The 10 Things Keeping Me Sane as a Work at Home Parent

Brooke Duke

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Working from home is hard any way you look at it, but working from home with a 10-month-old baby that crawls everywhere and climbs on everything often feels downright impossible. After some trial and error, I’ve found a few things that help me keep my sanity in this crazy entrepreneurial parenting life.

1. A playpen - I could not function without the ability to put my baby in a space where she is safe even if I can’t watch her every single second. She can play with her toys, move around, and I don’t have to worry about her getting into cords or the dishwasher or chasing the vacuum or pulling the cat’s tail or opening the baby gate if I forgot to latch it. Sometimes I even put her in it when I’m right there if my energy and mental health are shot and I just need a hot second to sit on the couch and do nothing.

2. An automatic vacuum - I hate vacuuming, and due to a lower back injury, I actually can’t do so without pain. And we have both a dog and a cat - vacuuming is a definite need. My robo-vacuum was the best thing I have ever gotten. His name is Jarvis and the fact that I can set him up to go and do something else with my time is amazing.

3. Banking Apps - I’m self-employed in a service industry, which means people are writing me checks a lot. But who has time to go to the bank every week? And then I’d have to lug my baby out in the cold just to go deposit a check? That’s a big nope from this busy introvert. I love that I can use an app on my phone, take a picture of the front and back of the check, and it gets deposited into my account automatically - and I don’t have to talk to anyone!

4. TV - Netflix. Hulu. Amazon Prime. I don’t really care what it is. If it has a show that will keep my child’s attention long enough for me to respond to some emails or take a shower, it’s worth it in my book. I also like unwinding with a show at the end of the day.

5. Google Docs - How did I live so long without Google Docs? I use it for everything. Student forms, lists, contact info, heck every single one of my articles gets created through Google Docs! It’s so easy to use, syncs through multiple devices, and it’s free.

6. Paper. Plates. I don’t always have time to wash another dish. Or energy. Or the willpower.

7. Caffeine. I’m pretty sure at this point I’m technically self-medicating with caffeine, but I don’t care. It makes me happy and productive which makes me a much better parent AND business owner.

8. A solid sleep/nap schedule. - When my daughter was old enough we sleep trained her, and I have never been more thankful for that than now. It’s so great knowing I can count on her to take regular naps (usually), and be able to plan around those times to get things done. Let’s face it, while I can work with her around, it’s so much easier not to.

9. An Instant Pot. - The “what’s for dinner” debate is made so much easier by this handy gadget. I don’t have to have a meal planned out ahead of time either - it cooks frozen chicken in 20 minutes. I love not having to thaw stuff beforehand and still get a meal on the table within 30-40 minutes.

10. Google Calendar - The only way I can keep track of my crazy schedule is having it all written down somewhere. I like having it on my phone, and Google Calendar makes it easy to share with my spouse, babysitters, colleagues, etc.

What things do you rely on to keep you sane when you’re at home with your kids?