Tips for On-the-Job Parenting

By Annie Feighery
Issue 128, January – February 2005

A typical Friday afternoon at Mothering

  • Keep a drawer or bucket full of toys and books just for your work hours; rotate the toys weekly.
  • Use tools that will help you and your baby work.
  • The best include the baby sling, a laptop computer and wireless network, a sheepskin, DVDs, and bagels.
  • Don’t multitask with your children all the time.
  • Periodically share one-on-one, child-directed play-time. This approach helps your children understand that your attention will regularly come to them, and that they don’t need to misbehave to get it.
  • Don’t work outside of work hours, so that your kids understand that the boundaries for their “work behavior” are clearly set. Outside of those hours, roughhouse a little more, be rowdy; really enjoy your children.
  • Fight habituation. Change your child’s environment regularly.
  • Keep a good attitude; make sure your employer knows that you are grateful for this arrangement.
  • Don’t be afraid to occasionally lean on the babysitting services of the TV. While its overuse would be bad for your child’s development, its wise use can offer the working parent enough of a break to make this arrangement possible. And that, in the long run, will be great for the child’s development.
  • Have confidence in your abilities and reward yourself by acknowledging your accomplishments regularly. You are Superwoman, so own it!

Annie Feighery is an anthropologist, writer, blogger, wife, and mother of two beautiful children, Aidan and Eleanor.

Photo by Laurent Guerin.

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