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Working from home with a baby is not easy. Do you feel behind on your to-do list, behind on your chores, touched out, and overall just plain old stressed? Trust me, I have been there. As much as I love being home with my little man, I have days that I feel like I can’t get caught up. As a business owner and mom, that simply isn’t an option. What do I do to stay organized and manage my daily stressors? Read on to learn more!
I have been home working with my son for several months now and each stage of his life has brought new challenges and I have had to adapt along the way. Luckily, I only have one child so far and have been able to start my business as a new mom and business owner.
I remember the newborn phase like it was a hazy, yet life-changing dream. I had agreed to work-from-home during my maternity leave because they were short staffed and I honestly could use the money. I tracked my hours as I worked on administrative tasks that I could handle like email management, product ordering, payroll, invoicing, menu planning, and more. After I realized I could work and take care of my son, my life was turned upside down. I quit my job and started my own freelance virtual assistant business. Fast forward, now my son is almost 7 months old and on the cusp of crawling! That will shake up my routine again in a few short weeks… I have listened to podcasts, videos, and read blogs in order to find inspiration on how other mompreneurs have been able to juggle this crazy world of working from home, here is a summary of what I have learned so far.
1.Take advantage of sleep time. My son is FINALLY getting into a sleep routine with his naps, meaning I have a general time frame for getting work done for my clients as well as working on my own business (like writing blogs). Currently, I work 1-2 hours in the morning before he wakes up, 2-3 hours during his first nap, 2 hours during his second nap, and catch up on anything after he goes to bed.
2.Support Independent play. Independent play is so important for kids (and for moms). Tummy time and exersaucers have saved us in our house. I usually give him 3-5 toys that do different things and let him go to town. I can usually get easier tasks done during these times like updating my paper planner from Passionate Penny Pinchers and Trello boards, checking my emails, and my online calendar. I also like to continue my education so I often have a video playing or listen to a podcast. If independent play is not in the cards, get down on the floor and hang out with your kiddo. The things I listed above can also be done right next to your little one. I swear this kid will be a Pinterest expert in no time!
3.Work ahead, utilize schedulers, and automations. This goes against every procrastinator bone in my body but as a working mom and entrepreneur, I have no choice. I utilize social media schedulers like Tailwind and Meta Business Suite for my Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook posting. I take a day or two and get all of my content planned, created and entered for as far out as I can and fill in the rest manually as the days go on. There are some days where I am feeling like typing so I sit down and hammer out a few blog posts. Prioritizing also comes into play. I have an ongoing list of tasks that is constantly growing. I highlight three work tasks that I want to complete that day, anything else is icing on the cake. Kids get sick, don’t feel like napping or your husband has a flat tire, something can come up any day, it is best to work ahead as much as possible.
4.Get a portable pump (If you are a pumping mama). This tip is more for just functionality for your life. The freedom of not being tied down to a wall for 30 minutes at a time is frankly, astonishing. There are so many different styles out there and once you find the right one, you will not regret it. I was able to get the Willow pump. Insurance covered about half and I used baby shower monetary donations for the rest. I made it 6.5 months of being an exclusively pumping mama because I had a portable pump. Otherwise, I probably would have given up ages ago.
5.Exercise and get outside. Out of all of my tips, this is the one I have the hardest time with… I have usually had very active jobs in the past and now my job is more sedentary. Also, as I write this blog, it is currently 10 degrees F in Minnesota so it isn’t exactly good weather for going outside. I do different videos like baby-wearing workouts, yoga, or dance videos. Honestly, sometimes I will just turn a Disney playlist on and dance around for my son’s enjoyment. My more productive days tend to be when I incorporate some sort of exercise. My endorphins kick in and I am ready to take on my tasks for the day.
6.Ask for help. I can’t stress enough how important this is. Family, friends, a babysitter, someone from church. Find someone you can rely on so if you need to focus on work, your kid has someone safe to be with. I am lucky enough to have a husband, a ton of family, and friends who have all been able to help me out if I am in a bind. 95% of the time my son is with me but maybe I have an important meeting, project deadline, or I just need a break (more about those soon) that is when I start texting my support system to see if anyone can take him.
7.Find your tribe. Working from home can be very lonely. I have met so many wonderful women online through Facebook, Instagram, and Clubhouse. All platforms have their pros and cons, right now my favorite has to be Clubhouse. The best way I can describe it is a Zoom call without video mixed with an interactive podcast. I have really enjoyed learning from others as well as the networking aspect of it. I don’t know anyone else who does freelance virtual assistant work, let alone Pinterest management so I knew I needed to find some like-minded people. Us mamas need to stick together.
8.Do household chores with your partner(if you have one). Me being a work-from-home mom has been a change for myself as well as my husband. I am home, watching my son, and working. Balancing all of those is still a process and we have both had to communicate about our expectations, frustrations, and joys about this new adventure. In our house, I have agreed to keep up with dishes throughout the day, laundry, and other small (but important) tasks needed for the household to continue running daily. When he gets home we have family time and try to tackle a few other tasks together before we go to bed. We are both working, my office just happens to be in the home, that doesn’t mean I have time to be doing major cleaning and organizing tasks. Every family dynamic will be different but this is what works for us.
9.Take a break and enjoy your baby (or get out of the house). The flexibility that freelancing offers is unmatched. I gave a brief example of my generalized schedule above and during those hours that my son is awake, I try to give him the attention he desires. I embarked on this journey because I wanted to start my own business but I also wanted to spend more time with my son. It is hard to put down the laptop some days but I know that I need a break to recharge and my baby wants someone to play with and hug. They are only little once, enjoy it and get back to work during naptime. On the flip-side, sometimes we need a break from our work and our baby. This is where your village comes in again. Have grandma watch your child so you can go get your nails done or have some Target therapy. Take that break to recharge, we all need it.
10.Don’t apologize for having your baby at home. This is a big one for me. I am very clear with my current clients and leads that I do, in fact, have a baby home with me. I inform them that I can utilize my village and receive help from my parents or in-laws but in the end, I am a work-from-home mom and this is my path. If they are not okay with the fact that he might wake up from his nap during a Zoom call, maybe we aren’t a right fit for each other. Moms have been working alongside their children since the dawn of time. We have simply switched from being food gatherers in a cave to working on a laptop in our home, with our little ones right beside us.
I am proud to show my son what I do as a working mom. He gets to see me work hard every day but also sees me put my laptop aside and come play with him. The fact that working from home is more of an option now for other women like me is fantastic. I know this path isn’t for everyone, I know lots of moms who are stay-at-home moms full time as well as countless moms who work out of the home, life as a freelancer is simply another option. I have always wanted to be a mom but I also desire continuing my career path. Becoming a freelancer has given me the ability to work my desired hours, contribute to my family’s finances as well as spend more time with my son than I thought possible.
Comment and share this blog if you or anyone else you know is interested in becoming a dedicated mom boss who is ready to take on the world and run their own business from home.