As I mentioned to you in my very first post being a Work at Home Mom (WAHM) is a major part of my life. I work for a fast-paced international business, that requires me to work semi normal hours and 40+ hours a week. I go into the office every Monday and the other 4 days I am on my own with both boys from about 7am to 5pm. When I tell this to people 9 times out of 10 the response I get is,
This is the first part in a 5 part series to try and help answer that question.
Let me start with this disclosure, I am not perfect, we have bad days but overall I would say my boys are happy and I’m doing a great job at work. This is all from almost 4 years of trial and error. Now this series will not just apply to Moms in my situation but any mom who is trying to get some sort of work done with little ones at home.
From the time T$ was very small (I went back to work when he was just 5 weeks old) to now one thing has proven true any time I need to get some work done: we need a schedule. Now I’m not talking about trying to make your 8 week old take a nap every day at 9am on the dot. I’m talking more about a routine that you follow each day with your child so they know what comes next and so you can get in some quality time to work. This has becoming increasingly important as T$ as become older. His attention span is not as long and he constantly wants to be doing something new. So we have set up a schedule so he knows exactly when it is time to change activities. Today I want to share with your our morning schedule and some details about it.
I get up normally about 30 mins before both boys. This gives me some time to check my emails, get my to do list ready for the day and address any urgent time sensetive stuff.
Boys get up and Daddy normally has milk ready and toons on. The boys play downstairs and wake up while Hubby finishes unloading the dishes, packing lunches and getting himself ready for work.
When Daddy leaves for work I come downstairs and get the boys their breakfast ready get dressed myself and bring them both upstairs with me. T$ has a special chair that is at my desk that he sits and eats at and Buggy has this highchair from Ikea upstairs. This allows me to keep working while the boys eat. It goes something like this Spoonful of oatmeal, email, spoonful of oatmeal, email. Repeat, repeat, oh crap there is oatmeal on my computer screen, repeat, repeat, how in the heck did Buggy manage to reach the spoon, repeat, clean. I never said this was glorious, I said it was working for us 😉
This is when we pick our first activity of the day. The boys are only allowed to play with one set of toys at a time (more on this in a future post) so we normally start the day with their Toy Story Figurines or Duplo Blocks or once in a while with a craft. Craft is normally more of an afternoon quiet thing though because Buggy isn’t quite big enough for the stuff T$ wants to so I let T$ do it while Buggy is asleep. Here is one of the keys, I let them know how long they have until they can do the next activity. Suri is my new BFF for this because T$ can “talk” to her and tell her to set a time for X minutes. I will be 100% honest with you Disney Junior or PBS Kids is normally on for most of the morning, it really is more of background noise but its a great way for the kids to know when the next activity is up (When Doc McStuffins is over we will get snack). If I find that T$ is sitting and just absentmindly watching TV for what I feel is too long I turn it off and turn on some toddler songs on Spotify. (TY INTERNET RADIO!) Buggy has zero interest in TV so I don’t worry about him.
Snack Time! I try to have snacks all ready in advance so all I have to do is run downstairs, grab the snack and bring it up. More on how I prepare snacks ahead of time and my fave products for making this easy in another post I promise!
Buggy is normally ready for a nap right around snack time so depending on the way he is acting I either give him a snack too or put him down for a nap.
While Buggy naps T$ gets to pick another activity to do. He knows that he can switch one more time between now and when Buggy wakes up from his nap. This is when I really can power through some work. T$ has been working from home with me his entire life. He is old enough to play on his own and he knows Mama needs to get some work done. We talk basically the entire time I’m working and when possible I give him tasks to do for me. i.e. T$ go grab that page off the printer for me, sort all of these pages into two piles, stack up all of Mommy’s books, put all the pens in the pen holder. I totally will give him tasks that he thinks are “work” that do not need to be done at all. It keeps him busy and involved and happy. I’m also fostering his learning and devolpment as much as possible now that he is starting to recognize letters and numbers. I will have him count out 5 pages for me or circle all the A’s on an email. Again totally not something I need help with but keeps him happy.
Once Buggy wakes up we all head downstairs for lunch.
So that is the basic synopsis of our mornings. Things are a bit different when T$ goes to preschool but school days are an entirely different post in the making! What are some of your go to activities to keep your kiddos happy while you get some things done? I’m always looking for new things!
Embracing the crazy…