Working from home with a baby – survival guide
We’re all having to get used to a new normal, and for many of us, that involves suddenly having to adjust to working from home. Whilst this may initially feel like a dream come true, for those of us with babies or young children, the reality of juggling full-time parenting with full-time work (and all in the same space) can feel about as far from fantasy as it gets. In fact, it’s tough. Really tough. And exhausting. Sometimes it can feel pretty much impossible – particularly when you’re also having to negotiate all the other practical and emotional knock-on effects of COVID-19.
One thing that’s become apparent, however, is that we’re stronger when we work together. The internet is rife with helpful sources to help you adapt successfully to the demands of being a stay-at-home-parent-AND-employee. We’re highlighting a handful of the most useful suggestions from parents who’ve been doing this for some time. It won’t always be possible to follow every little bit of advice, but do experiment with different tips to find out what works best for you and your baby.
That said, these are nuggets of wisdom we think will arm you for success:
Proximity is paramount
Babies are comforted by being near you and the sounds you make – even if you aren’t interacting with them directly. Keeping your little one close-by while you work may mean that they’re less likely to call for your attention because they can already feel your presence. Baby carriers, slings and wraps can be invaluable here – not least of all because they create bodily contact while keeping both hands free for typing!
Plan a schedule…
And then be fine with it all going to pot. You’ll have some days when you win, and many when you don’t, but, if you have a plan, then you’re at least giving yourself a chance to follow through on your objectives. Even if you manage to establish a small part of a daily routine (regular breakfast and morning play, lunch time, naps – whatever), you’ll all benefit from having an established moment of order and can build upon this. Remember that there’s plenty of productivity possible outside of the normal 9-to-5 working day. Assuming flexible working hours will help you to feel you can be both parent and worker during the day.
Take full advantage of nap time
Sorry, this doesn’t mean that you should be napping… but while children are sleeping, we can be at our most productive and entirely guilt free for working. Don’t be tempted to rest while they do during the day. These really are the golden hours for working-from-home parents.
Take care of you
This means giving yourself full permission to have some time off when things require it. It means lifting the pressure of trying to be the perfect parent and employee at the same time, and being OK with having to rethink the day’s schedule. Plan time for interacting with other adults socially (online, on the phone) to ensure that your own needs are fulfilled too. You are more than a parent and an employee; nurturing yourself will make you better in both of these roles as well as keep you sane!
Cherish as many moments as you can – if you can make it less about survival and more about valuing this precious time with your little one, then you most definitely are winning.