So, you thought working from home was a dream come true – and then you had a baby. Parenthood is awesome, but tiring. Really, really tiring. If it were up to you, you would just sit at home all day with your new arrival. But no matter how badly you just want to hang out with your little one, eventually the landlord is going to come knocking. You’ve never been so happy, but you’ve also never been so exhausted. Yes, you have a baby, but you also have a job, and now it’s time to get back to work.
Follow these tips for finding a way to get back to work after you have a baby.
Balancing work and parenthood is difficult, but rewarding.
Cook for the Week
When you know a slow day (or – gasp! – a day off) is coming up, plan to set some time aside to shop and cook in preparation for the string of endless, frantic hours that are always right around the corner. Pick a few things to cook and make them in excess. Look for three qualities in the recipes you choose: stuff that freezes and reheats well, stuff that’s relatively easy to make with relatively little cleanup, and – unless you’re independently wealthy – stuff that’s relatively cheap.
Make a pan of lasagna – or veggie lasagna, if you swing that way – and cut it into big, dinner-sized portions, individually frozen. Each piece is a meal you don’t have to prep, cook, and clean up after when you’re fighting fatigue and limited time.
Go Paper and Plastic
It’s horribly uneconomical, and – unless you splurge for the biodegradable plant-based kind – it’s not exactly sound environmental policy, but if you can, use plastic cutlery and paper plates until you get into a routine and adjust to your frantic new schedule.
Time economy is your new best friend, and making every minute count is the only way you’re going to keep all the balls in the air with your new juggling act. Reducing household chores is a must. When dishes pile up, that in itself becomes a daunting task, and a cluttered space leads to a cluttered mind, which you just can’t afford right now.
When you take a break, go outside. Changing your environment is key to telecommuters under the best of circumstances. One of the best things about working from home is not having a commute, but a commute allows you to decompress, get your mind together and prepare for the day. When your entire world becomes four walls, work, and a shrieking baby, it’s easy for your mind to go sideways on you much faster than it would if you went to a job.
Get outside, walk around the block, let the sun hit you, and breathe some fresh air when it’s time to regroup.
Don’t Drink or Smoke
When you’re pressed for sleep, all of your body’s functions are weaker and less efficient, including its ability to process and expel toxins. When you’re deprived of sleep, you get drunk faster with much less and your body has to work harder to process the poison. This leads to extra fatigue and a heightened hangover – as well as a boost in all of the secondary hangover symptoms such as reduced concentration and irritability.
Tobacco dramatically increases the toxins you’re asking your already-weakened body to process. This is why you experience more of a hangover when you smoke and drink at the same time.
The exhaustion you’re going to experience replicates the symptoms of alcohol intoxication on roadside tests. You don’t have the luxury of the real thing.
Having a child and a work-from-home job is challenging, but rewarding.
Raising a child isn’t easy, but if you did what was easy, you would have gone out and gotten a regular job. You found a way to work from home; now find a way to balance your child and your career. It’s not going to be easy, but nothing worth doing ever is.
Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about parenting and reviews baby products such as diapers.