Copied it from my LinkedIn post… 🙂
Working from home is challenging enough for anyone. But for a mother, it is double trouble. She is forever torn by guilt, either of ignoring the baby or not being able to do justice to her work. I am a mother, and believe me, this post comes from experience. The mothers, who are working from home, are a different species altogether. We are trying to prove to the world, but more to ourselves, that we can take care of our baby while fulfilling our professional aspirations..
If you are in the same boat as me, these tips should help you to focus on your dual role as a mother and a work from home writer.
- Find your windows of working hours – Work is a priority, so is your child. Find your windows of working time around your child’s sleep schedule, school hours and playtime. Also, you may work early mornings or late nights, as per your convenience.
- Anticipate your work – This is a bit like our monthly grocery shopping. How we take stock of our monthly ration and shop accordingly in advance. Similarly, if certain monthly work of yours is pre-decided, it’s better to finish it off whenever you get some time. This extra time will help you on those days when you need to cater to a super-cranky or ill baby.
- Write when alone – Contrary to what most non-writers think, for writing, one needs a peaceful environment. No one can produce their chef d’oeuvre while the little one is bawling his or her guts out. So make sure you write, when you are all by yourself. Because that is the time, which will give wings to your creative juices.
- Tablets and cartoons can be super useful – Got an unavoidable call with a client? Though you prefer that the child is not around when you receive that call, it’s not always in your control. In such a situation, give her a tablet or start her favourite cartoon movie. It will keep her engaged long enough to let you finish your call. But of course, ensure that it does not become a routine. If your call is pre-scheduled, then perhaps you can engage your child in some creative activity like drawing, painting or building blocks.
- Learn to multi-task – A working woman needs to be a multitasker to survive. Take calls (using a hands-free device) while you are cooking or ironing. Think about your projects or proofread your articles while you are breastfeeding your child. It saves a lot of time.
- Sort it out on weekends – A work from home option may sometimes (or mostly in some cases) steal from you the pleasure of a lazy weekend. For a mother working from home, I would advise that apart from resting on weekends, take the opportunity to create a kind of a weekly planner which helps you sort out your household chores, baby requirements and worksheet.
- Do all your grocery/vegetable shopping and laundry in advance.
- Make a week’s activity sheet for your kid, so that you don’t have to waste precious time thinking how to keep your child engaged (activity sheets, crayons, toys, puzzles, etc.) when the moment arises.
- Make a list of weekly assignments and deliveries. It will help you with timely submissions of work.
- Find your ‘me’-time – Between your household chores, family, work and the child, it’s very easy to lose yourself. But, that is so unhealthy. It’s important to take out time for yourself from time to time for your sanity. Even if its just 30 minutes a day!
And lastly, it’s important to work and meet your deadlines, but listen to your heart as well. It’s OK, the world won’t come to an end, if you push off an assignment (only if it’s not urgent) by a few hours to play with your little cherub or read her/him her favourite storybook.