Recently, I wrote this for local community blog Worthing Mums and would like to share it with you too. If you are a local mummy or daddy, feel free to hop over to their blog for lots of resources and parenting topics.
I went back to work pretty soon after having Fin. I started slowly with settling-in days when he was around three months. It wasn’t exactly out of choice, just couldn’t afford not to. Plus, it is nice to get out and converse with grown-ups at least one day a week.
Eventually we settled on me working almost full time with 3 days per week being based at home. As I have come to learn, this is not for the faint hearted. Toddlers don’t do deadlines. In fact, I’m almost convinced that Fin can sense when I’m frantically busy and chooses this time to lose the ability to play by himself for any tiny length of time.
If you are like me and find yourself working from home, I have put a little list together with some tips that I have had to learn the hard way 🙂
1) The most important advice I have and find extremely difficult: keep adjusting. I like a routine. Whilst we do have a good basic routine set up for eating, sleeping etc., working around a toddler changes constantly. I struggled to get my head around that for quite some time and the end result is not pretty. So, just go with it and let go of the things that you can do a bit later.
2) Get your child involved. In everything. Literally. They love feeling grown up. Get them to help you with housework, even just giving them the washing off the line to put into the basket. Get them to ‘help’ you with their work. Set them up a desk at the dining table or next to you if you have space. I sometimes move to the dining table so Fin can draw or do Playdoh next to me.
3) Have regular breaks together. Sit down for 15 mins and just read, have a snack, do a puzzle, build a tower… But make the break count. Don’t look at your emails or answer your phone. It’s only a short break, in just a few minutes you can call back or answer that email. But it makes all the difference in keeping both of you content.
4) Use your child’s sleep times. It’s the most obvious. Work when they sleep. Not just nap times (if they still have them *sigh*). Get up early or work in the evening. You will soon work out which is the most productive for you. I do a bit of both depending on what needs doing. We have a factory in the States so it can be really effective working in the evening when it’s their day time. But I also occasionally get up at 6 am when the house is super quiet. I get loads done then!
5) One last but equally important tip: set clear boundaries – switch work off. Let your colleagues know when you are most likely to be available. My work know that often in the afternoons we are at the park. I take my work phone to be available for emergencies but after you have spent the morning juggling work around your toddler you deserve to close the lid on your laptop 🙂
Do you work from home? Do let me know if you have any handy tips to add.
I have based this completely around just having one child. To be honest I couldn’t imagine doing it around two! 🙂 If you are that crazy person, I’d like to hear from you!