Surviving Life with an Infant and a Side Hustle Without Going Crazy
I see you. You’re getting up at all hours of the night to feed your baby, and your days are filled with bottles, baby toys, and diapers. You want to work from home on your side hustle, but you don’t know how to carve out the time to get work done when you are so busy caring for a baby. First, let me encourage you, it only gets easier! As your baby grows, so will their independence. Also, if your baby is less than 4 months old, give yourself extra, extra grace. It takes time to settle in together and to develop routines. Here are the things that have helped me as I’ve been figuring this out with my new daughter! 1. Get their sleep schedule down so you can utilize nap times. When my daughter was a few months old, I realized that the only way I was going to get anything done was to get her on a sleep schedule so she would take longer and regular naps. For every nap (which only lasted 15-20 min each) I had to lay down with her and soothe her to sleep. It was impossible to get anything done! So I used the Little Z’s Sleep Program to get her on a consistent schedule, and now I have several nap times each day that I can dedicate to work. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done as a mom, but it’s been totally worth it!
2. Hustle for only 90 min a day. You have to be both realistic and consistent if you’re going to make this work! A little bit of work every day goes a long way. Listen to this podcast where a mom shares her story about how She started her business in only 90 min a day as a mom! There will come a time when more time will be necessary, but 90 min every day will set you up for success.
3. Maximize the time you have. Don’t spend your precious nap time on education or decisions. If you need to watch a tutorial, save that for when your baby is awake. If you need to make decisions, think about them while you care for your baby or do chores so that you can do the work that’s really going to move you forward when nap time rolls around. 4. Have Your Own Workspace. Having a dedicated work space can make such a huge difference! I know that getting into “the zone” is one of the hardest things about working from home, especially if you are a creative. Having a spot that is inspiring, dedicated to work, and where you can pick up where you left off can be a total time sav
Bonus tip: Get a Desk with a Hutch. This may seem odd, but the desk I used to have left me staring at a blank wall, and I realized years later, that I hated working at my desk because of that! I got this desk that has a hutch attached to it so that it feels like a “space” and I have something to look at when I sit there. It’s made such a difference, and now I actually enjoy working at my desk.
5. Plan Each Day in Advance. Planning your day the night before can increase your productivity by a lot. I used to wake up in the mornings and want to get going, but I had no plan. So instead, I spent hours thinking and writing in my planner. By the time I had a plan, my best working time was gone. Planning at night avoids that pitfall and allows you to jump right into things. If you are looking for a planner that you will actually use, make sure to check out the Evergreen Planner! I tried all the best planners, and this is by far the most well-designed and intuitive one, and I actually use it!
6. Work in the Early Morning Hours or Late at Night Many moms with side hustles swear by working in the early or late hours of the day. Working on your side hustle while your kids are awake can be chaotic and frustrating, so this may just be a season when you need to take advantage of those quiet hours, even if that means sacrificing a little Netflix.
7. Pay Attention to the Rhythms You Already Have One enlightening practice is to track your time for a few days, and write out the rhythms you already have. You may not think you have any rhythms, but you do! When I did this, I realized that I always woke up with my baby at 7 am, fed her, made my coffee, and then sat on the front porch with her to get some morning sunlight. I’d drink my coffee, put her in her bumbo, and read my Bible. I didn’t even realize that I had that rhythm until I started writing things down. Then, once you know your rhythms, work with them. It can be tempting to make big changes (like trying to get up at 5:30 am) but start with just being intentional about flowing with your current rhythms and then make small changes each day.
8. Adjust Your Expectations. As I worked on getting back into work after having my daughter, one of the things I realized was that I had an internal voice that was telling me that I was a failure unless I spent all day being productive on my side hustle. Recognizing that lie gave me so much freedom! I’m not going to be able to work 8 hour days like I did before my baby. My new job is taking care of Meira. Unless you hire a nanny or have your spouse at home, you are your child’s caretaker, so embrace it! Now I don’t feel guilty for only getting an hour or two of work done each day. My mommy job takes up the rest of my time. Don’t hold yourself to a double standard!
I hope these tips are helpful for you as you work to get your side hustle going! I’d love to hear what your side-hustle dreams are. Drop them in the comment section so I can cheer you on!