I heard from so many of you – people who own their own businesses, those who work from home for a larger company, fellow bloggers and more! Thank you for taking the time to share your words of wisdom with me!
I’ve been told time and time again that working from home and raising a child can make you feel like you’re doing a bunch of different things, but nothing well and this concerns me, but it’s also helpful to have realistic expectations in place. After our baby arrives, I am not sure what life will be like and loved the insight you guys provided to me. (And believe me, I understand that all moms have to work very hard to find balance in their lives – whether you work full-time out of the house, work from home or raise your kids as a stay at home mom – but today’s post is simply focusing on work-from-home moms as that’s currently at the top of my mind!)
I am planning to work from home and hopefully resume teaching at the gym once I am approved to exercise again, though this logistically may be a little rough at first since my gym doesn’t offer childcare until a baby can sit up (around 6 months). In the meantime I’m soaking up your advice as I begin to plan and prepare for the coming months with a new baby by my side.
Here are the top tips I received from work-from-home moms, organized into categories that seemed to pop up over and over again!
Advice from Work-From-Home Moms
Find Your Time of Productivity
- Nap time and after bed are the most ideal times for me to get work done. It may mean getting up before the baby to get ready for the day or neglecting a little housework but it really is the best time to get stuff done. – Cristina H.
- I get up typically an hour or so earlier than the wee ones and try to get in a good hour of working! I work when they nap. I work when they go to sleep at night. Again for another 1-2 hours. So these things all my seem small, but it ends up being at least 7-8 hours a day of actual work, just not all together like a normal nine to fiver. – Briana
- Maximize naptime! – Caroline A.
- I found that having a set work routine really helps. Even if it wasn’t the same time each day, I counted on working for an hour or two before my daughter woke up, during naptime and after she went to bed. It’s also important to schedule some down time each day or you can feel like you’re working from when you wake up until you go to bed. I like to know when I “clock out” each night so I have time to unplug and catch up with my husband. – Gina H.
- I think it definitely helps if you can find a part-time nanny few days a week just so you can find a good balance. I also did a lot of my work after bed time or during quiet time. – Angela
- We have an amazing nanny who comes two days a week for six hours a day, so I can work without worrying about what our little girl is doing. We adore our nanny, and she comes to our house, which is priceless. – Caroline A.
- Utilize your husband or partner! When Cory gets home from work, I really like it to be “family time” but sometimes there are deadlines that need to be met and/or tasks that you didn’t get to while your baby was crying all day. Once you become a mom, it’s INSANE how quickly you can do almost anything. Things that used to take me an hour to do, I can now do in half the time. Hand the baby over to Ryan (which he’ll love!) for an hour or so, and get your bigger things done then. – Colleen N.
- I do think it’s important to point out that if you work full time or part time for a company from home then you really need reliable childcare just as you would if you were going to work. Your company is paying you to work and taking care of an infant is a full-time job. It’s really challenging to successfully do both. My job was very flexible and many times I’d wake up early do get a few hours in and take a much longer lunch break to nurse and cuddle but we still has a full time nanny. Working from home with a baby is challenging. – Erin
- I suggest looking into a Moms Morning Out program (some churches offer them). Once my daughter was around 10 months old, that’s when it got REALLY TOUGH to work with her at home, because she was craving more stimulation when she was awake. She didn’t start preschool until 16.5 months old, that was a HUGE relief to us, even though she was only going 2 mornings a week for 3.5 hours at a time. We never did daycare, but part-time preschool is such a blessing. The kids love it because they make their little friends and the parents love it because it gets you a break. They’re usually very affordable, too. Also church preschools and MMO programs might not be as well-advertised online since they don’t spend as much on marketing as the big chain daycares/childhood development centers, so you might just find out about them through word of mouth. – Kim
- I would recommend hiring a mother’s helper for a few hours a week to help out while you work on your blog or do other things. My neighbor does this (after trying to work from home without help for a while) and it works well for her. Good luck! – Rachel P.
Cut Yourself Some Slack and Be Flexible
- In the beginning, forget a schedule. I know that goes against any and all work-from-home advice, but your baby won’t fall into a real rhythm for months so if you say “I’m going to write from 10 to 11 a.m.” you’re most likely setting yourself up for failure because it surely won’t happen that way. Your baby’s schedule is your schedule, and that’s that. Unless, of course, you have someone coming over to help you during the day. – Colleen N.
- The biggest advice I’d give is be prepared to be flexible and never leave anything until the last minute because the silliest things will disrupt a baby’s schedule and mess up your plans. – Dottie
- Do not be too hard on yourself if you don’t feel like you think you’re “supposed to” feel or find yourself missing your regular work schedule/interactions with people. The first two or three months is up and down and exhausting and I really missed my routine at the beginning! I feel like people don’t really talk about that, but I think it’s very normal and expected. Just don’t be hard on yourself for any and all feelings. – Casey T.
