What working from home while caring for your child is really like – without Help

So this is how a normal week day pans out.

My son, who is currently 18 months old, and I get up almost simultaneously in the morning between 7 and 8 AM. While I feed him his morning milk, I check my mail, Facebook and Whatsapp messages. I reply to the last two immediately and any urgent emails. After changing his diaper, I head to the kitchen to prepare breakfast for my husband and myself. My son usually plays with his dad at this time.

Breakfast done, my husband leaves for work usually between 9-10 AM. I freshen up and answer other mails. After that, there is a lot of juggling of activities; office work – basically answering calls, messages and mails, playing with my son, feeding and bathing him, housework, reading the newspaper, checking all my social media, watching TV and preparing lunch. For the first hour or so after waking up, my son plays independently – with his toys, utensils, empty buckets, bottles, stroller – basically anything he can get his hands on. After that, he demands more attention from me. I hover around him and he hovers around me.

The moment my son goes down for his nap which is around 1-2 PM, I start work. He usually naps for 3 hours in the afternoon so that’s when I do the bulk of my work. He is a light sleeper and tends to wake up a couple of times in between so occasionally I work on our bed so that I can immediately reach out and put him back to sleep.

Once he is up from his nap and has his evening milk, it’s a repeat of the morning routine till his dad comes home. I cook, clean and finish all the household chores for the day. We all spend some time together at dinner after which my husband looks after my son while I finish any pending work. My son then chooses who will put him to sleep that night. After some catching up time with my husband, I go to bed with a novel. Unfortunately, I just get to read a paragraph or so before the book crashes into my face and I realise it’s time to sleep. I check my mail one last time, shut my eyes and hope to drift into the land of dreams.

This is of course the routine on a good day.

With a toddler, there is always something or the other happening since they are growing and changing really fast. If my son has a cold or an upset stomach or he is teething for instance, he won’t sleep well and he will be clingy all day. Then it becomes really difficult to work. On such days, I become best friends with coffee and sacrifice my sleep at night. Also, I try and finish all my work a few days before the deadline so that crises with my son don’t affect my work.

Luckily, motherhood has taught me to forge ahead despite intense fatigue and sleep deprivation. I have learnt to expect change, be prepared for anything and alter strategies at a moment’s notice. I have learnt that there is always a solution.

I think motherhood is the best preparation for entrepreneurship. And it’s not just my experience as a mother. I have learnt so much by just watching my son. So if his toy rolls under the bed, he won’t call out to me immediately to take it out. He’ll lie down on his stomach and try to fish it out on his own. He’ll try one position then another position, one angle and then another angle, one side and then the other side and only when he has tried everything and exhausted all his options, he calls me. His perseverance at everything is just so inspiring.

He jumps out of bed every day with so much excitement and anticipation and he goes on and on all day till he physically can’t anymore and just drops into sleep mid activity. And I think to myself – if he can do it, so can I.

In my next post in this series, I’ll share with you some tips I use to manage everything smoothly (well, most of the time).

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