Maybe your workspace recently changed from office to home as a result of COVID-19. Maybe you’re one of those mamas who’ve always worked from home. Or maybe you’re a stay-at-home mama with a serious hobby. Whatever the situation is, you’re probably reading this because you need a few tips to manage your day with a baby (or multiple babies) at home.
For me, it hasn’t been too big of a shift having to work from home since I was working remotely for a few months after giving birth (from August to January). But once I got used to the separate home-life and office-life, the transition to a completely 100% work-from-home-life was not easy.
Before I go on with my tips, I want to say something to all the mamas who are home with their child(ren):
You are doing absolutely great. You are an amazing mother who is and will always be the best mother of your child(ren). The entire world has been affected by this treacherous virus and the frustration, anxiety, and feeling of isolation is not something to feel guilty about. Though each mama is going through something different as a result of this virus, we are all going through hardships in our own way. I won’t say we’re all in the same situation because the truth is, no one is experiencing the exact same thing.
Life may not return back to the “normal” that it once was, but we mamas adjust and are pretty darn good at it! So I want to encourage all of the mamas out there to hang on a little longer, pat yourself on the back that you’ve made it this far, and know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
Without further ado, here are a few tips I picked up while quarantined at home with my husband and a little one. Remember not all of these tips may be appropriate to your situation but I hope you can get some ideas to get creative and apply them how you see fit!
- Be flexible or ask for flexibility in your hours:
- Even if your workplace has “core hours” set in place, many businesses are willing to adjust these hours when you ask. The company I work for has core hours from 8:30am-5:30pm. However, when I asked, I was immediately given the flexibility to work whatever hours to get my 40 hours in for the week. Look at your schedule and adjust your hours according to when you can be most productive.
- Use the mute button on your phone when dialing in:
- Whoever invented the mute button, is a lifesaver to many! When I need to take care of baby, the mute button is an absolute necessity. The mobility of using a phone to do whatever you need to during a call (change diapers, feed baby, tidy up, etc) is simply amazing. Use it to your advantage but mamas, please don’t forget to MUTE yourself first!
- No matter what, nap time = work time
- This is non-negotiable. This is the only stretch of time you’re probably going to have to have undisturbed time to work. Use every minute of it to stay productive! If your baby has somewhat of a routine, try to schedule longer projects or tasks that require more of your undivided attention, during baby’s nap times.
- Wake up before your little one does
- For me, waking up an hour before my little one to prepare for the day ahead and give me some “me time” is absolutely needed. I found it extra helpful to wake up a tiny bit earlier to squeeze in extra 20-30 minutes of undisturbed work time to catch up on emails and tackle high-priority tasks.
- Carry your baby
- Even when your baby isn’t napping, you can still type away! Carriers (I recommend are the Solly or the Baby Bjorn Carrier Mini) are best for when you need to use two hands (typing, filing, packing, and working around the house) to work. Since baby is on you, you don’t have to worry about leaving your baby unattended. I also found that my daughter loves the view from the carrier and doesn’t mind it when I work.
- Delegate responsibilities between you and your partner
- If you co-parent, make sure to communicate with your partner. Whenever I have important meetings during the day, I let my husband know the day before so that he is aware. Sending a calendar block for that time is also useful so that both of you have a reminder.
- Take turns spending one-on-one time with baby. When it’s your partner’s one-on-one time with baby, work work work! When it’s your turn with baby, play, play play!
- When it comes to house chores, divide and conquer. Plan out what you are responsible for and what your partner is responsible for and stick to it!
- Ask for help and accept help
- A time like this is when you MUST ask and/or accept help. Don’t let social distancing stop you from asking for help. If things are getting too overwhelming for you and your family, ask a friend or a family member to help with one simple thing. For example, if you need groceries weekly, ask someone to place an order for you every week. You can even reach out to mama friends to exchange activity kits so you don’t have to squeeze your already fried brain and the little one doesn’t get too “bored in the house, and in the house bored” (but make sure you disinfect!)
- Do one thing at a time
- Don’t try to be a superhero and be a perfect mom, a perfect cook, a perfect employee, a perfect partner, and a perfect homemaker. Do ONE thing at a time and celebrate each win! If you don’t get through your long to-do list, don’t fret. Instead, give yourself grace and know that you have the next day to cross off some of those tasks. Have you noticed when mama’s stressed, the entire family gets stressed? Let’s have mama happy so everyone elswe is happy!
- Keep communication open
- Whether it’s with your employer, coworker, partner, or child– keep the line of communication WIDE open. A sensitive time like this requires lots of communication so over-communicate rather than under-communicate. For work, I found it best to communicate via video-conferencing rather than phone or email. A face-to-face virtual meeting eliminates misunderstandings and gives that touch of social interaction! The same tactic works at home when I sit down with my husband for a few minutes with his undivided attention and vice versa.
- Reward yourself
- Be kind to yourself and reward yourself for doing the impossible! Reward yourself frequently to prevent burnout. Give yourself a mini at-home facial treatment, ask your partner to give you a back rub, order your favorite meal, buy yourself a cute summer dress! Whatever your reward looks like, remember you deserve it, mama!
Hoping for the best for you and your family during this difficult time.