How to work from home with a toddler

Working from home with a child or children can be difficult, exhausting, inspiring and exhilarating! It all depends on how you manage it and of course what type of work you do. Being in charge of my calendar means that on the days I work from home I schedule calls at certain times when I’m least likely to have a toddler at my feet.

Whether you work from home full time, work for yourself, or your employer allows you to work from home, it’s all about being organised. I certainly don’t have it all worked out, but I am learning, and as time moves along so is Eva.

Eva doing her 'work'
Eva doing her ‘work’

She understands that when mummy is in the office on the computer she is working, and she also knows that I have an open door policy.

Here is what I’ve learnt over the past twelve months of working from home.

  • Your child will cry at the most inopportune time – usually during a phone call. Be open with those on the other end of the line that you are home with your child, as most people will understand and appreciate your honesty. I often say to clients, lawyers, real estate agents or whoever I’m on the phone to “I’m working from home today so I apologise now if you hear the nabber of my toddler in the background” This usually gets a giggle and the other person won’t be surprised if you suddenly have to put the phone down.
  • Be productive during the ‘quiet’ time. Eva still sleeps for around two to three hours of an afternoon (I might cry when she eventually drops this sleep), and during those hours I am more productive than the rest of the week! I also know that she loves to watch Doc McStuffins at 8am so here I am sitting at my desk hammering out this blog post before the show finishes at 8.30!
  • Use technology to your advantage. This is a topic that seems to elicit strong opinions from parents around the world, and people feel differently about this. We allow Eva to have an iPad and I give this to her at times during the day whilst I’m working. She is extremely proficient with it (she’s actually taught us a few things – I never knew you could switch between apps using four fingers) and we’ve downloaded a number of educational apps that she loves to play with it.
  • Try not to make your child hate your work. If Eva comes into the office whilst I’m on the computer I will stop what I’m doing and pay her some attention. Usually all she wants is some acknowledgement or a quick cuddle. The two minutes to look at a toy or have a little chat will be shorter than arguing with a toddler to let mummy finish her work.
  • Stop feeling guilty! Whatever your reasons are for working, own them and accept them. We put so much pressure on ourselves as it is; we need to stop the mummy guilt.

Do you work from home? What tips or advice do you have for other working parents?

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