I've been working from home since I was eight months pregnant with my second child. Just two weeks after my son was born I was back to work and with a new co-worker...Jasaan. Now, he's just a few months away from turning three years old. The number one question I still get asked to this day is, "How do you do it?"
Sometimes I ask myself the same question...?! While I strive to stick to a weekly work schedule each and every day is different. I've been a stay-at-home mom, a working (in office) mom, and now that I've been a working (from home) mom for the past two and a half years I've learned that each position has it's pros and cons.
#1 CREATE A SPACE FOR SUCCESS
While it may depend on the job, an at home office isn't necessary, especially if you aren't meeting with clients. Chose an area of your home where you feel comfortable and focused. I decided to go with an open space like my living room. Since my job just requires a phone, two monitors, and a computer a corner with a desk and chair to work on my assignments while watching my son (whose play area is also in the living room) is suffice. The set-up is simple, I find that less on my desk allows for less distractions and more productivity. I've also noticed that I work best in natural lighting so I leave my blinds open and I diffuse oils, burn a palo santo stick or sage.
#2 STAY AHEAD
Aside from leaving your desk or work area clean and organized each and every evening for the next work day it helps to set up a station or caddy for your little one too. When my son was breast/bottle feeding I had everything lined up so I could feed and work without wasting time searching for the items I needed such as the a breast pump, bottle, formula, burp cloth etc. The same goes for when we started potty training. I still set out pull-ups, wipes, underwear and a change of clothes so it's all there in the event that there's an accident. Outfits, meals, and activities are set-up but of course there are moments and even days that seem to have a mind of its own.
#3 STICK TO A SCHEDULE
I work the same 9-5 schedule (the same office hours as the company I work for) which makes it easy for my team and I to communicate and support each other. By now my son is used to our work schedule. After all, it's all he's ever known. That doesn't mean that he always sticks to it though. Every phase (newborn, infant, toddler) has come with it's sets of highs and lows. Currently, he does a good job of playing independently but there are many times that I have a wiggly two year old on my lap with a dozen cars on my desk as I work. I pick and choose which assignments to do depending on what he's doing. For instance, I'll leave the tasks that require more attention for his independent play or nap time. Lastly, I go into shut down mode once the work day is complete. There's no answering phone calls or checking emails once I log out. It's important to draw a line between work and home.
#4 TAKE A BREATHER
As simple as it may sound, working from home, especially with a toddler isn't as easy as some people think it is. For moments and even days in which I feel defeated...I take a breather. Breathing exercises allow me to refocus and stay on track. Sometimes it takes completely stepping away from my work station even if it's just for a few minutes to turn those moments or days around. Working from home comes with a whole set of pros and cons just like any role played, whether at home or in an office. Regardless of how your day plays out, remember to treat yourself to a mental, emotional, and physical break. Just a few minutes a day can and will make a big difference in how you think, feel, and act.
When the clock strikes 5, the show still goes on. I clock out of work and into life. At the end of the night, very late at night, when I'm finally in bed I practice gratitude. While the days may feel long the weeks, months, and even the years are not. When it's all said and done the best employee of the month award goes to my boss baby...each and every month.