How To Survive Working From Home With An Infant

When you are working from home with an infant or bringing an infant to work, there are a lot of things to consider. Is the child old enough to leave alone for several hours? Is the environment suitable for a child? Should care be taken when eating lunch while the infant is in the room? These are all valid questions that you should ask yourself before bringing your child to work or starting work from home with an infant.

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Working from home is a balancing act

I have a confession to make: I work from home. This is a standard offer for many writers and editors, and it tempts a lot of people who’ve spent their whole lives in an office. I used to be one of those people. I would have done anything to work from home — even things I didn’t really want to do. But having now been working from home for more than a decade, I now have some advice for those considering it. Working from home is a balancing act between two different kinds of life, the life you lead when you’re out in the world and the life you lead when you’re at home. You need to make sure the two lives support each other instead of fighting each other. The two lives will always be somewhat different; if they weren’t, you wouldn’t need to go home at the end of the day. But if they are too different, your work will suffer.

Find a space strictly for work and baby

I have a separate space where I do my work and watch my baby. It has a door that closes and an Internet connection. I use it only for this purpose, not for email or web browsing or any of the other things you do on the computer. The main reason is that having an infant in your work area is already Extremely distracting. You can call this strange, but I don’t think so. If you want to get something done on time, you have to be able to work without interruption on one task until it’s finished. You can’t run from room to room to check in on baby, because if you do, nothing will get done on time. That’s why I use my mom's room only for work and babe, not for reading or web browsing or anything else. However, my work sheerly consists of writing and editing so background baby babble isn't an issue for me.

Babify your office

For babies, it is important to have a separate space where they can play without bothering you. It should be near your desk so you can keep an eye on them, but it should also feel like a safe place for them to be. One good solution is to use a child’s playpen in your office. The one I used looks like an oversized pet crate, but I found the mesh too inconvenient to see through. Instead, I used a different one that has cloth walls and a zippered door, both better for viewing the baby through. If you only have one child, you may want to save money by using an existing crib or playpen instead of buying a new one. If you are working in the same room with your baby, it’s very important that you make sure there are no hazards, such as sharp corners or breakable objects within reach. You may want to put up some picture frames around the room with large pieces of paper over them so that if they fall off the wall they won’t break into shards that could injure your baby.

Get a schedule going

With a baby comes schedules. If you have a job, you have to figure out when you will work. If you have a baby, you have to figure out when you will feed the baby, change the baby and clean the baby. Cozi is a great app that helps in this process. The Cozi app is basically a scheduling app. You can input your work schedule and your little one’s feeding and changing schedule in the different tabs in the app. It also has a few other features but this is what I use it for most often. As someone who works from home, I’m constantly juggling both my working schedule and my baby’s schedule — getting everyone where they need to be at the right time is no small task. And without some sort of tracking system, it’s all too easy for me to lose track of whether my daughter ate or if she just spits up on me for the umpteenth time that day. What I like about Cozi is that it automatically syncs across all platforms — whether I’m on my computer, tablet, or phone — and keeps me updated with notifications and reminders.

Just because you have to take care of an infant and work from home that shouldn’t stop you from maintaining productivity

Being a parent is, for many of us, the first time we have to work at home. And working at home between 9 and 5 is very different from working at home after the baby goes to sleep. It is tempting to think that being a parent turns you into that most stereotypical American character, the housewife. She has no career, but she’s busy all day running errands and making meals, and cleaning the house. She never sees her husband because he gets home after she’s already put the kids to bed. But this isn’t quite right. The housewife’s workday ends when her kids go to sleep. After that, she can watch TV or read a book or take care of any chores that need doing. Since the chores don’t take as long as they would during the day, she can still watch TV or read a book or do whatever else she wants in the evening after dinner instead of taking care of the kids again. The real problem with being a parent is not so much what you have to do as when you have to do it. You will always be interrupted by an infant or toddler needing your immediate attention. You can’t just decide what you want to work on and then get started; you’re always having to stop

If you only have the time and energy to work for a few hours each day, then do so. It’s hard to neglect something you do every day. Also, while children will likely be sleeping for at least half of your working hours, it can be helpful to schedule your “work” around their naps. If your child sleeps in the morning, try to schedule some of your most difficult work tasks in the morning when you are fresh. Likewise, if your young one takes afternoon naps, try scheduling some of your less difficult tasks for this time.

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