10 Tips For Working From Home With A Toddler

For those of you who are used to working from home with a toddler, you know this can be an extremely difficult task. From the countless interruptions ( Currently, I’m being asked to play Barbies while typing this), to nap times and nursing, the fact we even get anything done is pretty much a miracle. Maybe you’re new to this whole thing due to the pandemic and it’s got you beyond frustrated, using Google to find tips to help. Such a defeating feeling I know all too well.

There HAS to be a better way, or at least some helpful tips to be more productive in this weird space we are all in. I’m here to tell you, there is. It might not make all the craziness disappear, but I have been balancing work and a child together for both of my kids since they were born, so I know a few things that work. I want to share with you my Top Ten Tips for balancing work with a toddler, straight from a source who actually lives it. Working from home with young children is not easy by any means, but I’m convinced to my core that it is worth it. You can have your littles AND the career…just takes a bit of patience and balance. So without waiting any longer, let’s dive in!

Get Dressed For Work

I know we all talk about how wonderful wearing our tie-dye sweatsuit to the couch to work is, but does that help you get in “work mode?” Probably not. You’re going to work, dress like it. Does this mean you need to iron out that suit you hated wearing pre-pandemic? If that’s not your speed, than of course not. You should however show up as an elevated version of yourself. Find a nice sundress and throw on some makeup. Take the time you usually would to present yourself to the world as the BADASS you are! It will also help the kids see that “Mommy is going to work” which will provide boundaries for your time. When I get dressed and put makeup on, the kids know that I am about to start work, and so the guilt of separation decreases when its go time. I also just find myself more productive when I’m not in jammies, so get ready for work, okay?

Be Organized

What I mean by that is, have a clear layout of what you’re trying to accomplish for the day. Do you make lists? If not, start to. You will be distracted, it’s inevitable. When that happens, a list helps you keep track of the mental checklist you’re trying to accomplish. Don’t put so much pressure on your brain to do it all. It’s already multi-tasking more than it ever has before, so help a sister out and write it down. This may come as no surprise, but be prepared to have your list happen when it happens. Don’t put expectations on when you will accomplish a task, but rather just focus on accomplishing it at all. You may get taken away from your project and need to go back to it once the kids are sleeping. That could mean that you might miss your T.V show tonight, but that’s okay, you get to spend this moment with your little AND you’re making time for work later. All good.

Accomplish The Big One First

This may sound silly, but DO prioritize your list on what task you want to finish NO MATTER WHAT. We all know that defeating feeling of going an entire day in “mom mode” and not getting the one thing done that made the difference. Do it first. Don’t let anything get in the way of doing it. I know it’s hard, but were all more than just “mom.” Go after your goals with fire and if you cant do it all, focus on the BIG ONE.

Keep A Daily Routine

As best you can, I know its not perfect. The concept of keeping a daily routine of when they can expect things like breakfast, playtime, as well as mom’s work time will help the transition. Kids thrive on routine, so if you incorporate this into your planning, it will help kids get the grasp that parents are also in fact, working from home, and it’s completely normal.

Rotate Toy Options

This will help keep your toddler engaged in their toys while you attempt to work and take over the world. If they have access to every toy option in the toy box, they will quickly become stale and old in their eyes and lose their luster. Take a few boxes out as soon as you start to work, and choose a completely new set the next day. They will get so excited as if they’re brand new toys, and you will get some moments of peace.

Take The Work Outside

Sometimes we all need a change in scenery. This can be the same for your toddler. Being cooped up inside during these times can take its toll on all of us, including your toddlers. So grab that laptop and handful of toys and head to the front yard. It will provide a completely new play space for your little, and give you some much needed vitamin D to recharge those mental batteries. By the way, a bubble machine or sandbox will buy you at least an extra 15 minutes!

Take Advantage Of The High Chair

This is a secret weapon we all cant live without during mealtime, but it can also be your guardian angel come work time as well! Snag some non toxic crayons and paper and have them work next to you! They’ll love that they feel like they’re going to work as well, and you’ll have some quiet time to focus on work, or snag another cup of coffee. Grab some action figures for imaginative play, or slap some cheerios down for snack time. No matter how you incorporate the high chair, you’ll come out winning.

Use Screens Sparingly

This is a tough one to get behind, especially for kids that are younger. But we all are trying our best to provide for our families from home, without the option of childcare. As long as you’re taking advantage of the thousands of options for educational programming, it can be a great way for your kiddo to learn, while you’re trying to finish a task or two. Don’t overdo it, and keep a constant eye on what they’re watching. In moderation, a television show or Disney movie can be a great babysitter!

