Can You Really Work from Home with a Baby?

You probably have some friends who do it already. Maybe you’ve done this before Baby arrived and you’re considering to keep on doing this after she is born. Working from home is not that difficult, in the end, and the answer to the questions: “Can you work from home with a baby?” seems easy to answer. But can you REALLY work from home after the baby is born?

I will tell you, as a first hand experience, that things will be extremely difficult. I am self employed and I was extremely happy to know that I will be able to spend so much time with my son. Do some work at the same time and earn money? Sounds like a match made in heaven!

But the truth, the real, day by day, frustrating and tiring truth is completely different! It might be all pink popsicles and unicorns for the first few weeks – maybe a couple of months – but afterwards, when the little fellow starts to get moody and cranky and have needs and learn how to crawl and learn how to come to your office and want this and want that and want a hug, a kiss, a pen or just to smash your keyboard while screaming… then things become really difficult and you’ll understand that unless you are the master of procrastination and getting things done in very short bursts with lots of breaks and distractions in between, working from home with a baby is far from the idyllic “sip my cocktail while working” lifestyle you were hoping for (or having before the baby’s arrival).

Are you also acting as a stay at home dad (or mother, depending who’s reading this article)? Then I think that doing any work becomes almost impossible. I am fortunate enough to have my wife on a long maternity leave and she takes care of the baby while I do the work. But I still get interrupted a million times during the day, distracted and there are still things that need my presence. If I were to be the only person taking care of the baby, I would simply find it impossible to write a full article in 8 hours. A 500-word one, not a book!

Imagine that things similar to what I’m detailing below would happen, more or less, on a daily basis:

1. Baby wakes up whenever he wants to. In our case, anywhere between 5:30 AM to 7 AM. Wakes up fully rested and in a MAJOR need of some play time.

2. At 8, you’ve got to feed the angel. Depending on their mood, it can last anything between 10 and 60 minutes. Screaming, throwing food, laughing and munching on toes, fingers, the chair and the wrong end of the spoon are usually included.

3. A bit of extra time before the baby’s morning nap. 20 minutes when you think you can write something because you let him roam freely in the room. You don’t get much done with one eye on the laptop’s screen and the other making sure that Baby doesn’t eat that book or smash the toy car with his head.

4. It’s about 9:30 when you put the baby to sleep. If you’re lucky, you’ll have 60 to 90 minutes to do some work (but you actually realize that you have to wash the dishes, prepare some food for his lunch and clean up the room a little bit).

5. You’re unlucky. The Baby wakes up 20 minutes after going to bed, screaming. You try to put him back to sleep for 20 minutes before giving up. During the time, you get you earns and hair pulled even though you keep saying “NO”.

6. You take the baby for a short stroll. Depending on the mood, it can be a short one or a longer, more relaxed one.

7. You have to feed the baby at 1 PM. The food’s not ready and he starts to scream and get really irritated. Nobody loves to be chained to a chair waiting for food! The feeding process is similar to the breakfast and you can never predict how long it will take.

8. It’s play time again, after trying to wash the baby’s hands and face and getting soaked in the bathroom. All the things that you’ve cleaned earlier today turn into an even bigger mess. Maybe you get a total of 20 minutes of work, 10 seconds at a time.

9. You are already exhausted, but fortunately so is the baby. It’s 3PM and it’s time for the afternoon nap. For the baby, not you, because you have dishes to clean, carpet to clean, take your first shower and stretch your legs for 20 minutes, if you are lucky.

10. You’re unlucky (again). Baby wakes up earlier than usual and you know it’s going to be a long(er) day. He’ll want a short snack or maybe a bottle, then you lose 15 minutes trying to dress him up before taking the little fellow to the park. You can’t wait for him to learn to walk alone so you won’t have to carry him everywhere. Every other kid looks like an angel. They probably are not.

11. When you get home, you have to prepare dinner for the baby. If you’re lucky, your spouse is back home and they can help a bit, even though they did work the entire day too and they too need a break. But who can take breaks when parenting is involved? Instead, you both get stressed and even more tired.

12. After dinner, while the mom/dad catches up with the baby, you can finally get some work done. 60 minutes tops, because the baby needs you again!

So, pretty much, difficult! Of course, I have exaggerated a bit here, but a very bad day could look exactly like the one I have described above. The truth is that even during the best days you won’t be able to do much work done. But this is the challenge and charm of working from home and I still believe that it beats a regular 9 to 5 job.

How to Keep Your Children Entertained During the Winter

Winter is coming – and I am not only saying that as an excuse to randomly quote the famous line from the Game of Thrones series. I am saying it because, as the bad weather comes upon us, there are fewer and fewer things that our kids can do. Or at least that is the impression we have, because they stop being able to spend as much time outdoors as they did over the summer or when the weather was better.

But the bad weather and winter itself don’t have to be mean that your kids will spend all day long inside playing video games or watching TV all day long, getting bored and out of shape. On the contrary, there are a ton of things that you can do inside and keeping your children entertained during the winter will prove to be not so difficult if you put some energy into it. And since you’re reading this article, you are definitely ready to do it!

Of course, I will start by telling you what we do here in our family – things that have worked nicely over the years and kept the kids happy. They are growing older and we have to come up with new ideas, but this is one of the challenges of parenting, and this is something that we absolutely love doing. There are many things that people know – which I consider common sense things and I won’t share them here – but some really work in our case and they’re definitely worth sharing!

So here are a few suggestions of my own on how to keep your children entertained during the winter:

1. As soon as fall hits, we start spending as much time as possible outside gathering fallen leaves. We try to get as many colors and shapes as possible and stockpile a ton of leaves. These will be extremely useful during the winter, but they also keep the kids entertained when collecting them. It’s slowly becoming a favorite activity, allowing the little ones explore the world, make decisions and then see their choices turned into entertainment later on (as we paint the leaves, glue them onto pieces of paper and create funny characters and use them to build mini forts or houses for fairies).

2. We consider winter to be a great season for expressing one’s creativity, so we use everything that we have on hand: from paper mache to drawing, painting, building (Lego or anything else), our home becomes a workshop for their creativity and they absolutely love it.

3. It’s also a good time to help them socialize while keeping a closer eye on them. We like hosting parties (nothing fancy at all, it’s basically just kids coming over to play). Let them spend as much time as possible in the company of their friends, and they will absolutely love it!

In our case, it’s getting a bit difficult because two groups are formed, since our daughter is 7 and our son is 5 and they usually prefer doing different things, but eventually the groups join forces and play together. It’s a joy to watch the young ones interact and learn together!

4. Family bonding time is also increased during the winter. Although I’m not usually the kind of parent that enjoys encouraging their children to watch TV (since I want them to be as active as possible), I can’t ignore the bonding time that it offers. Since during the winter we like just being lazy on the couch watching a family-friendly movie, we get the kids close, tuck them in and watch the movie together. It’s absolutely beautiful and we all love it, so one day per week is reserved to watching a movie. It’s easier as they grow older, since they actually start to show interest in these movies. Love it to bits and I’ll miss it so much when they’ll grow older!

In case you want some more actual ideas and all sorts of great suggestions, you can check out a couple of articles that are filled with activity ideas that you can perform with your kids during the winter: this article of Artful Parent (my favorite) lists 89 activities for kids, while Buzzfeed comes with some interesting suggestions of their own in their article.

So don’t let the bad weather keep you bored and upset. There are a ton of things that you can do, things that will prove not to only keep the kids busy and entertained, but the adults as well!