The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, or so the saying goes. But it still can't hurt to give it a shot, right? I know that I am probably going to make many a current mama laugh with my attempts at plotting and organizing my life post-baby, but bear with me. It makes me feel better.
After scouring the internet for resources and advice on working from home with a tiny baby, I found myself in a bit of a panic. Most of the tips and advice I came across involved hiring babysitters or dropping baby off with friends and family in order to get work done. While both of those options sound great, they aren't very practical for me.
A babysitter would have to be paid nearly as much I as I do, so that's right out. While I'm sure my Mom would love to take a regular shift with little Babeleo, she lives more than two hours away. My sisters all have full time jobs or are full time moms themselves. Not surprisingly, I can't think of a single person who would be willing to care for my child on a regular basis for free. Who does?
So where are all the women like me? The ones who can't afford to quit their full-time jobs, but can't afford childcare either? It's a real stroke of luck that I work from home, otherwise we'd be in a serious pickle financially. The question is, how does one balance work and baby on a daily basis? There have to be plenty of people out there who have done this before.
I was incredibly relieved when I finally found someone who had. A friend of mine, and a fellow blogger, shared her story with me a few weeks ago, and it really helped. She worked from her home after having her baby, and somehow kept both her job and her sanity. Not only was hearing from her inspiring, it was super informative as well. She shared some insider tips on how to get work done while keeping baby close and happy at the same time.
I've combined her advice with some thoughts and strategies of my own, and now I am feeling a whole lot better about the next year of my life. Here's what I'm thinking so far:
- Give them the boob. I'm banking on this as my number one strategy. I plan on sticking Babeleo in a sling, and feeding him until he's fit to burst. According to my friend, you can get quite a lot done while the little one gets their nom on.
- Skin to skin. I'm not ashamed to work naked, especially if it improves my chances of keeping Babeleo quiet and content. I'm planning to use either a sling or a NuRoo Pocket to keep baby snuggled up while I clock laptop time.
- Forget traditional working hours. Embracing constant interruption will be my only hope, and when it comes to certain tasks, formulation and photography for example, I will often be at the mercy of Babeleo's mood. I'm anticipating that a good portion of my work will just have to wait until my husband gets home to care for the baby. This means working whenever I can, not whenever I want.
- Independant Play. I know that not all babies go for this, but I'm sure as hell going to try. Walkers, bouncers, jumpers, high chairs and swings could buy me precious time. Here's hoping that this kid will find toys and gear utterly fascinating.
- Be flexible. I am a leaf on the wind. I know that some days this will work, and some days it won't. I'll have to adjust as I go, and change my plans constantly. Kids get cranky. Kids get sick. Kids are unpredictable creatures with changing needs. Staying on track, and keeping up with the simultaneous demands of work and child care won't be easy, and that's a reality I will simply need to accept.
- Stay organized. I'll need to keep careful track of tasks and responsibilities like never before. With the constant distraction of Babeleo, my professional life will depend on a system of to-do lists, schedules, and goal setting. I'll need to be able to quickly reference what needs to be done, eliminating the need to remember things on my own.
- Stay focused. While I need to accept that a portion of my brain will forever be lost to my child, I will also need to make a concious effort to focus on work while I am working. Keeping baby mode and work mode completely separate will be impossible, but an attempt at focusing my attention on one or the other instead of both all at once will be super necessary.
- Make time to enjoy being a Mom. I'm already jealous of people who can dedicate their whole attention to their babies every day of the week. A lot of me wishes that were me too. While I won't be able to spend every waking moment playing, cooing, and gazing at the love of my life, I do intend to make time every day to stop and appreciate this little person. Removing work from my mind in order to fully enjoy the moments when I need to stop and care for Babeleo will be essential to our happiness.
- Take a day off every week. I think one of my biggest challenges will be stopping myself from working around the clock. In order to stay healthy and happy, I'll need to set a time every night when I simply stop working, no matter what. If possible, I'd also like to keep one day a week totally work free, maybe Sundays.
- Keep my expectations realistic. I can't be a perfect mother or a perfect employee, but by setting attainable goals, and not biting off more than I can chew, I'll have a fighting chance of being a good mother and a good employee. More than ever, I'll need to be careful to choose my opportunities and challenges with care. There simply won't be the same amount of time and energy that there was before.
So that's it! That's how I plan to swing being stay at home mom with a full time job (and a blog, and a wife, among other things). Wish me luck, people. I'm going to need it. Are you a work at home mom? I'd love to hear your take on all of this. Any other pearls of wisdom to bestow?