If you are pregnant or plan to be as a freelancer, or even a remote employee, you have some changes coming. After the first stage of joy and excitement, you will start thinking about how you are going to work from home with a new baby.
When I was pregnant, the further along I got, the more research I did. I asked anything that came to mind. With a tribe of mompreneurs out there, I was hopeful they could steer me in the right direction.
Some work at home (WAH) moms had good advice, but others not so much. My ideal situation didn’t involve shoving my new baby into the arms of a sitter before the umbilical cord even fell off.
Besides, some super moms don’t have the luxury of family or a support system nearby.
To each her own, and no shade or judgement here. I was just hoping for a different solution.
So for those out there going through the pregnant learning phase, I have some advice for you. I’ll share the best tips from others and what I can tell you from experience about how to work from home with a new baby.
Keep in mind when I say new baby, I’m talking about within the first year.
If you want advice beyond hire a sitter/nanny, read on to get tried-and -true ways of managing your home business while caring for your new baby.
Sleep when they sleep OR work when they sleep
I can’t tell you how many time I got the advice to sleep when the baby sleeps. My question was, “how the heck am I supposed to do that with so much to do?”
Don’t get me wrong, you will be tired AF as soon as you get home, so the advice about sleeping when the baby sleeps is mostly true.
But in my case, the checks had to keep rolling in so mommy had to keep working. I had to find a way to rest and work when the baby slept.
Is it possible do both? I did. I would alternate between working on assignments and napping.
All babies are different, but as a newborn you can expect frequent feedings and lots of sleep. That schedule gives you an opportunity to get small chunks of work done and take power naps.
As they grow older, they will stay awake longer. You can still pretty much predict their nap and sleep schedule. Use that to plan your work.
For instance, if I need to make business phone calls or write a blog, my baby’s nap time is the time to do it.
Know which assignments to do when
When my baby was old enough to sit up on his own, he became more active and independent. Before long he was crawling, pulling up, and then standing.
After that, he wanted his own playtime. Of course, he still craved a lot of undivided attention. He just didn’t rely as heavily on me every moment of the day.
During play time, take care of work that is noisy or that doesn’t require as much attention to detail. You can also work on things such as writing your blog with the voice-to-text like I’m doing right now.
Use voice-to-text to work on writing assignments
When this dictation feature first rolled out, it was pretty crappy and sensitive to background noise. It has improved greatly since then. Even after my baby wanted a nap, I was still able to continue my voice-to-text writing with as little as a whisper.
Voice-to-text may not work for you, but you may want to try voice memos for organizing your blog and typing it out later.
That’s what Gary Vaynerchuk does to organize his blog notes and book notes for his staff. The staff uses the notes to help him write. As he states here, your brain thinks faster than you hands type.
Be very flexible and open to change each day
Things will move and change quickly. Almost on a daily basis, it seems. One day during one of those power naps, you will wake up to a walking, talking baby instead of the little one who couldn’t make a move without you.
For working from home with a new baby, there’s a difference between a newborn and a baby who’s several months old.
You may be able to get more done with a baby that’s not brand new. Especially if your little one is independent. Some babies like to be held a lot even as they grow older. And at some point, most all babies want your attention.
Then again, some things you can get done easier with a newborn. That’s because you don’t have to chase them around and monitor their every move. They’re not mobile yet.
As your baby grows from brand new to infant new, keep the changes in mind. Your routine may change yet again. That means you may have to try a new system to get things done.
Your baby may be pleasant one day as you work and fussy the next. Every day is different, so embrace the roller coaster and go with it.
Work on tasks from your phone
Proceed with caution when working from your phone. Decide if it’s best depending on what work you have to do.
I’ll be the first to tell you, using your phone isn’t the best decision to write the final draft of an article or book. Especially when you are still doing night feedings and operating off of broken sleep.
My editor has had a few heart to hearts with me after one too many auto-corrects from my phone that made no sense at all. Everything looked good right before submitting it at 3:00 AM.
Some tasks you may be able to do from your phone are:
- Mock-up design work
- social media
- Informal emails
Tools like Canva, Buffer, and Gmail make these tasks easier on mobile devices.
If you’re a passenger, work en route to your destination
This worked wonders for me, especially during the early days when my baby would sleep the entire car ride. I was still in my healing process and he was too young to care. Riding shotgun worked out perfect to get a few things done.
Road trips are great for putting in work. Just plug in your earbuds and fire up your laptop or device. Use your mobile hotspot or car WiFi and kill your to-do list.
IF YOU MUST USE A SITTER…
Stay within your close-knit circle while the baby is new-new.
Try alternating schedules with your partner or asking your close relative to look after your baby once a week. That way you can get the most important tasks done and schedule everything else you need to do that week.
For instance, if you need time to concentrate on writing, you can get that done. The rest of the week, work on other tasks that don’t require peace and quiet or deep concentration.
Getting the bulk of things done on your child-free day will give you time to devote to your baby the rest of the week.
It works out well to ask my partner for two uninterrupted evenings per week. He completely takes over to entertain our “chubs” or take him for a ride while I work. Or I take my work to a free meeting space and get it cracking.
During the new-new phase, when I was really in a pinch, he also became my assistant, helping me stay caught up and organized.
Keep an open-mind and stay positive while working from home with a new baby
Motherhood is one of the greatest challenges and rewards. Throw business in the mix and you will soon find out what you’re made of.
You may feel unglued at times. You may feel defeated or like you can’t pull it together.
There are also times when you have your wins. When everything went according to schedule/planner/agenda, free of meltdowns or tears.
Everyday is different, and you won’t know what kind of day it is until you’re playing it out.
Just know that eventually, things will level out and you will get up to fight another day.
What are your plans to work from home with a new baby? Or what advice do you have that worked for you in the past?