Working from Home with a Toddler (Without Losing Your Mind)

Choosing to work from home can mean that you value being present in your child’s life as much as possible. The opportunity to be there for every milestone is amazing! But trying to balance mom life and work life under the same roof is…..well, less amazing.

It’s been six months now since I took the plunge and officially became a work-from-home mama. I knew that working from home with a toddler was going to be tricky and the adjustment took longer than I anticipated! If you’re struggling to work from home successfully, here are a handful of tips that have made my life easier in both roles:

1. Be 100% Present.

Both jobs are important, so be fully present with one at a time. When you’re playing at the train table, having an imaginary tea party, or flying around the living room in a superhero cape, be all there! When you’re sitting down to send those emails or tackle that work project, be all there! Nobody wins if you try to do everything at once. Which leads me to number 2…..

2. Decide your work times in advance.

Be flexible, and figure out what works for YOU. I will never be able to wake up a few hours before my kids to get things done, so I try to schedule work evenings and larger chunks on the weekends (while Daddy gets 1-on-1 time).

3. Consider sleep training.

If your child fights naps and/or bedtime, sleep training may actually help your work productivity. They need the rest, and you need the time to work! Sleep training our son when he was about 9 months old was one of the best decisions we ever made. I highly recommend the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.

4. Get on board with the idea of self care.

Working from home means most of your waking hours are already spoken for. That’s why it’s so important to carve out some regular time to take care of yourself outside your other responsibilities. I find it easier to add self care to my daily routine than hope for a full spa day or something elaborate like that.

Self care can absolutely be little things like a warm bath in the evening rather than a shower, taking 10 minutes to meditate before bed or before switching gears to work mode (I love the Headspace app for this), spending the extra five minutes in the morning to apply some mascara or lipstick, choosing to listen to music that makes YOU happy (oh hey there, N*SYNC Greatest Hits Album!)….you get the idea. Those simple pleasures add up quickly.

5. Enlist help when needed.

If you have a looming deadline or a big project to knock out, it may be time to call in some favors. If you don’t have family nearby, you can always work out a childcare trade with a friend who could also use some alone time. Just use these requests judiciously to avoid wearing out your welcome!

6. Be realistic.

If you’ve applied these tips and are still struggling to strike a balance between your two roles, you may need to re-evaluate one or the other. Do you need to hire a babysitter a couple times a week so you’re free to work without interruption? Do you need to talk to your boss about cutting back your hours (or take on fewer projects, if you work for yourself)? Take stock every few months and make sure that working from home is still the right choice for you and your young family!

Do you have any tips that have made working from home with a toddler any easier? Share them in the comments!

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