When Your Toddler Drops the Nap

Home-based working moms juggle home and work assignments as best they can. I am one of these moms. It’s hectic at times, but the job gets done.

It amazes me how much energy my 2-year-old Emma has. Not too long ago, I could put her down to sleep at 7pm. Now she usually wants to play outside with her big sister after dinner and is not tired until 8:30pm.

My recent challenge is that Emma has dropped her afternoon nap. Two days a week she’s not in daycare. In the past, I would work from the computer when she went down for her two-plus hour nap. Seems her luxurious nap days are over.

Here are my tips for getting as much work done as possible — even when your toddler is home with you and wants to play:

• Give her a project to work on like a puzzle or a toy that captivates her attention (mine loves her dollhouse). She can play alongside you.

• Allot some work for early morning or evening hours. I prefer working in the early morning. I can squeeze in two hours before the girls rise at 7am if I have deadlines to meet. Other moms may prefer nighttime after the kids are asleep.

• Have a trusted friend or neighbor you can call on for babysitting help. You’ll know when you need to hand off your child to a sitter. Fortunately, I have a neighbor who can watch the girls on an as-needed basis. She watches Emma two mornings during the week. I need that time to make calls, write, prospect for new business, etc.

My final suggestion is to stay focused when you have a block of time to work. Limit distractions like Facebook or Twitter — these can be major time drains.  Focus on the task at hand and don’t stop until it is completed. After you check off your to-do items, you can spend one-on-one time with your toddler, perhaps at the park or a playdate.

Erin Flynn Jay is a Philadelphia writer, public relations executive and mom of two girls. Check out her blog, Mastering the Mommy Track.

Categories: MomSpeak