Working at Home with a Baby

Disclosure: This post from my archives is being re-run as part of BlogHer’s Smart Mom’s Guide to Being Busy editorial series, brought to you by Rice Krispies and BlogHer.

I did a post before about my crazy daily schedule on the days that I go to work. A few people have requested that I write a post about how I manage working at home while taking care of a baby. I’ve been thinking about it and it’s hard to describe exactly how my day goes because every day is so different. In fact, yesterday I ended up having to work from home an extra day because my baby was sick and I didn’t feel comfortable sending him to daycare. Look at this face…even smiling when he feels like poop.

Smiley baby even when sick

A few things make working from home much easier in my situation.

  • My baby sleeps through the night (and has for quite awhile) so I am not sleep deprived.
  • He loves to play by himself on his playmat, in his exersaucer, on a blanket with toys, etc.
  • My husband often comes home for a few hours late morning or early afternoon and can help out with CJ while I get some work done.
  • My dad will come over at lunch and feed CJ or play with him for a bit some days too.
  • I don’t have a ton of meetings and I generally know my deadlines in advance so I can plan ahead.
  • I go to the office every other day so I’m not going stir crazy or trying to manage this schedule every day.

Here’s what a typical day may (or may not) look like when I work from home (although sometimes the morning starts out poopy!).

5:00am – wake up
5:30am – workout
6:30am – make a shake, pick up the kitchen, put some laundry in the wash
6:50am – shower and get dressed
7:10am – turn on computer and start working
8:15am – feed CJ when he gets up
9:00am – work while CJ plays on his own
10:00am – eat breakfast #2 while working
10:30am – keep working while CJ naps
11:45pm – get CJ dressed and feed him
12:15pm – play with CJ for a bit
12:45pm – make lunch and eat
1:00pm – get more work done when daddy comes home for a few hours to watch CJ (and feed him)
3:00pm – work while CJ plays on his own
4:15pm – feed CJ and play with him
5:00pm – make dinner
5:30pm – do a little more work and eat dinner while CJ naps
6:30pm – feed CJ
6:45pm – snuggle time, play time, clean up the house
8:00pm – bath time (daddy usually does this while I makes bottles up for the next day, pack for work and daycare, etc.)
8:30pm – feed CJ and put him to bed for the night
9:00pm – talk to hubby for a bit
9:30pm – bed

I’m telling you, every day is different and obviously some days go much more smoothly than others. CJ is often quite tired on Tuesdays and Thursdays (when I am home) because he goes to daycare on Mondays and Wednesdays and doesn’t nap well there. He’ll usually nap extra on the days I’m home with him which allows me to get more work done.

A few tips for working at home while taking care of your baby:

  • Plan your day. Work on things that take more concentration during nap time or when you have someone to help out. Work on things that are easier when baby is awake.
  • Fit in extra hours at night or early in the morning when your baby is sleeping if you have a lot to do.
  • Take advantage of the extra time you’re saving by not having to put on makeup, not having to drive your baby to childcare, not having to sit in traffic, etc.
  • I try to schedule most of my meetings for the days I’m in the office. If you work from home full-time, try to schedule meetings for nap times or when you have assistance.
  • Have a few different areas where you can work. I work most mornings in my office upstairs. CJ goes in his swing or plays on the bed (it’s a guest room too) with toys. In the afternoon I usually work from the kitchen and CJ can play with his other toys in the living room (which I can see from the kitchen) or take naps in his crib.

As an aside…I love this post on Tiny Sneakers from a few weeks ago about who has it easier – Working Moms vs. Stay at Home Moms.

None of it’s easy. Please don’t judge any moms for their work and/or childcare choices. Some moms choose to go back to work for financial reasons or because they love their jobs. Some moms choose to stay home because it makes more financial sense (if you need full-time daycare, you could easily end up spending your whole paycheck on childcare depending on how much you make at your job). Some moms choose to stay home because they can’t stand the idea of letting a stranger take care of their baby. Some moms are able to work part time and feel that’s the situation that gets them the best of both worlds. Some moms are able to do their jobs from home, either with outside help or just by multi-tasking. Some moms, like me, do a combination of working inside and outside of the home. I’m sure my work and childcare situation will change completely over the next few years as our business grows. Much more to come on that, but this is what works for me and my family for now.

As one of my Twitter friends said…unless they pay your nut, no one can tell you how to make a living. I love hearing how other people are making it work, whether they stay home with their baby (or kids) or whether they are working full time or part time.

Sick baby sitting upright

Would you rather stay at home with your baby, work full-time or try to do some of each?

Any other moms who work at home have additional tips to increase productivity?


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