After my maternity leave ended, I started working from home, which seemed like it would be ideal but now feels like a total disaster! I’m neither accomplishing much work nor spending quality time with my little one. Is there a way to make this work?
A: Scheduling, scheduling, scheduling (and asking for help)! First, determine how much uninterrupted time you need each day to accomplish your work responsibilities. Then, examine your baby’s schedule: When does she nap? When does she seem content to play on her own? Dedicate those periods of time to work. Don’t be swayed by laundry, dirty dishes or other household tasks that take less concentration and can be done with your baby in tow.
You may find that you’re still left with additional work to complete and a baby who needs attention. In this case, seek out a “mother’s helper” who can come to your home for a set period of time each week to care for your baby while you work in a separate zone. This helper can be a family member, friend or thoroughly vetted individual you find through a nanny or childcare service. If your work requires phone calls or in-person meetings, schedule these obligations for the time your helper is with the baby.
Now for the fun part! Just as you set aside time dedicated to work, it’s important to set aside time for you and your baby to connect. Turn off your phone, forget about your chores and errands, and read a picture book, sing a song, go to the park, or do anything that contains only the ingredients of you, your baby and fun.
When you have a clear vision of where your time will go each day, you won’t feel the undercurrent of mental nagging and will be able to dedicate your full self to each activity. This will start to infuse your days with a greater sense of fulfillment, accomplishment and happiness.
Of course, life is unpredictable and does not always follow our schedules. Be flexible with yourself while making a daily commitment to veer back onto the path of your schedule.
—Bailey Gaddis, certified hypnotherapist, HypnoBirthing and birth doula