My husband and I both work at home full-time with two kids under two. I’m not trying to win a medal or anything; I actually really enjoy working at home with my entire family under one roof.
Granted, we do send my toddler to half-day daycare Monday through Friday so that we can get some normal work done before he comes home to tear apart the house in the afternoon. My husband and I spend the morning switching off between working and juggling a crazy baby. So far, so good.
Working at home, either alone or with a spouse, definitely isn’t for everyone. But I’ve come to love it because I hardly ever have to leave the house so I get to wear yoga pants all day long. That’s a win in my book.
If you’re a work-at-home parent, you may be in desperate need of some support so that you don’t lose your shit the next time your toddler screams for juice during a conference call. It is possible to preserve your sanity and earn an income while working from home with a family.
Here are 10 ways to keep your job and keep yourself from killing your spouse during your 9-to-5:
1. Stick with a schedule, traditional or not.
You and your partner may need to sit down and have a serious one-on-one talk. It’s important to find schedules that work best for both of you. It’s especially helpful if these schedules overlap. Example: I like to get up early and get the bulk of my work done in the morning. My husband gets up later and takes my son to daycare, and then he works harder in the afternoon while I watch the kids.
2. Consider part-time childcare.
Depending on your income, you may not be able to afford childcare for multiple children. Saving money on daycare can be the silver lining of working at home. But… soon enough, you and your kids will start to go crazy after looking at each other’s boring faces day after day. Half-day childcare works perfectly for us—it’s affordable, and it also gives my high-energy toddler socialization during the week.
3. Create your own personal space.
Let’s get something straight. My husband and I do not work in the same room. We’re not that tight. I’d probably go nuts if I didn’t have my own personal office space (a built-in desk area in our laundry room). My husband works on his laptop upstairs, and we normally IM obscenities throughout the day.
4. Split up daily duties.
It’s taken us some time to get into the swing of things, but now my husband and I are comfortable splitting all household and childcare duties 50/50. I’ll be honest—this took a little getting used to for me since I was raised in a religious family with “traditional” roles. But once I realized that we were both working hard from home full-time, I was more than happy to share the gruntwork.
5. Teach your kids independent play.
At first, I felt guilty for encouraging my toddler to play alone, but now I’m so glad I did. Not only does independent play support creativity, but it gives both my husband and I pockets of time to work in peace while my toddler pulls every single piece of Tupperware out of our kitchen cabinets.
6. Budget money for babysitting.
Unless your financial circumstance really doesn’t allow it, I’d recommend budgeting for babysitting just as you would any other bill. If you and your family spend 24/7 together, an afternoon or night out at least once a month is mandatory for your mental health—and your relationship.
7. Stay in touch with friends.
Working at home with two small children can quickly turn you into an isolated troll that never leaves the house. I still try to reach out to friends regularly and plan get-togethers. Bonus—I also consider the Mommyish community my close circle of friends, so I don’t feel like a sad sack that is totally out of the loop.
8. Ask about each other’s day.
Yes, you do have to work to keep the romance alive, even when working together under one roof. My husband and I still ask about how each other’s day was—to shift back into the role of a married couple instead of coworkers.
9. Treat YO SELF.
As an independent worker, it’s easy to become a task master. I try to encourage both my husband and myself to take time off regularly and do things we enjoy. I’m not always good at treating myself and putting myself first when needed, but I’ve noticed that when I do, it makes me a more relaxed and confident mother.
10. Don’t take the last of the coffee.
If you wouldn’t do it in an office, don’t do it at home. Trust me—your coworker will hold a grudge.
(photo: Dragon Images/Shutterstock)