Work-At-Home-Momming (Or Dadding) Can you do it? Yes, Obviously.

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Work-At-Home-Momming (Or Dadding) Can you do it?  Yes, Obviously.
Can you have a career while simultaneously looking after your children? Of course you can. Why? Because you’re a badass woman (or man) and you can do whatever you want.  We here at Baby Goes Here are Working-At-Home-Parents and we strongly believe in those who decide to take on working while staying at home with your kids.  It’s tough, it can be unproductive, and there can be days when you want to either a) quit your job or b) move to a traditional office, but we’ve got some pointers to help make it work for you.  
  • Plan, plan, plan! I am not naturally a planner.  I like to go with the flow, see where the day takes me, and make decisions as I go.  Even when I had my daughter, I still barely planned our days.  It wasn’t until I decided to work from home and not send my 18 month old to daycare that I became an excellent planner.  Find a system that works for you, whether it be Google calendar, your iPhone, or a whiteboard with post-its, and start tracking everything you do. Plan when it is most convenient for you to take a phone call, block out time to write your blog post and what kind of activities you can have your kids do while you focus.
  • Keep a to-do list and hold yourself accountable.  There are so many distractions when you’re working from home even without kids.  No one is holding you accountable day to day, so you may end up doing things that waste work time - such as taking a long walk to Starbucks (guilty), taking a short nap during your child’s naptime (guilty), or realizing your sink is full of dirty dishes and you just can’t focus until they’re all done (guilty).  Pretty soon, it’s after working hours and you still have a ton to do.  It can be so easy to fall behind because of these habits.  By having a to-do list and sticking to it, you avoid the pile-up of things you have yet to do.
  • Wake up early.  If you read our blog post on efficiency when staying at home, you’ll know what I’m talking about.  There are a couple reasons why waking up early is beneficial to your day.  It can be tempting to sleep in until your kids get up, but you end up wasting time since both you and your kids have to get ready for the day at the same time.  This inevitably creates chaos  If you wake up before your kids, you have the opportunity to get your day started before everyone gets up and demands your attention.  You also start your day intentionally.  You can make coffee, get dressed without rushing, and get organized in peace.  You also might even be able to squeeze a little work time in.
  • Set up a home office.  Having a designated place in your house for work can help you keep a work-life balance.  When your dining room table is scattered with notes, paperwork, and a laptop, it can feel like your work never escapes you.  It can take away from intentional time with your kids because your job is still staring at you after you decide to close your laptop.  With a home office, you can shut the door, close the curtain, or at least keep all of your work-related materials in one designated area, so you can unplug when you need's home office      Today's "home office"
  • Swap play-dates with a friend.  If your children are bouncing off the walls and can’t be occupied, ask a friend with kids if they’d do a prolonged playdate at their house so you can get some work done.  In return you could do the same for them.  
  • Childproof your home office.  This has been key for us to be productive while taking care of our daughter.  If you completely childproof your office, you can sit your kids down on the floor with some toys while you sit at your desk.  They’ll be happy to be in the same room as you and you can get work done knowing they’re safe even when your back is turned.
  • Try to make your work as mobile as possible.  Making your work mobile gives you ultimate flexibility.  When it’s a summer day and your kids want to play outside but you have work to do, you can bring your laptop out in the yard and supervise them while still maintaining some focus on work.  Many indoor playspaces have wifi and desks for this exact purpose.  Here in Chicago our favorite place to go on chilly days is Present Place.  They even offer complimentary coffee!
  • Give your child undivided attention before starting your day.  One big problem many Work At Home Parents have is that their kids interrupt them frequently wanting to play.  Before you begin your work day, it’s helpful to spend time doing an activity with your kids.  Whether it’s going for a walk, playing a game, or cooking breakfast together, quality and uninterrupted time with Mom and Dad can help kids feel like they’re not starved for your attention from the moment they wake up.
  • Stay away from Twitter.  Working from home myself, I have been known to occasionally browse social media more than I might if a coworker was sitting next to me.  It is a total time suck and this coupled with kids who also want your attention, can cause you to spend a significant amount of time NOT working.  Try to limit your time on Instagram, Twitter, etc. by setting a timer for yourself.  After 10 minutes, as hard as it is, I put my phone down and don’t open Twitter until the end of the day.  
  • Explain to your kids what you are doing.  If your kids are of the age where they can understand, explain to them what you do and why it’s important that you focus.  This will help them better understand why you can’t play with them all day long everyday.  They just may end up being more accepting when you have to close the door.  
  There you have it!  Being a Work At Home Parent is hard, but totally doable.  Hats off to those who make it work.