Working From Home with a Newborn
If your world has been turned upside down due to the current pandemic, you’re not alone. Your schedule of bringing your baby to daycare and going to work is now more like waking up, turning on your computer with one hand while trying to feed your baby with the other and hoping there are no meltdowns during your morning conference call. Sound familiar?
While it may seem impossible to work from home with a newborn, we’re here to tell you that you can do it. But, you may need to take a few deep breaths and not be so hard on yourself, okay? Here are some tips to try to strike the right balance so you don’t fall over.
Take Advantage of Working Windows
While some newborns take to a schedule easily, there are so many others who are unpredictable. This means making a strict work schedule for yourself at home isn’t going to happen. If you can accept this and set aside “working windows” for when they’re napping, before they wake up, or when they go to sleep, it will make your life easier. This means you will have a quiet, uninterrupted time to get your work done.
For this to happen, you need to be flexible and open to working outside of your normal working hours. Many employers are realistic and know that everyone is juggling a lot these days due to the pandemic. They may not care what time of day the work gets done, as long as you’re doing it. If you can get on that train too, you’ll make things easier for yourself.
Let Your Baby See You
Remember all of that cool baby gear you got at your shower? Now is the time to use it. Many babies get comfort by just being near you or being able to see you. So, bring that bouncy chair or pack n’ play near your work area. You may also want to “wear” your baby with a baby carrier while trying to work. This can help soothe your baby while you’re on that conference call or while you’re trying to pound out a few documents.
Split Up Parenting Shifts
If both you and your partner are working from home, set up parenting shifts. These are blocks of time where one of you will be 100% on parent duty and the other can be 100% devoted to their work. Check your schedules the night before to see if there are special video meetings or projects that are due. Hopefully, you can find a balance that works for both of you.
Lower Your Expectations
One of the reasons why you may be so stressed about working from home with your newborn right now is because you’ve placed super-high expectations on yourself. Accept the fact that this is a different working environment. You’re not going to be able to work 9-5 straight through the day, especially if you’re doing this solo. You’re also not going to be as productive. Lower your expectations of what you know you can get done. It’s all about priorities. Make a list of two things you have to get done for the day, two things that would be nice to get done, and two things that would blow your mind if you got done. See how this changes your stress level at the end of the day as well as your productivity level.
Remember, this working from home thing is new to many moms. The struggle is real, but it’s not one that you have to fight alone. Lean on your other mom friends who are going through the same thing and you’ve got this!