I’ve been working as a freelance writer and professional blogger for a number of years now. I have a pretty good grasp on how to handle the whole work-from-home situation and I’m pretty comfortable with my home office routine. But that’s all changing with the arrival of Baby Kwan and my life is about to be turned upside down. Thankfully, I was recently invited to a couple of super secret (they’re not that secret) Facebook groups for daddy bloggers.
While the “daddy blogger” community shares a lot of its concerns and worries with work at home moms, we may also have a different perspective on things. We might be wondering how best to handle watching football on Sunday, for example. We might be fighting with social norms and gender roles. We might struggle with the feeling of being “left out” when it comes to feeding and bonding with the child. It’s a brave new world out there and it’s one that dads on TV may not be able to adequately address.
Time Management and Catching Shuteye
And so, after joining the daddy blogger Facebook group, I posed a simple request: what would be your single greatest piece of advice or wisdom to a first-time work-from-home dad? The responses and support quickly came pouring in.
Don’t even try to work for the first couple of weeks, or possibly even the first month.
Most moms take maternity leave, many for up to a year. “Regular” dads can take parental leave too, but based on the dads in our prenatal class, most are going back to work within the first couple of weeks. We have to remember that typical maternity/parental leave is paid, even if it’s only a percentage of a regular paycheck. In the case of an entrepreneur, there’s no such safety net in place.
I’ve written before about this sense of guilt and how we feel like we should be working all the time. If we’re not working, we’re not earning. And given this, it’s understandable that freelancers and daddy bloggers would want to return to work as soon as possible. I’m definitely going to struggle with this.
Don’t even try to sleep for the first couple of weeks, or possibly even the first month.
That’s a sad, but painful truth that I’ll have to handle too. I really do like my sleep and having flexibility in my schedule. They’re a big reason why I chose to start freelancing in the first place!
Rules, Boundaries and Limitations
Even without a crying infant to contend with, this piece of advice definitely rings true.
Being a WaHD is a juggling act where you need to look after your work interest and your child sometimes. If your partner is still at home with the baby you need to discuss boundaries so that you can get things done from a work point of view, and you can still help out in between. Also, if the mum wants to be fully in charge as though you weren’t there, let that happen. Let her be the parent on her terms when it’s her turn.
I’ve written before about rules and boundaries in the context of the freelancer-client relationship. It also applies, in a different sort of way, in separating “work” from “life” in the context of a home office. There are two separate sets of responsibilities, both equally important and both equally entitled to your time.
Of course, circumstances may dictate that “life” and “work” start to blend together.
Learn to type while holding a sleeping baby.
While I have tried typing with a sleeping dog in my lap, I haven’t tried with a sleeping baby. I guess I’ll be learning all sorts of new life skills.
The Daily Daddy Blogger Lifestyle
These last two tidbits may be both the shortest and the most profound.
Every time you think you’ve got it figured out, it will change.
JFDI. Whatever needs doing, don’t complain about it..Just F*cking Do It.
Being versatile is a critical skill to have as a successful freelance writer. As a daddy blogger and a WAHD, adapting to changing circumstances will be positively invaluable. As the baby matures into an infant, the schedule and needs will change. As mommy returns to work after her maternity leave, the situation will change. Life and work will be in a constant state of flux.
And at the end of the day, you just have to get it done. Wish me luck!