New Mama Guide: How To Manage Working From Home With A New Baby

After having Harper in January of 2018, I took off almost 3 months of maternity leave from my work at GoLive, which was the perfect amount of time for me to get ready to head back to work! Before I went on maternity leave, I’d drive into our office 4 days per week, and I worked from home, coffee shops, or wherever on Fridays.

However, when I was ready to start clicking away at my keyboard again, I decided that I would work from home more days per week than my original setup. My boss, Promise, agreed that it would work for me to work from home 3 days per week instead of 1 as I got used to the new baby. I’m still SO thankful for this flexibility that I have!

Working from home with a new tiny baby without full-time childcare can definitely take some getting used to! It took me (and baby Harper and my husband James) a little while to get into the groove of things.

Now, a year after going back to work after Harper, I’m now working almost 100% remote or from home. Sometimes it’s still not easy, but we’ve learned ALL the hard things and now I can share them with you!

Disclaimer! I’ve had 7 hours of childcare 4 days per week since Harper was 6 months old, which obviously helps a lot! This was after 3 months of inconsistent childcare for us. However, days when Harper is sick, when it’s a national holiday but I still have to work, and other extenuating circumstances, I am the one home with Harper. I’m her main person at home since I can really work whenever, but my husband James would have to take a sick day to watch Harper.

This Guide Is For You If…

  • You are about to go back to work full-time and have some flexibility with WHERE and WHEN you work.
  • You are a stay-at-home mom with a new baby that wants to start a side hustle or full-time business working from home.
  • You want to start a new blog or business, but you’re trying to navigate how to balance your time with your new passion project and your responsibilities to your kids.

Here are my tips, tricks and ways to avoid potential pitfalls of working at home with your new baby.

01. ABOVE ALL ELSE, nail down your baby’s routine so YOU can have routine.

I’ll say this now and get it out of the way! We are a BabyWise family! All that means is that we decided to get Harper on a predictable rhythm and routine early on when she was a baby! Although we weren’t sticklers with the clock, we would make sure to follow predictable patterns.

In those early days, Harper would follow a cycle of being awake for an hour (or less) and sleep for two! As she got older, those cycles got more and more stretched out, but for the most part, we always knew what her day was going to look like.

Because Harper’s schedule was more predictable, mine could be too! I knew that I would be able to put in at least an hour or more of work in during Harper’s consistent nap schedules.

When I could plan ahead for my time, I could prioritize my tasks and be mentally prepared for each “work block” I had! This made ALL the difference in the world for us.

02. MORNING PERSON OR NIGHT OWL? Find your perfect times to work when you are the most effective.

I just listened to one of my new FAVORITE podcast episodes on “The Science Behind Timing, How Morning People, Night Owls and Everyone Else Can Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness,” and I feel like it NAILED all the things I intuitively knew about myself and how I work, but explained it with science and how other people work in there too!

For me, I am — and always have been — a night owl more than a morning person! I do my best and most efficient work basically between the hours of 8pm to 1am. I know, I’m crazy! Most people are totally opposite and work best really early in the morning.

For me and James, that means days that I am not able to work long stretches because I’m home with Harper, I have doctor’s appointments, am running errands, or whatever else we have going on, I end up working from 8pm-11pm after Harper has gone to bed.

No matter what, if you can find a 3 to 4-hour block of uninterrupted time, you’d be shocked at much you can get done. That might mean getting up hours earlier in the morning or staying up a few hours later in the evening. I recommend taking advantage of times your baby is consistently asleep for long stretches, or when your spouse is home to help take over for baby duty (or both!!).

If you combine these times with when you know you’ll be most effective, that’s going to be the bet thing!

03. ASK FOR CONSISTENT HELP. Find consistent solutions for when you can’t have interruptions or for things that you need to do consistently.

If you have a call that you really can’t have a baby interrupt with an unscheduled cry, or you know you MUST write one blog post a week, find help to make those things a priority during your time!

