Life Lessons: Working from home with a baby
With my daughter turning 1 in a week and a half, I’m finding myself reflective and sentimental. I tend to be that way. As such, I’ve been thinking about the last year and the lessons that Lexiana has taught me. And while they are too many for just one blog entry (trust me, there will be at least one more!), I thought I’d focus on what she’s taught me about working from home and taking care of her at the same time.
Work can be done at 6 a.m. Seriously. I suppose it can also be done late at night but not by me. I’ve never been a night person. But, I have learned this past year that I can get work done at 6 a.m. when I have a deadline and need time where the baby is asleep.
Two hours can pack a lot of tasks. I used to have large chunks of uninterrupted work time. This past year, two hours has been about the longest uninterrupted work time I’ve had. And it’s amazing how much I can actually get done when I know that I have a limited time during which to focus on work.
Scheduling phone interviews during nap time works. In the past, I was always incredibly accommodating to folks I was interviewing and would let them pick the time. This year, I’ve learned to suggest the best times for me. And it’s never been an issue. Nap time is definitely the best time for phone interviews.
Running work errands takes longer and requires more planning. While my daughter is happy to go with me on errands around town, I do have to wait until she’s awake and fed for those errands to take place. And it’s not as easy with a baby in tow. But, having a post office with a drive-through window within a mile of my house is priceless.
It doesn’t matter what I wear — mostly. I still stand by the fact that I work better when I have my hair done and makeup on and am out of my PJs. But, I’ve also done work in my PJs this year more than ever. And I’ve done work while hooked to a breast pump. I’ve done work in my bathrobe. It can be done.
I really can work from anywhere. I knew that to be true in the past, but over the last year, I really learned this. In fact, until recently most of my work was done from my loveseat in my living room for various reasons. Being now back in my home office is a good feeling. Though even my office is different. A baby monitor now sits beside my computer monitor.
Multi-tasking is possible. While I make sure to stay focused on what I’m doing so that I do a good job, I have multi-tasked more than ever before in this past year. In the early days, I’d sit beside her on the floor and work on my laptop while she did tummy time. For the first 10 months, I worked while pumping (a whole other article in and of itself that is!). I fielded phone calls while making food or watching her play on the floor.
It’s been easier than I expected. I have a happy baby. I don’t know how I got so blessed, but she is a happy, independent girl. Working from home and still taking care of her has challenges, but it’s been so much easier than I expected. I thought I’d need more help. I thought I’d have to do more after-hours work. However, just like her mama, my baby girl loves a schedule. I know each day what times I have to get my work done. And she’s a good sleeper so that I get enough time to get it all in. Then when she is awake, I can just enjoy spending time with her.
Life changes. I have to include this last one as well. While it has been easier than expected and my daughter loves her schedule, her schedule hasn’t been the same for the entire year. A newborn sleeps more and eats more often than an 11-month-old. Juggling her schedules and my pumping schedules were always a challenge and were always changing, but somehow it worked. As I look forward, I know that by this time next year she’ll have changed even more. At some point she’ll dwindle down to one nap instead of two. She’ll be even more mobile than she already is. She’ll need even more stimulation and interaction than she already does. I’m not sure how I’ll handle those changes, but I know I will. I’m not a fan of change, but I’m learning. I’m going with the flow. Seeing her happy face makes it even easier.