Attachment-Parenting is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, it brings out the “guilt” in so many of us, especially those of us who are new to the mama scene and also trying to work from home. Here are a few things I have found to be helpful.
1. Ask for help! This was a hard one for me. Even though my husband is a great father, I found it difficult to complete my school work and work-work while caring for a baby. We had no family near us to help. After getting some advice from a successful mom-preneur friend, I decided to hire someone to look after my little elf for a couple hours each day, so I could devote my attention to work. It is paying off.
2. Tell your helper what you expect. I have been able to find young ladies that are more than happy to adopt our progressive parenting style. This includes informing me when she needs to nurse, preparing healthy meals, giving her physical comfort and one-on-one attention when she needs it, and using gentle forms of discipline now that she is a toddler. My helpers have even accommodated cloth diapering, which is really a turn-off to some people.
3. Schedule, schedule, schedule! It truly does help keep me on track during my day and helps my toddler know what to expect next. Our day follows the same pattern each day, except for weekends or special circumstances. When I sit down at my desk to work, I refer to my white board. Each day has its own tasks to complete, and having a list in front of me in BIG letters helps me focus.
4. Set up an office or work area with a door that closes. First of all, when I was working within sight of my daughter, she would get upset because she couldn’t understand why I wasn’t paying attention to her. Now that I have a closing door, she understands that I’m in my office and it’s mama’s time to work. She still gets upset sometimes, and it’s definitely a trigger of guilt. But knowing she has a responsible caregiver to whom she is attached helps to lessen it a little. The other thing to keep in mind about this is, if you have someone who is trustworthy, it undermines their efforts to bond and care for your child confidently if you are always hovering.
5. Go into your office prepared to work, and don’t come out until the time is up! This means gathering all drinks, snacks, paperwork, devices, supplies—whatever you need to complete the tasks of the day. I have found it is confusing and sometimes upsetting to my daughter when she sees me emerge from my office and then return. When she sees me, she thinks I am finished working and is ready to spend time with me. It’s very difficult for her toddler mind and emotions to deal with the disappointment when mama is only there to fetch a glass of water.