Accept The Mess

If you’re a Type A perfectionist like me, messes can be your Kryptonite. Try your best to ignore it and stay laser focused on what is really important; time with your work. Don’t spend your extra time cleaning up every mess as it happens. No one is hosting parties or making surprise visits, so who are you trying to impress? It’s okay to not have the perfect home while you’re trying to run a business and a family. Give yourself some grace and spend any extra time you have giving love to yourself or your babies. The messier the house, the happier the kids.

Give Yourself Grace

You’re doing your best and that’s MORE than enough. It’s okay to have days where little or nothing gets done. Maybe you had this vision of being productive and your kid wakes up sick…now what? Don’t worry about it. Working from home is tough, but it can be so very rewarding. You’re teaching your kids to go for their dreams and showing them what work ethic really is. You’re raising a family and bringing home an income, you’re AMAZING! Just do what you can to control what you can, but know that life is a bit out of control to begin with. No matter what the day brings, know you are already making them incredibly proud!

Magical and Easy Fairy Wands

The beauty of our current state of living, is that we get to slow down and notice the beautiful things around us. With all of the nature walks the girls and I have been doing lately, I’ve been able to notice just how many fun ideas come from what’s around us! We’ve been collecting sticks on our frequent walks to contribute to our family fireplace. It’s been so cold at night lately, so anything helps. When we were walking back one day, the girls pointed out how they also make excellent fairy wands. I thought to myself, “hmm with a little sparkle, I think you’re right.” So we got to talking about what our ideal fairy wands would look like. Colorful and sparkly we’re consistent in the pitch. So I got to Amazon hunting and found the perfect additions you need to help make your backyard wands shine! I’ve listed a how-to below, as well as linked the places I found my supplies. The goal is to not have to leave your house to create, unless it’s to find something in nature or grab a delivery box. Let’s get to wand making!

First, you’ll need to take a nice long walk. Find some sticks that can handle some serious spell casting. It would be sad to go to all that trouble, just to have it break. Once you’ve found a few good ones, bring them home and inspect them for splinters, etc. Once they are safe, it’s time to create!

The supplies you grab are really all based on your unique taste and style. For the sake of the post, I will go through how we made ours, as well as provide links in case you want to create something similar. The following supplies are needed to create this craft:

  • Sticks found in nature
  • Glue gun
  • Glue gun sticks
  • Ribbon
  • Decorative gems

After you have gathered your supplies, plug in your glue gun and wait for it to heat up. While it is heating up, select the ribbon you would like to use as your base color, as well as a few other complimentary colors for the top. Grab your base color and start gluing it to the stick. You can make a small dot of glue and start to wrap the ribbon around the stick, gluing little by little as you go. Once you have reached the top, glue it in place, then start to add decorative ribbon around. Glue as you go. These steps should be done by an adult, as the gun is easy to burn little hands and arms.

Once you have glued the ribbon on, gather your gems and decorate however you wish! This is the fun and creative part, that if you have older kids at home, they are okay to help in this. Feel free to be creative or even customize it to make it a gift for someone special! You can also use things like glitter and sequins if that is something you have better access to.

After you’re done creating, it’s time to take your wands and do some magic! Find your cutest fairy outfit and go explore the world with a bit of magic in your hands! The girls loved their wands and played with them for hours. I hope you have fun creating magic with what’s around you as well!

Assorted Gems and Jewels:

https://www.amazon.com/1200pcs-Include-Gemstones-Embellishments-Assorted/dp/B07PZW7689

Assorted pack of ribbon:

https://www.amazon.com/BakeBaking-GHRD-Assortment-Decorations-Collection/dp/B0716WC7L9

Anxiety Is Tough, But So Am I

December was supposed to be my month. My month to write all the holiday blogs I’ve always wanted to write, to conquer holiday shopping like a boss, to send out cards and learn to cook new recipes. My month to create all that cute Christmas content and take my kids on new adventures. Just listing all that “stuff” had me exhausted. And that was my exact problem. I had created this vision in my head on how the month was going to go, and it didn’t occur to me that I was setting up completely unrealistic expectations. Why do we do this to ourselves? Take social media out of it for a second. We as people, especially parents, set up the most magical time of year to be the most stressful. Why? Who’s winning?

Spoiler Alert: No One Is.

