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After I had Caleb, I did NOT want to go back to work. This was huge for me to admit. I was always the one who thought I would go crazy being at home all day with a child. However, during my maternity leave, it started to become a reality that I would eventually return to work and the thought was terrifying. My boss at the time totally surprised me. She told me that I could work part-time from home.
This was easy at first. When I got home with Caleb, he would eat and then go to sleep. I would work the next couple of hours and then I would be off from work before he would wake up again. Then as it got closer to my time to return to the office full-time, I noticed that it got a little difficult to work from home with Caleb. It started by Caleb not going to sleep after I got him home which made it difficult for me to take a conference calls and focus on project. He was getting more mobile and my attention was divided between him and my work. I have to be honest, when it was time for me to go back full-time all day, I was ready. 🙂
Combining work with taking care of your children can be a complicated experience. No matter your occupation, taking care of kids and handling work can be stressful if you are a mother who works from the comfort of your home or a mom who works in an office outside your home. Sometimes you just have to bring work home especially when a kid gets sick. That report is still due and you have to get it done. Yes, our children come first but sometimes we have to find a way to work it out.
Now that Caleb is two, it is a little easier to work from home with him. He entertains himself so I am able to set up a table where we can both work on something. He gets some paper and crayons or his iPad and I work on my computer. If he is sick, he just lays on the couch and sleeps while I click away.
The key for me has been to keep him engaged. Here are some ways to ensure your kids are engaged and happy while you focus on your task when you are working from home:
- If your kids are old enough, you should inform them about your schedule and help them understand that you do not want your work arrangement to be interrupted by their requests.
- Create a timetable that’s a combination of work time and playtime. Make a commitment that you will be available for them to play with them during the playtime if they do not interrupt your work.
- Make use of a “do-not-disturb” signpost on the door of your office if you do not want to be disturbed.
- Give them a task to complete by filling a box with games and toys that is exclusively used when you are busy working. You can go a step further by adding some exciting activities like a puzzle, book coloring and other attractive games to keep your kids engaged.
- If your job does not entail working on the phone, it makes it easier to keep your children engaged when you are busy.
- Create an office for your kids and place table and chairs.
- Ensure the lunch box is loaded with some of the snacks your children will like to prevent them from coming to you for refreshments.
- Include art supplies, coloring books, puzzles, and children’s magazine in their office.
This should help decrease the amount of times they are disrupting in your work.
If you have a small child like I do, I typically work from home half days when I have Caleb. It’s just easier as he gets into so much and I want to make sure I don’t neglect him. I also take advantage of the 2 hour nap time. I am able to crank out most of my work during that time. As I said before, the key for me is to keep him engaged with lots of activities, small breaks outside, PJ Mask, Mickey Mouse and lots of his favorite foods to enjoy.
And as always, enjoy life’s sweet spots…