Becoming a parent is a huge change to the way you live your life, and if you happen to work from home, it will mean some even bigger changes to the way you work.
Not only do you have your business baby to take care of, but you have an actual human being to provide for as well. For many people, their business is like a child to them, so how do you cope with looking after two children when one of them is a real child.
Below are the four steps that you need to follow in order to successfully balance yours at home business with your new parental responsibilities.
Take Some Time Out
The most important thing to do as a new parent, especially if you work from home, is to take some time out. Becoming a parent is a huge cultural shift, and you need to give yourself time to adjust.
If you’re the mother, then – of course – your body will have been through a tremendous ordeal. You must give yourself at least a few weeks, if not months, of time alone with your child so that you can begin to bond and recuperate.
If you are the father or partner of the mother, then you will need to take some time to become a carer not just for your child, but for your other half too.
Working from home is all about having the flexibility in your working arrangements to plan work around your life, not the other way around. Try to organize a way for the business to manage without your for a month or two, or at least manage with minimal input from you.
See if you can utilize some automated software to take the reins on as much of the day to day processes as possible. If you have staff working for you, ensure that they are up to speed and can manage their responsibilities without relying on your for support.
Planning is key in the run-up to the birth. Ensure that by a week or two before the due date your business is practically self-sufficient, that way you know that you can take as much time to adjust to family life as you need – and you won’t be extremely stressed about your business should the baby decide to come early.
Ease Yourself Into
After you’ve taken a few months out to adjust to being a parent and you think you’ve got your routine figured out, you may start thinking about heading back to work.
Avoid the temptation to jump straight back in with a full working week. Not only are you out of practice and will need time to adjust back to the nine to five life, but you may find that you have piled a little more on your plate than you first anticipated.
In scenarios like this, it can quickly become a matter of pride, and many people don’t back off when things start getting difficult.
Instead, ease yourself back into the working world by doing just an hour or two each day. This may not seem like a lot, but after having been off work for a few months and also having to deal with a newborn, it will feel like quite a lot.
Especially as you will not have had a full nights sleep in a while due to your little bundle of joy’s sleeping pattern. As you begin to get to the point where you are managing comfortably, up the amount of work you are doing each day by a small amount.
Continue to do this until you are back to a full working week. The plus sides of approaching your return to work in stages are that it allows for a gradual transition, making the whole thing seem less daunting.
The other positive is that it can be very difficult for a new parent, especially a new mother, to go from spending all day with their child to leaving them all day.
Granted, you will be working from home and are able to not feel separated from your child, but this emotional distance will still be present as you begin to focus more on work. It is better to err on the side of caution and re-introduce yourself to the working environment slowly than it is to dive in headfirst and feel like you’ve taken on too much too soon.
Plan Your Time Effectively
Once you’re back in full swing and are working more or less full time, it becomes increasingly important to have a solid routine for your child, and the best work schedule for you.
By the time you started phasing in your return, your child should have had the beginnings of a solid routine forming. This will allow you to plan your working day around your child’s routine.
If they nap after lunch, then that would be the best time to do a job which requires your undivided attention. You could also keep them occupied by talking them through what you’re doing with your work.
Not only does this allow them to hear your voice more often and start to understand normal speech patterns, but it can also help you to concentrate and think about your work more effectively. Ensure that you have your daily, and weekly activities mapped out on an easy to follow planner.
This will allow you to keep track of both yours and your child’s routine. By being a stickler for routine, you help your child to find a comforting rhythm to your working life that will make them easier to manage on a daily basis.
Not just with your child, but with yourself. As a seasoned home-worker, you will already know how easy it is to make excuses and allow yourself to slip into unproductiveness, and that risk becomes more increased in the wake of parenthood.
Now, it’s not just procrastination that will make you abandon your workload, but a sense of duty and priority. The fact is, your child will always be your number one priority.
However, you mustn’t allow your priorities as a business owner to suffer as a result of your parental priorities. You may feel guilt, for both times away from your child, and your business.
However, if you ensure that most of your focus during working hours is on work, it will allow you to finish your tasks for the day more quickly and therefore free up more time to spend with your child without other distractions.
This may be difficult to keep sight of when they are craving your attention constantly, but you must find a way to balance your main responsibilities in a way that is sustainable and nurturing for you both.
Sticking to a Monday to Friday routine, and having the evenings and weekends for family time will ensure that the time spent with your family is of high-quality and relaxed, rather than your mind constantly drifting to the workload still sitting in your office.
Be creative and try to find games, toys, or rockers that will keep them busy for a while if you need to concentrate for twenty minutes or so.
Hopefully, this guide has given you a little food for thought on how best to manage the responsibilities of being a parent who works from home.
It can be very difficult in the early days to get a routine, due to the erratic nature of early parenthood. However, with some practice and a lot of patience, you will be juggling the two jobs like a pro and have people wondering how on earth you manage it.
Are you a business owner trying to balance your work and family life? Share your thoughts on how you are making it all come together in the comments below.