- My biggest advice for moms working at home with little ones is to go easy on yourself! You are only one person and you can only do so much! It’s so easy for me to get into bed at night and feel like I failed at both being a mom and not getting enough work done but that is silly. I’m doing the best I can at juggling both worlds and that is all I can do. When we focus on what we are doing well we will be happier than if we are to constantly get down on ourselves for not doing enough! You are doing great! Make sure you take care of yourself (exercising, eating well and sleeping) so that you can take care of everyone else! – Janae J.
- The house isn’t going to be perfect all the time, the laundry will pile up and you will feel overwhelmed. Just know that your children will remember the example you set by working hard for them, and the time you spend with them, not how clean the house is! – Cristina H.
- I am still figuring it out and there are days I want to work a lot more than others, but I had to drop any expectations I had of myself or labels I had put on myself and find what was right for me, our baby and our family in that given time. Whatever is right for YOU guys is all that matters! – Jessica V.
- My advice is to be flexible… some days you will get it all accomplished and some days you won’t. You will NEVER look back on this time and say “I wish I would have worked more”, but you might look back and say “I wish I would have worked less.” – Hollie
- You have to recognize that as a stay at home mom who also works, you CANNOT do it all. You can’t work a full time job and also take care of kids full time and expect it all to flow seamlessly. As kids get older there is less napping, more chaos and also a lot more fun. But the pockets of time to work are less and less. Prioritize the work that matters and consider scaling back on things that are less important (or less lucrative). Remember that taking care of kids is a job in itself! – Emily M.
When You’re Working, Work – When You’re With Your Kids, Be with Your Kids
- Some people really can work and be with their kids at the same time, but I just can’t. Don’t try to do both at the same time. I thought at first I could at least check emails when I was nursing, but my emails stress me out sometimes and I didn’t want that energy when nursing. So I found awesome books that made me happy and did emails during nap times. As my daughter got older, she would grab for my phone or computer or would just plain need my attention. I found I was answering emails poorly and not giving my daughter what she needed. I finally decided when I was with her I would ONLY be with her, and then when I worked that is all I did. It made everything go more smoothly. – Jessica V.
Take Time Off In The Beginning
- My best advice is to take as much time off when baby first comes as you possibly can. Don’t check e-mails during your maternity leave either. It really can all wait. They are so needy at first and you are figuring out your new life all while you are lactating and going through the postpartum healing and emotions. Try to step away (I know it’s hard) and enjoy those first few weeks. You’ll never regret taking that time off, and things fall back into place when you return. – Christina
- At the beginning definitely take off as much time as you need–don’t be hard on yourself and give yourself permission to have that time away from ‘normal life’ so you can soak up that newborn time! – Annette
- My biggest advice would be to take your time to figure out your baby’s natural routine and start to build your own routine around that (nap times, feedings, etc). Don’t be too worried or anxious to start a strict routine, you will be stressed enough trying to figure out the whole new motherhood thing! Go easy on yourself – The happier and less stressed you are, the happier your baby will be! If your work from home job allows, take the time to soak up the snuggles. The infant stage is SO fleeting and enjoy every moment you can. The laundry, the dishes, and everything else… It will all get done, I promise! Focus on your sweet new baby boy, follow your instincts and you will do great! – Danielle
- The most important thing is to give yourself a BREAK after the baby comes! Jumping directly back into work is tempting since newborns sleep a lot and you are so excited to share all the details of this new amazing life. But it catches up quickly, and the pressure and workload can feel overwhelming when all those crazy new mama hormones start going. Take care of yourself and your baby. – Emily M.
- Initially, be sure to get some rest and cut yourself some slack. I had a conference call the day after I had Liv, and really wish I would have waited to jump back into things because I felt overwhelmed as a first-time parent and trying to work from home. – Gina H.
- Make a to-do list. At this point, I find this more helpful than setting a schedule because if Jack happens to fall asleep, or is content for a few minutes on his play mat, I’ll consult the to-do list and see what I can get done (it’s also helpful because your brain stops working after you give birth and you forget everything, so you need to write shit down). – Colleen N.
- Set up your week with you partner in advance. My husband and I usually chat Sunday nights about what is happening during the week. Important calls or appointments we each have, activities with our daughter and then any social activities. If I have some major conference calls or taping I need to do, I’ll block it during a time he can be with our daughter and vice versa. It helps us so much to know and respect the other person’s priorities and to know ahead of time if we need to be the one on nap time duty. Then when we have family time, we are each 100% present and aren’t thinking of anything else! – Jessica V.
Question of the Afternoon
- What advice do you have for first-time parents who are worried about adjusting to life with a newborn? Do you have any tips or tricks to share that made life a little easier? Or things you’d do differently?