Working from home may seem easy, but those who do it know that it can be touch. Now, working from home with a toddler: that’s a whole other story!
I’ve been getting a couple questions from readers and friends on how I schedule my day with a little one at home. Some are just interested in what I do all day staying at home. Others are curious how ‘work from home’ really ‘works’ with kids.
Now, let me start off by saying I’m no expert on this. While I like to organize my sock drawer (and pretty much every other drawer in our house), I’ve had to learn through lots of trial and error how to manage my time running a business while taking care of a little one.
So here’s what an average day looks like working from home with a toddler:
6am | I get up. I’m a morning person by nature so this isn’t that hard for me. I pour myself a cup (or two) of coffee and either get some blog work in or miscellaneous items on my to do list that are more difficult to accomplish when Declan is awake. For example, yesterday I booked a flight to see friends in Cleveland. It’s tough for me to do ANYTHING on my laptop when Declan is up as he wants to jump (literally) on it.
7am | Declan gets up & I get really for the day. I utilize the time where Declan sleeps to be on my computer or to photograph projects (it’s wayyyyy too hard to photograph with a very active little baby climbing all over my project). This means daily tasks get done while Declan is awake: brushing my teeth, doing dishes, laundry, etc while Declan is playing near by. I’m hoping that this teaches him independent play, but at minimum it allows me to get some things done around the house without eating in to nap time.
Declan is MUCH better behaved in the morning so that’s when I also try to clean the house and prep what I can for dinner. (Here’s some tips to be extra efficient with cleaning.)
8am | I go running with Declan and Reagan. I don’t LOVE running like some people do and I’m not very fast (let’s think of it as more of a fast walk), but it’s the most effective way for me to get a workout in while Declan is awake. Plus I’m able to exercise our dog at the same time, so it really makes the most sense. Other mornings I go to the gym which also has drop off daycare. (Here’s how I pack my gym bag.)
9am | Declan takes his first nap and I go STRIAGHT to my computer to do work. I’m very disciplined on getting to work right away. This means no cleaning the dishes, organizing the house, etc when Declan is asleep. The biggest struggle to working from home with a baby is the limited work hours, so making the most out of nap time is KEY.
11am | Lunch for the two of us, then off to play groups, Zoo, swimming, visit with friends, etc. While we do weekly baby classes (swimming, Gymboree, etc), I love heading to the local community centers’ tot play rooms so that Declan can burn some energy!
2pm | Declan takes his second (and final nap) and I go straight to my computer to work! I often do photography during the afternoon as the lighting is better.
3:30pm | Declan wakes up and we play inside for a bit. Like clockwork, he hits his fussy period by 4:30 so we typically head out to a park if it’s nice. I also try to have dinner as prepared as I can by then. I’m a huge huge huge fan of meal prep and lots of organization in making dinner. If it weren’t for this, we’d spend all our money ordering out.
6pm | Joe comes home from work and we all have dinner. Then I let him play with Declan for at least 30 minutes while I go do something else, whether that’s taking a quick shower , doing a little work or a household project.
7:30pm | Declan goes to sleep and we clean up the kitchen from dinner. I like to wake up in the morning with a clean slate! Then Joe & I hang out for the evening.
Then rinse and repeat. Literally.
Here’s a couple things I do to help manage life at home with a 12 month old:
- I keep Declan moving around the house. We spend probably 15 minutes in a room at a time: whether that’s doing laundry and bringing it to our bedroom to fold & put away. In all honesty I can probably find something to clean or organize in any room of our house. Oh and I also work from my phone. In fact I’m writing this blog post right now from Declan’s room.
- I let Declan play with items around the house. Kitchen spoons while I’m making dinner, clean clothes while I’m doing laundry, etc. He finds it interesting because it’s new, while giving me enough time to get some chores done.
- I plan out my days in advance (and even Declan’s meals). I don’t like to be ‘over scheduled’ but a little planning the night before goes a LONG way during the day.
As far as working from home with a toddler, here’s a couple of my best tips:
- First, it’s not as easy as it looks! Just need to set the record straight on that one.
- Find a way to ONLY work while your child naps (no cleaning, no well… anything else).
- Before the nap, you need to know WHAT you’re going to work on so that you can dig in. For example, if I’m planning on photographing while Declan is sleeping, I pull all my supplies out BEFORE he takes a nap. Essentially I only try to do the items that I can’t do while he’s awake.
- As a blogger, there’s lots I can do on my iphone as opposed to my computer. Personally I’d rather work on my computer, but the reality is that often I need to work via my phone while Declan is awake.
- Work in batches: I do projects on one day, photography on another, writing, editing, etc on another. This is just a good general practice, but it’s helpful with a child.