Once I made the decision, and had the luxury of being able to stay at home with my baby, I focused on figuring out what I can do that I enjoy that would also bring in some cash. Read my post on re-discovering your professional life while staying at home with your baby here.
Once I figured out that, new challenges happened. Yep, it seems life is like that. You conquer one thing and then something new comes up that you need to overcome. After spending a lot of time working on my blogs day in and day out, I realized that I needed to find a balance between work and play. Or, in my case as a new mom, the balance between trying to stay healthy and sane.
And My First Tries...
At first, I blogged in the night, when the household seemed to be somewhat more quiet. In between each feeding I had good two hours to just spend with my computer and my work. It really felt like a precious time I had all to myself. After a few sleepless nights I realized that this won’t work in the long run. Discipline was important. I needed it to be able to take care of my family and myself. Staying up was not the solution.
I am not a morning person by far. Sleep has always been for me like food – something almost divine to enjoy and cherish. So waking up in the morning didn’t work for me either. (If you wonder how I manage to get some extra sleep in the mornings with a newborn, I’ve got that covered in a different post.)
Trial and error plus actively thinking about it has helped me to find a pattern that works great for me. I am going to share it with you in hopes that this also helps you to find a somewhat consistent working schedule when life is chaotic with the demands of an unpredictable newborn. If your baby is predictable and sleeps a lot – you are one lucky mommy.
Do Not Forget About Yourself
It is so easy to forget about yourself when you have a newborn and/or you work from home. Try to set a routine that you perform just for yourself each day. Even if it is just a couple of minutes a day, it will help you to feel like you have some control over your life. Try to:
- Brush your hair every morning when you wake up. It sounds easy, but how many of us, moms, wake up and forget to even look in the mirror while we brush our teeth?
- Spray on some perfume that takes your mind on a journey. There is this one perfume that just takes me to Hawaii every time I use it. Sprinkle some imagination into your day.
And Here're More Ideas to Try
- Dedicate a few minutes in the morning and/or evening to just do something that you love. It doesn’t have to be something hard or long. Simple things like taking a bubble bath with a glass of wine can be totally worth it and make you feel human and good about yourself.
- How about storing your favorite lipstick in the bathroom near the toothbrush? That way you can put it on fast and easy in the morning. Trust me, it will make you feel better and like you are doing something to prepare for the day. It will also make you feel the difference between night and day. It is so easy to fall into a routine of not noticing what time of the day it is when you work from home and/or have a newborn.
Set Up Your Working Space and Glam It Up
Don’t be shy about being a woman while also being a mom. Don’t forget that you are a woman while you are also a mom. This is so easy to do when your entire life becomes centered on a small, crying bundle of joy and sleepless nights – your precious baby.
- When it comes to working from home and staying healthy, set up the place where you will work. Glam it up with things that make you happy and make you feel alive and like a woman again. If you can’t be away from the little one because you have no one to watch him but you, then how about wrapping yourself in a nice warm blanket that will make you feel cozy?
- If you do have the chance to set up a designated work area, then how about putting a few plants around the desk? Just a little bit of green makes your mind relax and creates a healthier environment for you to work in.
- Try to be near a window. Daylight will make you feel better and help you to soak up some vitamin D while at it.
Try to Schedule Your Day As Much As You Can
I know that it sounds easier said than done when it comes to having a little baby and a schedule. My little one barely sleeps during the day and night and likes to be held all the time. Worse is that I am alone with him most of the day so for me to be able to have a schedule is very hard.
Still, it is doable. Even with his chaotic schedule there are a few times during the day that I can predict when he is ready to take his little nap here and there.
- Take a little time and trial and error to figure out your schedule with your baby. If you are all alone with your little one, it might be harder, but it is still possible to set up a somewhat predictable schedule to follow.
- If you have help with your little one, then that is great and makes things a whole lot easier. Try to set up times when you will work and ask your helpers to look after your baby while you are working so you can have uninterrupted time dedicated to your job.
- If your baby doesn’t take the bottle but only breast, try to feed him/her before getting to work so that you know you have such and such amount of time before you need to feed again.
Schedule Healthy Snacks and Meals
Working from home can be hard on your diet. It is so easy to just munch out on anything that you can find. Especially with a little baby, it is easy to turn food into a comfort that you feel you deserve. I know that feeling. Try to find healthier alternatives to rewarding yourself for your hard work.
- Try to ask yourself if you are hungry before you eat something. This will really help you to be aware whether you are eating for any other reasons than hunger.
- Try not to have too many unhealthy snacks around. Instead, focus on buying snacks that are better for your health and that also taste good. Eating something that tastes just awful and you hate it will only make you feel frustrated and more likely to go for that unhealthy snack that makes you feel good. Instead, go for something that you like that is also a healthier alternative.
- Try to have healthy snacks in every room. That way you are less likely to go to the fridge and grab something else.
- Try to plan when and how much you will eat. It is easier to know that you have breakfast, lunch and dinner at approximately such and such times.
- Try to be conscious of eating outside of your scheduled meal times.
- Try to sit down to eat. When we eat on the go, or while working or while watching the TV, it is so much easier to just overeat. Try to be consciously present while you are eating. Try not to just munch out without even realizing that you are doing so.
And Try to Get Out of the House
Being a stay at home mom and working from home has its very specific challenges. It is easy to get isolated and not get out of the house for days on end. If you try to plan getting out of the house each day, even for just a little bit, it will help you to stay physically and mentally healthier. Try these ideas out:
- Schedule a daily walk. The fresh air is also good for the little one. If you have someone to leave your baby with, then take some walk on your own so that you have a moment to yourself.
- If you have more time/help, try to go to the gym. Get some daily workouts even if it is just walking around the neighborhood.
- Meet up with friends for coffee. This is especially helpful if you have mom friends. There is nothing like another mom who knows what you are going through.
- Plan weekends with your family/significant other. Just starting the pattern of always having time for just the two of you is very important and will help you in the long run not to forget to share and spend time together. When the baby is older you will have more time and opportunities to do more things together. But if you don’t start now, by the time your little one is older and you can, you might have forgotten how. Start to hang out with your spouse now.
Drink More Water
I know this sounds like common sense, but when you are busy and have a little one that is crying the last thing on your mind is water. And then when you get a moment, you eat instead of thinking about water first.
When you drink water, you hydrate yourself, which is not only healthy for your body (and crucial if you are breastfeeding), but also it will keep the hunger at bay.
Try to drink water before each meal. Sometimes it is very easy to confuse thirst with hunger. Also, studies show that you eat much less when you drink water right before a meal. It will make you feel good about yourself, keep you healthy and hydrated while helping you with your weight goals.
Set Rules and Follow Them
With a newborn and/or baby, it is so easy to just jump from one day into the next without even realizing it. The days begin to blend one into the other and before you know it, you can’t remember whether it is Saturday or Wednesday and what date it is.
Try to set up rules that you do not break unless absolutely necessary. When you set up a boundary, follow it. For example, if you feel stressed out, just stop whatever you are doing and take just a few seconds to regain control. If you decided that you will work in the mornings or in the evenings, and spend the rest of the day doing something else, then do that and do not deviate from your rule.
By the end of the day, working from home while staying with your baby gives you so much freedom to be really in charge of your environment. Own it. Try to follow your established schedule and try to enjoy this difficult but memorable time in your life.