Working From Home Doesn’t Work For Everyone by Felicity Frankish.
Pre-kids I thought working from home would be the best gig in the world. I imagined myself typing away on my laptop while my baby slept peacefully, as I met deadlines with ease, brought in a bit of money, and still enjoyed plenty of cuddles with my little delight. In reality, things were very, very different.
I scored a freelance job when Cassie was just six months old. There were no set hours or tasks, but I was basically left to do what I could. It started off really well. Cassie was still napping about three times a day, and she had always been a good sleeper. Sure, I had to tear myself away from the computer a couple of times to resettle her with the dummy, which did throw out my flow a little bit, but it didn’t take me long to get back into the swing of things.
It was about a week later that I realised just how much things weren’t working.
Working From Home Didn’t Work For Me
I was finding myself annoyed each time Cassie woke from her nap – didn’t she realise I had work to do!
I’d go in and try and resettle her, thinking I might be able to push her through to another sleep cycle, and ignored her beaming smile that usually lit up my heart.
I found myself preoccupied when she was awake – occasionally escaping onto my laptop to finish off ‘just one more thing’ before giving my undivided attention back to Cassie. I soon started thinking how much easier it would be if she just wasn’t around for a day, and how much I could get done, and that was the first time I honestly realised that working for home wasn’t for me.
How I made changes
Soon after, I found a two-day-a-week job, where Cassie went into daycare one day and was with my mum the other, and found the perfect balance.
On my work days I was switched on and got as much as I could done, being as focused as possible. On my days off it was all about Cassie, and I spent my time on the floor playing with her.
That’s not to mean you can’t make working from home happen, but if you are going down that path, my advice would be:
- Set realistic expectations – some days, kids just don’t want to sleep. You have to be able to go with the flow and know that work can always wait, otherwise you will feel your frustrations surface,
- Put the laptop away – when your bubba is awake, place that laptop out of reach. Don’t be tempted to reach for it, because you are missing out on valuable bonding time with your little one.
- Try to not be disappointed – sure, some days you won’t get as much done as you planned, but that’s ok.
- Don’t be on call – I was getting phone calls and messages throughout the day and it sent me a little crazy. Try and set some work hours and let your phone go to message bank in between.
- Don’t be afraid to work at night. This is often your little one’s best sleep and you can get a lot done. These were my most productive hours before sneaking off for a little sleep myself.
You can make it work for you if that’s what you want, it’s all about finding that balance.
Felicity Frankish is Editor over at the parenting website, The Baby Vine.
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