Juggling Working From Home With a baby/toddler

Published on 18 March 2023 at 20:46

I'm often asked about working from home with a toddler and the truth is it is bloody hard work.  I sit and think about it every time someone asks me about juggling both, whether it's just for an insight or looking for tips themselves.  Yes its hard and there are some downsides but there's also a lot of positives.


I was on maternity leave when the Covid lockdowns started and many offices started to work from home.  I was asked if I would like to "return to work" much earlier than originally planned but working from home for the entire week.  As we couldn't go out anywhere due to the restrictions, I figured why not.  As long as work were happy with me working around the kids rather than the usual 9-5, it would help me get back in to the routine of work, give us some extra money and stop me from going stir crazy.  


When I started to work from home, Louie was 4 months old and Charlie was 9.  Charlie was very independent, he would get on with his online lessons himself and then talk to/play with friends afterwards.  We were lucky that Louie was a very chilled out baby, just how Charlie had been, he had regular daytime naps and slept through the night from a young age so I would work early in a morning before he woke, whilst he napped and then later in the evening once both boys were in bed if needed and it worked a treat.   There were so many benefits, I'd have more time with the kids than I would if I was working in the office , I didn't have to commute 5 days a week saving me both time and money and I'd continue to earn my usual full time wage, without having to pay out nursery costs.  


As Louie got older and more active, it started to become more hard work.  My colleagues started to return to the office with a couple of days a week from home so I too had to do the same.  Mark works a continental shift pattern so I started to go into the office 2/3 days a week during his days off and then I work from home while he was in work.  Managing a team I had to be available all day for my team to contact, this meant trying to work whilst Louie wanted to play, which is a near impossible task but Louie still had a 3 hour nap each afternoon so this is when I would get the bulk of my work done although there were many days that I still needed to work in the evenings too.   


Almost 3 years on were still here doing the same and work from home days can be mentally draining. Trying to juggle the needs of my children and my job, I'm constantly feeling guilty that I haven't given them enough attention, that I haven't completed all of the work that I need to, or that the housework hasn't been done.  It's so easy to beat yourself up over it but the day ends and i just think we got through it.  I often think back and remember feeling guilty or questioning myself when Charlie was this age, have I read to him enough, have we sat and played enough, have I given him enough of my undivided attention and now, I think that's normal, part of being a parent. 


I really wanted to have children and be a mum, but I also have career aspirations too and there's nothing wrong with that, we just have to find the right balance to create a good life for us all as a family.   By working from home with the kids, I haven't missed out on anything with Louie, I've been lucky to be there for all of his firsts and we have a great bond (Charlie was always a daddy's boy).  I'm more available for Charlie when he needs me or  when he comes in from school and wants to tell me about his day and I do think I have more quality time with them. 


Here's some things that we have found make the day go smoother when working from home.

  • Plan ahead as much as possible and get into a routine.
  • Prioritise and schedule work.  I make a list of the key tasks to get done each day and anything that requires more attention I do during nap times.
  • Prepare healthy snacks in advance  its so easy to reach for something unhealthy but having these prepared the night before meant that me and the kids have convenient healthy snacks that we can grab quickly throughout the day.
  • Take a break and play,  A little undivided attention goes a long way, I find that after I've sat and played with Louie for a little while he will happily play independently. 
  • Sorting toys and rotating them.  I've done this from a young age and still do this now.  We have some toy boxes in Louie's room and some hidden away downstairs.  Being able to rotate the toys that he plays with downstairs ensures that he doesn't get bored of playing with the same thing.  I'd also try to come up with a fun new activity for each day
  • Plan meals in advance. I try to do a weekly meal plan and find that this helps a lot.
  • Embrace screen time.  We didn't want to introduce the tablet quite so young but that's difficult enough when we all have phones, so we downloaded lots of educational games onto an old tablet and when needing to focus, the tablet is a welcomed distraction.  

Add comment


There are no comments yet.