If you are a work at home parent, you know there are many tasks to be juggled and it’s sometimes hard to maintain it all with ease. Every parent of an infant can also tell you that this is a job in itself. So how can you manage your business and your baby if you are the work at home parent of an infant?
Here are some great tips to help you balance both- no matter what your work at home job- without sacrificing time with either one:
Create a schedule-Having an infant in the home may require you to plan your schedule around theirs a bit more than you would have before. Some people do really well at getting their babies to meet the schedule they choose and others find it easier to work around baby. This might require you to get up earlier (or later) than the traditional 9-5 workers. Find what works best for you and stick with it.
Plan ahead– Whenever possible, prepare bottles if formula or breast milk ahead of time so you can grab them in a pinch. If necessary, you should plan your own meals as well. Many busy parents skip meals because they are so busy or they snack too much during the day. Plan a lunch or prepare something you can microwave easily at lunchtime.
Be flexible – You know that having a baby means sometimes things don’t go as you planned. Remember to keep your schedule flexible and always have a back-up plan. While clients are usually understanding of work-at-home parents, too many problems due to your infant will lead to lost work. Try not to let it stress you out too much if things don’t go exactly on schedule.
Make the most of nap times- During your baby’s nap time is the perfect time to make business related phone calls or teleconferences. Your mother, best friend or cousin may be able to tolerate your baby crying or cooing in the background so save those calls for later. Use baby’s naptimes to do those things you can’t do while he is awake.
Separate business and home time- While every work at home parent has found themselves working after hours or late into the night from time to time, you should try to create a work schedule and stick to it. If 5pm is end of day for you, then stop and walk away. Spend some quality time with your family and your baby. If the baby goes to sleep early and you want to get a couple more hours in, that’s your choice but make sure your at-home work isn’t running into fun time with your family. In addition to these tips above, you can take advantage of swings, play-yards, exer-saucers and other commercial baby items. While nothing can substitute play time on the floor, especially once baby starts crawling, these devices can be very soothing to an infant. Put your little one in a swing next to your office chair and he can watch your face while swinging off to sleep.
You should also remember to get yourself and baby out of the house some. It’s very easy for work-at-home parents to stay cooped up in the house but it’s important for you and baby to get out some. Arrange play dates for your baby to stay with other people, take him to the park or just a walk in the stroller around the neighborhood. These activities are healthy for you and great for baby’s well-being. It will also make him happier when he is indoors with you so you get more peaceful work time.