Last year, I wrote a blog with some strategies for working from home with an infant. There were many strategies that seemed to work well with my tiny, immobile baby boy: baby wearing, working during naps, letting my baby play independently for short periods while I caught up on some work. Now that my son is fifteen months old, these strategies no longer work. At all. I still work from home full time, while caring for the little man. As my munchkin got older, and more mobile, I found that working from home with a toddler brings a whole new set of challenges!
- Naps? What naps? My son doesn’t really like naps. So I couldn’t rely upon regular, long, daily naps.
- Independent play (or lack thereof): My little munchkin has lots of energy. He isn’t naughty, and he isn’t really high maintenance. But, when he is awake, he wants to play with mommy and daddy. So, when he is awake, I can’t expect him to play with his toys, on his own while I work.
- Baby wearing: While we still rely heavily on our Ergo, it only works if mommy is on the go. Otherwise, it is a no-go! So I can no longer wear my little one while working.
So, how does one get any work done with a toddler at home? Flexibility!
- Get up early. My son wakes up around 6 or 7 each morning. I get up at 4am to ensure that I can work for at least two solid hours before he wakes up.
- Stay up late. Since my little munchkin goes to bed around 7:30 each night, I normally have an hour or so to work before I hit the hay.
- If a magical nap happens, put the cell phone away, close Facebook and turn the television off. During these times, I try to focus solely on work, for maximum productivity.
- If that magical nap doesn’t happen, we take a drive in the car, which will often lull the little guy to sleep. I take my laptop with me on these drives, grab a Starbucks coffee, and set up shop in my car, in the parking lot. I get as much work done as I can while he naps.
- Snack time! If I need fifteen minutes to answer some emails, I grab some strawberries and Cheerios, and let my munchkin hang out in his high chair for a few minutes. Sometimes I will give him some clay or toys to play with, if I need a bit more time!
- Daddy time! I always try and schedule important meetings when my husband is home so that the little guy doesn’t have to suffer through long meetings, quietly.
As my little boy gets older, I know that I will need to continue to develop strategies to successfully work from home. And, while it can be challenging at times, I am forever grateful that I can be home with our munchkin each and every day.
Are you a work-at-home-mom? How do you manage to work and care for your kiddos, simultaneously? Comment below to share your tips and tricks!