Here are a couple of different ways to find childcare or ask for help during these times if you’re not ready to find consistent part-time or full-time childcare:

  1. FREE: Swap with a fellow stay-at-home mom. I have two friends who do this weekly! They swap taking each other’s kids so they each get one afternoon kid-free per week. As long as the trade is fair, and you setup an arrangement that’s consistent, this can really work!
  2. FREE: Ask family members for consistent help. Grandmas, great grandmas, aunts, cousins — they’d all LOVE to help but you’ve just got to ask! James’ parents currently come once weekly to watch Harper, Double bonus because then they get scheduled, uninterrupted time with their granddaughter as well.
  3. FREE: Ask your spouse to give you a block of kid-free time Saturday mornings. Get away to a coffee shop, or let them schedule getaway time that is consistent each week! James and Harper had a season of spending Saturday mornings going to Target and Barnes and Noble to give me 2 hours to try to tackle my to do list on a Saturday morning.
  4. CHEAP: Find a local college kid who just needs a little extra cash. Have them come watch your baby just for 3 hours per week on one afternoon! Bonus if you can set them up to do your dishes, a load of baby laundry, or some other project or task they can get done during the baby’s nap.

04. BE REALISTIC. Set reasonable timelines and give yourself grace with your goals.

I think this one I HAVE to say, but as a Type 3 on the Enneagram, I want to bust out things and deliver things to people quickly to go above and beyond expectations. BUT, sometimes, that’s just not realistic in this season of tiny babies. Here are a couple of ways I’ve tried to be more realistic with my goals or timelines.

  1. Don’t overcommit. You can say NO to things. You do’t have to take on every project or favor that comes your way.
  2. Give yourself extra time when promising to have something done for a client or customer. Tell them you’ll have it done by Friday even though you know it will probably be done by Wednesday. You give yourself extra wiggle room if an emergency sleep strike comes up, but if you get it done quickly, you get to go above and beyond and show up early to that client or customer.
  3. Keep track of what’s ahead in your baby’s calendar and milestones. Vaccine appointment? Don’t plan any big deadlines the week after. Coming back after a long weekend away of travel? Give yourself a couple of days for both of you to get back into your routine.
  4. Make a “To Don’t” list. My boss, Promise, actually gave me this tip! Come up with a list of things to NOT do in this season. That doesn’t mean you’ll never do them, but just for a couple of months, you’ll decide NOT to make these things a priority.

05. KNOW THIS IS FOR A SEASON. Be patient with your time and know this juggle isn’t forever.

At some point, your tiny babe WILL start preschool or kindergarten unless you choose to homeschool. You will get time then back in your day! The season of either making it work with babies at home, or paying for childcare, is really a small window in the grand scheme of things.

06. MANAGE MOM GUILT. Hey girl, you don’t deserve that and your baby doesn’t either.

In the early days, it can feel like something is squishing your heart or you could feel selfish as you leave your baby for a few hours. OR, oppositely, you could feel like a bad mom because you feel NO guilt for leaving your baby to get sh*t done for your business.

If you’re like me, and with the hormones going crazy, you could even swing from one end of the spectrum to the other in a matter of 5 minutes.

Guess what? ALL of those things are NOT of the Lord and are NOT tied to who you are, your worth, or your identity. Mom guilt is a LIE.

If you’re called to work on something you are passionate about, that matters.

If you’re helping provide for your family financially by working, that matters.

If you’re just getting started, and you’re investing time & money into something NEW that excites you, and might not even be making money (yet), that matters.

If you decide that working does NOT work for you, your spouse or your kids, that matters.

You’ve got to follow your gut, pray for guidance and wisdom for the season you’re in, and do what you’re called to in the season you are in. Mom guilt does not get to dictate the decision you make either way.

The Wrap Up

I could go on and on about this but this is getting a bit long! I’ll have more guides, tips, lists and tricks about each of these things and more along the lines of being a work-from-home mom, a work-from-wherever mom, and managing working full-time and having all the babies. So stay tuned on the blog!

PS — Loving this content? Let me know! Follow me on Instagram and send me a DM telling me what other tips you want to read here!

snapshot

Working from home with a new tiny baby without full-time childcare can definitely take some getting used to! It took me (and baby Harper and my husband James) a little while to get into the groove of things.

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