Friends approach me all the time and ask the same question, “Amanda, how do you manage to work from home and chase around after a busy toddler?”
It really is much harder than you would think.
I mean, most of my friends already think that because I stay at home with my daughter that I sit around and eat bon-bons all day. I only wish that were true. Bon-bons are delish!
I’ve tried to describe to many of them what I do online to make money, and short of their eyes glazing over and hearing them actually snore, they tend to not care about what I am saying once we get past minute 5 of our conversation. Really, I should just start telling people what I don’t do. That list might be a bit shorter.
If you have also chosen to work from home after you have had a child you will understand when I say that it is much easier to do when they are babies, because they sleep more during the day and you tend to achieve more balance between work, housework and life in general. Even though I didn’t think I had much balance in the “life in general” category to begin with. It all just sort of fell together somehow.
Well, children grow. That is no big secret. About 18 months was really my wake up call. I found myself needing to check myself before I wrecked myself (had to throw in a little old school rap in the mix).
So, you still want to know my biggest secret to being able to work from home with my child, or are you bored yet?
If you are still with us, here it is:
Childproof your house.
Sounds simple enough, right? As soon as I created a safe environment where my daughter and I could co-exist and I didn’t have to have the eagle eye on her every second, my productivity level for work grew tremendously. I started this by doing 5 simple things around our house.
- Baby gates, baby gates, baby gates. Buy them in bulk if you can 🙂 I gated my daughter in, my dogs out and didn’t have to worry about anyone being anywhere that they were going to get hurt.
- Outlet protectors. Stick these in every single outlet that is in your house. If you don’t, your child is sure to find the one that is missing it. They are super sleuths like that.
- Tie back all electronic cords that are visible and ensure your child cannot grab them.
- Fix the blinds in the morning so that they are completely un-reachable by your child. I have found when mine becomes bored, the blinds are the first thing she goes for.
- Add cabinet locks to all lower cabinets. This will save you a ton of time saying “no” a billion times throughout the day.
Additional tips I can offer you.
- Create a schedule based upon your child. For instance, if your child is entertained by toys or cartoons best in the morning, then schedule working hours for yourself then. Make sure that you have enough of a balance so that you are there when your child needs you to be, but also encourage some independent play time so that you can get something done. We like to schedule some time to go outside each day also to enjoy some sunshine during the summertime.
- Enforce nap time. This is a must if you are going to get anything done in the afternoon at all with a toddler. Sometimes, it takes 2 hours to put my daughter down for a nap. I typically schedule this time accordingly because I know how she fights sleep. All children are different though and it is important to have them get in those naps so that they are happy in the afternoon.
- Pre-plan snacks and meals. This works out amazing if you can pre-plan and portion out meals and snack for the next day the night before. This way you are spending less time staring blankly into the refrigerator and more time being productive.
I’d like to end with a touchy subject. I think it is touchy because it is the thing that I dislike most about my day… housework. Sometimes, you just have to let it go for a bit. Unless, of course, you are running a bed and breakfast on the side. I am not the best housekeeper, but I am not the worst either. It just isn’t super important to me to have 2 dishes washed directly after breakfast. So, I tend to save those tasks for after daddy comes home. I’m a firm believer that people are coming over to see me, not my house. 🙂
If you work from home and have some tips of what you do to get those kiddos wrangled during the day, please comment! I love to hear what others do because as my daughter grows, I find that I have to constantly adapt my plan!