Ever since ending my maternity leave 3 months after baby girl was born, one of my most frequently asked questions is: How do I balance work with a baby?
So in today’s post I’ll be addressing exactly that.
First things first however, for those who aren’t subscribed to my newsletter or following me on Instagram, you may not know that exactly four days ago, I handed in my notice, quit my corporate job, and became a full time content creator *whoop whoop* (full story here)
I share this just to say that whilst the following information can help just about any mum, please be mindful that I am coming from the perspective of someone whose career path allows her to work from the comfort of her home, which won’t be the case for everyone.
Right, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get into this post already!
1) WEEKEND PLANNING
Every weekend I spend approximately 2 to 3 hours planning the week ahead. I’ve been scolded a few times for working over the weekend, but the truth is these hours have a huge impact on just how successful and productive my week is, especially with a baby.
During these 2 to 3 hours I schedule a whole bunch of tasks and activities, for example:
Main goals for the week (in order of priority) | Important to-do’s | Baby activities | Baby play dates/catching up with friends | Client or assistant meetings | Campaign work/brand calls | Social media activity | Content creation | Self-care time | Outdoor errands etc.
For any organisation/planning lovers like myself, I use Asana to help me get super organised, it’s fantastic.
Everything about my work setup screams out flexibility. From working in multiple rooms throughout the day, to downloading apps on my phone so that I can work even whilst I breastfeed, being flexible allows me to get as much work done as possible, especially when I have important deadlines.
Here are some things that have made my life a million times easier:
- A baby caddy that holds a few toys and toiletries. I take this into any room I’m working from; the toys keep Chloe entertained, and when needed I can do a diaper change without having to go to her room. I’ve used this one since she was born.
- Identify which resources/apps you use the most for your work and download them onto your mobile phone. For example, on my desktop I use Photoshop and Lightroom for photo editing, however on my mobile I can also do advanced photo editing with the Lightroom or Snapseed mobile app – all whilst breastfeeding or carrying baby with one hand!
- Let’s be honest, there are days when Chloe requires more of my attention and love than usual, which means I don’t get enough work done during the day. On days like this, rather than try to force work, I do the little that I can, and reserve my energy for the evening when she goes to bed and I can make up for lost time.
3) BABY ENTERTAINMENT
Want the recipe for an unproductive work day? An unstimulated baby!
Listen mamas, if you want a good shot at this working mum thing (or simply getting things done with a baby), you need to keep your baby engaged.
Now that doesn’t mean buying a truck load of toys and expecting your baby to be entertained for hours on end, because the truth is that rarely works. Instead what you want to do, is observe the toys, resources, or baby safe gadgets that your baby naturally navigates towards, and give them these to play with. Once they get bored, which they will, switch things up; change their environment (move to another room), or change the sensory nature of their entertainment e.g. go from playing with toys to watching disco lights.
Here are my current baby entertainment go to’s:
- DIY Sensory board
- Bubble Machine
- Everyday baby safe household items
- Sensory toys e.g. sensory books
- Musical instruments e.g. Rattle, DIY shaker etc – we love this set
- Disco ball
- Play gym
- Youtube Baby Sensory etc
4) ASK FOR HELP
As a mother who is still pretty attached to her daughter I’m giggling as I type this, but the honest truth is if you have trustworthy help, use it! On days when I have tight deadlines and in particular when shooting video content, I either drop Chloe off at my mother in laws or ask. her to come over for a few hours whilst I film.
4) NAPTIME SCHEDULE
Finally, the tip that has helped me the most, is to listen to your baby’s cues and have an idea of his/her usual nap time. I power through as much work as possible when Chloe naps (approx every 3 hours), and ensure that we wind down when she is tired so that she isn’t overstimulated or overtired.
So that’s it from me! No two days are the same, and some days are a complete write off, but I do what I can and that’s the best that I can do!