1. Put him in his moses basket with a few toys
So you’ve chosen to work from home or freelance through your maternity leave. What you’ve done here, though, is mistake your baby for a good baby. The sort of baby who, if you plop him in a corner, will play contentedly on his own. But you don’t have that sort of baby. You have the sort of baby who causes health visitors to exclaim “doesn’t he have a lot of character!” At the end of a long, hard day of baby-wrangling, you yourself have told him “it’s a good thing you’re cute”. He needs constant stimulation. He is never not wriggling. He cries anytime you’re not holding him. What you have is a velcro baby, and it’s a matter of minutes before he kicks a hole in that basket, sweeps your coffee to the floor, and screams himself hoarse.
Work completed: 15 minutes, tops.
2. Make a floor desk!
Kills two birds with one stone, right? You get to work and supervise your baby, right? Wrong. You will surround your baby with all his toys, but the one he’ll be interested in is the big shiny one you’re spending all your time on, and the minute your back is turned to answer your phone he’ll roll over onto your laptop and suddenly your screen will be full of gibberish.
Work completed: FKSMASLG;J’K KL28_)(
3. Take a train to Penzance!
No, seriously. Buy a ticket, hop on a train and, provided you have enough laptop battery and/or your baby isn’t ill or teething, the movement of the train will rock him to sleep for the largesse of the journey, allowing you to work. Obviously this way you spend an entire day’s salary on a ticket to Penzance, but in return you get to eat in the buffet car, which makes you feel like a spy, and you get to visit Penzance (Obviously, if you live in Penzance, get a train to London).
Work completed: Five hours’ worth, unless you take this opportunity to sleep instead, in which case who could blame you.
4. Leave your baby with a friend or relative!
Leave your baby with someone while you work in the other room and you’ll realise just how well you can interpret your baby’s various cries. Also, you won’t be able to think about anything else. Whoever’s looking after him will try to feed him when you can hear that he’s sleepy, or try to rock him to sleep when he just wants someone to play with him. And you’ll sit there mentally critiquing their technique instead of working until you can’t stand it anymore.
Work completed: Very little, unless you measure work in tears and leaked breast milk.
5. Decamp to a park!
Okay, in my experience this one actually works when I time it with my baby’s morning nap. If I wheel him to the park via Starbucks I get to a) enjoy a soy hazelnut latte, and b) do some real work, because the combination of fresh air and birdsong lulls him to sleep and keeps him there for much of the morning. Of course, the cons include potential iPad theft, rain, toilet negotiation, and park yobs going “weyyy” if you breastfeed.
Work completed: Anything up to two hours’ worth, unless a yobbo nicks your iPad in the rain while you’ve got your norks out.
6. Wear him!
This also works. Strap your baby into a carrier, go for a walk until he falls asleep, then open your laptop and get some work done. If he wakes up for a feed, try and feed him in the carrier before he figures out that you’re sitting down (they always figure it out somehow).
Work completed: Up to 90 minutes’ worth.
7. Stand up!
If your baby gets restless in the carrier when you’re sitting down, set up shop on a kitchen counter, and work standing up. This also counts as a workout.
Work completed: As much as you can do before your feet get tired.
8. Work on your phone while he sleeps!
Typing one-handedly on my phone has become second nature, and I’ve even managed to push past the RSI I’ve been developing. Still, I only use this method for notes and edits, because it gets too cosy. Suddenly you become aware that you have this cuddly baby squished up against you, the oxytocin shuts down your higher brain and you just want to smell your baby’s head and nap all day.
9. If all else fails, give up, embrace poverty, drink wine.
You can do this. You live near Lidl.