I had a problem. I was no longer motivated to accomplish any of the things I set out to do. My lack of passion had me thinking “Was I not cut out for this blogger stuff? How can others do this, but I just can’t?” And then it occurred to me that there was nothing wrong with my level of passion, but my list of priorities. I did not want to sacrifice my sanity to finish some silly tasks. I didn’t want to miss out on moments that mattered, simply to get the shot “for the gram.” I needed balance. So, I went online and googled how to fix my problem, because that’s what we humans do. I found a TON of articles, many unrealistic to my lifestyle. Sorry, don’t have 12 hours to meditate or access to funds to take a “me” trip to Costa Rica. I did however, find some helpful advice that I broke down into five key points to focusing on when trying to regain balance back into your life. These drastically helped me get back to a much better place, and I hope they help you too.

Get Enough Sleep

Seriously, I know this sounds super obvious. But it’s the one thing I put by the wayside the most. I work at night from home, and my youngest is turning three this month and still nurses. So sleep is already a tough thing to come by. When i do get a full 6-8 hours, I’m a completely different person. I’m pleasant, patient, and present. If you are like me, and can’t get a consecutive 6-8 per day, try your best to find time for a nap during the day. You’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle your life with a much better perspective.

Work That Bod

Get your body moving in some way, but with intention. That means, if you’re chasing your toddler around all day, that doesn’t count as a workout. You need to get your heart pumping at a high enough rate to release those good endorphins you feel from working out. Not an athlete? That’s okay! Just put some cute workout clothes on, open your front door, and take a nice walk around the neighborhood. Put those earbuds in and rock out to your favorite tunes while you’re at it! You’ll release some stuff that has you feeling blocked and come back a brand new person.

Find Time For A Greater Power

This can mean SO many things. I grew up in a religious household, but not one that was smothering about it. We attended church on a regular basis, and I was a part of its youth group. I had a complicated childhood, like most people, so having God in my life was a way to feel safe during a time I did not. To this day, when I’m feeling at my lowest, I head to church. I’m the one in front crying over nothing, because being there is straight therapeutic. This is my story. I know not everyone is religious, so finding a greater power can simply mean closing your eyes and finding peace in the silence. Meditation is such a powerful tool to finding balance again, although it takes a bit of practice. Whenever i hear complete silence, my mind starts racing and I can’t turn it off. So this method doesn’t work for me. Between meditation and prayer, you’ll find what works for you, even if it’s a mix of both. With all the noise of our world, silence is truly golden.

Write Down Your Gratitudes

It is so easy to head down the path of negativity when you’re dealing with anxiety or stress. You feel like the world is against you, so why not add to the list with more negative thinking, right? The way to combat that is to literally write down what you’re grateful for everyday for 14 days. Each day has to be a completely different list than the last day, but it must be things you’re genuinely grateful for. These things can be as simple as the air you breathe and the water you drink. They can be people in your life, your home or job, etc. There is something powerful in having to think about the positive rather than focus on the negative, and then writing them down. Try this for two consecutive weeks and watch your perspective change.

Get Some Much Needed “Me” Time

Other than the sleep thing, this is the other one that’s hard for me. From the moment my eyes open, my day is filled to the brim with life and work obligations, so when am i supposed to fit in “me” time? You HAVE to find the time. Getting away to somewhere simple like Target without kids can do a number on your sanity. Grab that venti Starbucks drink and walk around a bit. I also challenge you to treat yourself from time to time. Buy yourself those cute pair of jeans or treat yourself to a manicure. It doesn’t have to be too expensive, it just has to be for YOU and you only. Ever since having kids, I got into this habit of spending all my time and money and energy on them. Don’t get me wrong, they’re super cute and all, but I was sacrificing all my happiness for theirs. I was dropping hundreds a year on custom Disney outfits, but couldn’t bring myself to buy the cute bra I saw on sale. I had a problem with rewarding myself. You see, it’s not about the item, it’s about what doing that will do to your self worth. Putting yourself first can create a better mental space for yourself, and that will reward all areas in your life. Maybe you don’t have kids but are a big saver and don’t really treat yourself. Start to shift your thinking just a bit, because life is too short, and you’re totally worth it.

Mental illness affects so many, and in no way is this blog a prescription on how to fix that. I struggle daily with anxiety and stress management, but I realized that eliminating certain things from my life helped create more balance, so this is why i wanted to share. Remember you are loved, and it’s all going to be okay. We all have seasons in our lives, both good and bad. Don’t let it define you. You got this!