Working from home with children
Balancing work and family can be difficult. Even for those of us who work from home (like me!), the balance is still precarious. Colleen Stewart, a mom of two, has some ideas for how to make that balance a bit easier when you work from home. Stewart, creator of Playdate Fitness, shares some of her best tips with us in this special guest post.
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Working from home can be the ideal way to balance your family and career. No more long hours commuting, after-hours meetings or missing work on those days when school is out of session.
But that doesn’t mean your at-home work office is an easy-peasy alternative, either. Small children don’t always make the easiest coworkers. However, working from home is still the better of the two circumstances. So let’s look at how to make it a more ideal work situation for you.
Getting some help
Getting some help with your children in-house is probably the most ideal solution to help with balancing work and family. A spouse who works different hours or has a job with more time flexibility time-wise is one solution, though not the most doable. Hiring a sitter who can stay with your child for some or all of the hours you’re working can be the best answer to your situation. Sites like Care.com can make it easier to find help near you. Most of the candidates have gone through background checks and are open to working flexible hours and days.
Creating a safe space for your child
If your child is an infant, then you at least have the luxury of long nap times. And baby monitors are getting more revolutionary every year. They’re available at every price point and offer a wide array of features, including night vision, two-way audio or wearable baby monitors that monitor baby’s heartrate, oxygen, sleep patterns and more.
Pack-and-play yards can give your little one a safe place to play near you. Pack-and-plays are also easy to move from room to room. If your little one needs a larger crawling space, consider using a baby gate in a room that has been thoroughly baby-proofed. It’s critical, of course, to ensure all hazards have been moved out of harm’s way, like electrical cords and wires, trash cans and sharp edges.
Recycle toys every few days to keep your child interested. And although you don’t want to keep the television on all day, for those times you need your child to be engaged and quiet while you’re busy on a call, if you do some research you can find some really good programs for children of all ages.
Other ways to keep your toddler occupied include learning toys that captivate a child’s attention for a while. When looking at toys like play kitchens or building blocks, look at online reviews to check for safety recommendations, types of materials and price to ensure you purchase safe, nontoxic toys your toddler will enjoy.
Using your time wisely
You don’t have to necessarily dress for success, but you don’t want to spend your workday in sweat clothes either. For instance, since you’re not pressured into having a different outfit every day, you can take that blouse, blazer and pant combo and mix and match them. And although you don’t have to wear heels to your home office, having nice ballet flats instead of house shoes can make you feel more professional.
Prepare meals ahead of time on your weekends and thaw them for dinner or lunches. You’ll find yourself eating healthier that way, too. Even breakfast can be healthy and quick by preparing fruit and veggie smoothies. Oatmeal is quick, easy and, as long as it’s not loaded with sugar, healthy. It’s lots faster to prepare than bacon, eggs and biscuits.
Considering a career boost
This time when you’re home and raising your child can also be the ideal time for you to make a career change. Whatever career move you’re considering, having a business degree can let you hit the ground running by learning key business concepts and skills. Online degrees allow you to choose a bachelor’s business degree in accounting, business, communications or management. And you can also receive a certificate to match your particular career goal. Some online programs can be completed in as little as five weeks.
Making time for family time
Make a childcare schedule just as you do for any of your business tasks, too. Harvard Business Review suggests keeping a calendar for your childcare time, like the hours after they first wake up and before they go to bed for the evening. Write in the activity you’ll do together, like feeding the ducks at the park, baking cookies or reading bedtime stories. You and they will both find the rhythm of the day that way, and your child will be more patient when you’re busy with work, knowing they have their own special time with you, too.
You can make this work-from-home opportunity both productive for your career and an ideal way to spend more time with your children as long as you make a plan, get help when possible, have the right home environment and even use the time to create your future with online classes. Balancing work and family really can be a way for you to have it all.
About the guest author:
Colleen Stewart loves giving her two kids a healthy example to live by. Her passion for community and wellness inspired her and her husband to team up with their neighbors and create a playgroup that allows the adults and their kiddos to squeeze in a workout a few times a week. She created Playdate Fitness to help inspire other mamas and papas to prioritize their well-being and set a healthy foundation for their little ones in the process.
Connecting with other moms who are balancing work and family is also helpful. Be sure to check out the Moms with Grace private Facebook group to connect with moms like you!