I resigned from my “perfect dream job” to settle in holy matrimony at a rather tender age. Soon after, my husband and I were blessed with a baby. Once I donned the mom-hat, getting back to work seemed like a futile aspiration.
But the career-minded woman in me, wanted to keep going. I started exploring options of the little somethings I could do along with being my baby’s mother, not because I had to, but because I wanted to. After a couple of trials and errors, Mommy Voyage was born. I started to blog about my experiences as a teacher and a mother, I began to document our life on an open platform, I passionately began to record and click every milestone of my baby, the activities we did together, my food experiments and whatever I thought was beautiful! And the bonus was it got me some money. I was enthusiastic to keep the site running.
I would work on my blog posts while my son slept peacefully during the afternoon, or while he wiggled on his back near me. But I knew it wouldn’t remain the same for too long. Soon Gunbir started to run around the house and was more keen on tapping keys on the laptop. Gradually the day nap time reduced.
The only time I could work was when he slept for an hour during the day. Making sure I spend enough time with my son along with the other house chores like cooking, laundry, cleaning etc. became overwhelming. I felt like there wasn’t enough time in a day to accommodate the multitude of tasks demanded off me. I was overwhelmed, I felt the need to re-evaluate and figure out what is that something that needs to change.
By this time my son had dropped his mid-morning nap and would stay up till late at night. I couldn’t count on the hour and a half I got at night to catch up on emails or make a few infographics. That’s when I started to wake up an hour early and it changed a lot of things for me. My day would start on a peaceful note, even if I only ogled at newspaper and did nothing else.
After almost two years of working from home with a Baby, this is what I have learnt :
One has to set their priorities straight
And once you have set your priorities, leave no room for doubt, guilt or another person’s judgements. I have set my baby as my first priority, and giving enough time to him makes me happier. This could mean I have to ditch a girls night out or a make an excuse for a movie night to finish work deadlines, but I am okay with it.
Get on routine
Babies love routine and when you set yours according to their routine, it makes life simpler for both parties. I am guilty of trying to be a control freak, but I have realised he will sleep when he is sleepy and will eat when he is hungry.
Respect your baby’s cues
Babies don’t speak but they can communicate as much as we can. So what really worked for me was to be very attentive and respectful of my baby’s cues. Being there for him when he needed to sleep or when he needed a feed was imperative. Also a calmer, happier baby meant I could work with a happy frame of mind even if it was for lesser hours.
Find your own routine
After dropping my son to preschool, I swing through nearby cafes and spend the two hours my son is in school with myself and my laptop. Now I don’t always work in those hours and just randomly think about how I’d save a drowning friend or mindlessly scroll through Instagram. Okay! No I also do what I call “work”. The point I am trying to make is that we need to find that one routine that helps transit from home time to work time.
Schedule calls and meetings at convenient times
I allow limited screen/phone time to my son and guess what the same rule applies to me. So no matter who has calls, I cannot talk because I cannot preach what I don’t practise. So the one time I can use to talk on phone is when I take my son for a stroll on his tricycle. We stroll inside the building premises and we take rounds while I finish the phone conversations.
Find that angel and hold onto it
When Baby spends time with Daddy I get a few hours by myself. When he is with his dad, I am assured that he is in safe hands and sure having more fun than he would with me. If I have to go attend a meeting or an event, the one person I can trust is my spouse. It could be your mother, your sister, your aunt or a friend you trust, you got to figure out who you can trust blindly with mothering your baby in your absence.
No app or device can ever replace the old school post its and diaries for me. And Like you’d know, mom brain is real! I am capable of forgetting details of a conversation I had minutes ago. What comes to my rescue are the endless lists I make me for – grocery, payments, bills, e-mails, ideas that crossed my mind, potential blog posts, and so on.
Keep the child entertained
What I noticed is, if I’d spend quality time with my son, I’d get a little more time to work. So in our time together we do fun activities and he continues to do them when I’d need to get some work done. Also if we have a fixed time for play, children look forward to that time and are less likely to get grumpy before that. It works for me to involve him in capacity that he can handle.
Make weekly plans
In the beginning of every month I make a rough plan of what I expect out of myself. I schedule – park visits, gaming activities, blog posts, meetings and all that is want to do in that coming week. When I see a balance of Baby and work on that page, I give myself a pat on the back.
Go easy on yourself
Not every actions mentioned in the weekly plan is done before the weekends. Choosing self-compassion over self-criticism makes you confident and improves productivity. Going easy on yourself brings greater perspective and therefore better discussion making.
One could easily question the productivity of a work at home mom. But in my personal view, the rewards of working from home outweigh the challenges of staying productive, disciplined and focused.