You’re head-over-heals in love with the bundle of joy that will soon be joining your family, but how on earth are you going to keep up with dishes and laundry, let alone your career once she arrives? Use these tips to help you prepare and transition into being a work-at-home parent of a newborn:
1. Create lists of your regular tasks
Checking and responding to email or social media updates can be done while feeding your baby whereas working on a client proposal or digging deep into a project is better left for nap time. Before baby arrives, make lists of tasks according to how much attention and creativity are needed.
2. Be honest and open with clients
Let your clients know that you’re expecting and make adjustments to projects as necessary. Tell them how much time you’ll take off and let them know that the baby will be home with you so that they don’t freak out when they hear Baby cry while you’re on the phone with them.
3. Hire a nanny or mother’s helper
Consider hiring some help to come in for a few hours each day, or even once a week, to allow you a large chunk of uninterrupted time.
4. Get your work-life organized
If ever there was a time to get organized, becoming a parent is that time! Choose–and stick to–an organizational system so that you can put many recurring tasks on autopilot and manage your projects efficiently
5. Learn to delegate
Freelancers tend to have type A personalities which make it hard for them to delegate. If this describes you, start practicing now by letting your partner take over dinner prep or doing laundry. In your business, consider hiring a someone to maintain your website, create marketing materials or keep the books.
6. Multi-task when possible
This doesn’t mean catching up on the latest news while working on a project, but rather feeding the baby while checking email. In instances where it’s possible to multi-task without sacrificing efficiency or quality, do it. Many moms find that they can nurse or bottle feed the baby while reading on their smartphone, or bathe Baby while listening to a podcast.
7. Keep your expectations in check
Realize you’re not Superman or Superwoman; the little one is going throw a kink in your plans from time to time, and that’s okay. Your baby is only little once; embrace those times when she’ll only be satisfied with your complete attention and enjoy it.
8. Use a wrap or carrier
Many fussy babies can be satisfied simply by being close to you. A wrap allows you to have both hands free–to type or make calls–while meeting Baby’s needs to be close to you.
9. Get Baby on a routine from the start
Most parents find that a firm routine, not necessarily a strict schedule, is the way to go with babies and kids. Develop a routine–waking, eating, playing, sleeping–that works well for your little one and then follow it without worrying about specific times.
10. Quote longer project deadlines
You don’t get much advance warning when a fever flares up or the baby comes down with a cold. Your business and reputation depends on meeting deadlines, so start adding two or three days to each new project to ensure you have enough time to complete them, even when you spend a morning at the pediatrician’s office
11. Be flexible with your hours
Remember that this is one of the perks of working at home and go with the flow when necessary.
12. Take naps
Sometimes you just have to follow your baby’s lead and get some rest. It’s not a waste of time; you’ll wake up energized and be more productive.
Socialize with other freelancers or work-at-home parents. This will give you a chance to get out of the house and connect with others.