sign up to become a Voices contributor!