When I was pregnant, I thought, "Man, I'm so lucky! My company will let me work from home with my baby. Life will be so easy!" God, I'm an idiot. The first part is still true. I'm so grateful that my company lets me work from home. In fact, I just finished doing just that.
The first 4 months after Jax was born I worked from home exclusively. That wasn't so bad. He slept most of the time then. However, I was badly in need of socializing. Jax was born September 4, 2013. In Chicago, it is still really warm in September. One day, I left the house after months of working from home, and it was cold. I was in shock, and I realized that I was living in a cave. I started to work from home only 3 days a week, and now I am down to two days a week. I needed to better balance my life. It was really hard working 100% at home with a baby. I was going 24/7 at that point. The two days a week from home is perfect. I can socialize with GROWN UPS (!!) in the office and spend more time with my son than than a typical 9 to 5er.
I've been doing this juggling act for a year now, so I thought I'd share what works for me. Below you'll find my tips.
1. Baby Proof - Jax is one now, and is crawling and stumbling along all over the place. We've made my office right off of the play/family room that is completely baby proofed. He doesn't always have to be in my office. He can run around and make a mess, pull toys out, and eat cheerios while bumpin' to Disney Radio on Pandora.
2. Give yourself a break - When I was working at home more often, I always went to the gym during my lunch break (free babysitting! Thank you, YMCA).
3. Give yourself a break (pt 2) - As in, give yourself a break, don't be hard on yourself. I constantly feel like I'm only giving part of myself to my career and part of myself to my family - constant guilt on both ends. This isn't something I have mastered; it is more of a do what I say and not as I do. I do have guilt. But, I put all of myself into everything I do. I know I shouldn't feel guilt, but whatever, I do.
4. Check-in - When you're working from home, it's important to stay in front of your co-workers and managers. Check-in with them throughout the day to keep that personal relationship and show your progress for the day.
5. Plan - I plan out my to-do list in my Outlook calendar the night before and cross out items as I finish. This helps me track my accomplishments throughout the day and week, but, as an added benefit, I share my calendar with key people in my organization, so they can see what I am doing throughout the day. If they have any questions about which projects I am working on, they can check my calendar for an update.
I have been chuggin' along at this for two years. I'd love to hear the advice from other work from home moms! Reply below.
You might also like:
The Key to Successfully Juggle Work and Motherhood: Outsourcing