Bringing a newborn into the world is often a period of great joy for moms. It can be hard to tear yourself away from those wriggling fingers and toes in those first days after your child is born. For many moms, that period can extend for weeks.
However, not everyone has the fortune to stay out of work for months after giving birth. Most moms are faced with the challenge of separating themselves from their babies and returning to work within a few weeks of giving birth. But more and more companies are offering opportunities for employees to work from home, which means new moms have another option on the table.
Working from home requires discipline, focus and a carefully-maintained schedule. Working from home with a baby is a whole different beast of a challenge. A sweet newborn infant is a formidable distraction for moms enamored with love over their new kids. Moms have even less of a chance of getting work done when the infant’s fussy or colicky.
Although working from home provides new moms with the chance to care for their kids and keep their career going at the same time, it also presents a serious challenge for them to take on. Working with a baby around isn’t easy - you have to have discipline, backup support and a solid plan of action to balance your work life and your personal life.
Take advantage of help offered
You may feel like supermom, but that doesn’t mean you can do everything, and it doesn’t mean you have to do everything alone. Sometimes a project demands your full attention to be completed, which means you can’t stop to take breaks for your baby. Remember that you can invite others to help you too. Ask your partner, your parents or your friends to stop by when they have the opportunity and babysit for a couple hours while you lock yourself in your office and work. You may be tempted to insist you don’t need hand-holding. Drop this urge. Accept any help offered from your loved ones.
Learn to be flexible
As a work-at-home mom, ‘work hours’ will be more loosely defined. Learn to take advantage of any opportunity to get work done, and learn to adapt your plans to your situation. You may plan on shutting the door and plowing through work in the early morning, but expect to change your plans to accommodate interruptions multiple times.
If you have someone over for the evening, take advantage of their presence and get some work done in the office while they watch the baby. If you’re a morning owl, sneak in work in the early hours when everyone else is still asleep.
When it comes to creating to-do lists while you work virtually, learn to adopt a more flexible style of list-making. Order your list by priority, and identify which ones can be done while multitasking. You can try to get your entire list done every day, but the reality is life will get in the way repeatedly. Rather than set yourself up for failure, learn to be more flexible in your expectations and goals. The best plan of action is to identify what is most important and work from there.
Provide entertainment for your baby
Your baby will not quietly entertain itself for hours at a time, day in and day out, while you work in the office. Your baby will cry when left alone, cry when in your arms, lose interest in all her toys quickly and find ways to get into trouble when you’re not looking.
Your newborn doesn’t understand the concept of work time and mommy time, and she won’t understand it for a couple of years. She’s going to need stimulation, human interaction and entertainment. You will have to learn to work with a baby in one arm at a minimum. You can keep your baby nearby and more easily stimulated with a playpen kept in the office. Figuring out how to balance the work-life balance as a new mom is tough. You’re going to face unexpected challenges, and there’s a good chance certain tasks with slip your mind or fall through the cracks. Don’t beat yourself up. For the next few months, the name of the game is flexibility.