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Teething time is a tough time for work-at-home moms. Children are generally more needy during this time, which can make moms feel stretched thin.
We’ve been through it recently. It meant long hours because I feel like every time I started working on something, my son would need me. So I’d pause, do some snuggles, go outside or sing a song.
The good news is, teething doesn’t last forever. Whereas the bad news is, it’s super hard while you’re in it. Our little guy woke up every night for screaming fests that lasted anywhere from a half hour to two hours depending on the night.
Dealing with a grumpy one-year-old while sleep deprived is that much harder. Know that you aren’t alone and that there are ways that work-at-home moms can survive it.
Here’s what my schedule looks like when my son is teething:
Work-at-home mom schedule
6:30-8 a.m. work before my son wakes up
8-8:15 a.m. get my son ready for the day
8:15-8:45 breakfast and I work while he eats
8:45-10 a.m. playtime while he’s generally content and I get some more work done
10-11:30 a.m. we generally try to leave the house for a bit because he gets bored and cranky at home
11:30 a.m. – noon lunchtime to ensure he has a full belly to nap
Noon-12:30 p.m. read books and settle down before naptime
12:30-2 p.m. naptime and tons of work time!
2-5 p.m. a total grab bag of maybe more work and maybe tons of time on the floor with my son. Generally I get about an hour to an hour and a half of work done during this timeframe.
5-5:45 p.m. get outside and workout
6-8 p.m. family time and dinner
8-11 p.m. bedtime for my son and possible quiet work time for me. I try my best to spend this time with my husband when I can though.
These days are tough, so here are my tips for how to survive teething as a work-at-home mom.
Wake up earlier/stay up later
This one almost pains me to write, and yet, deadlines don’t wait for teething to end. During teething, I set my alarm a little earlier and commit to actually get out of bed when it goes off to get the most work done before my little guy is awake. For some, this probably sounds like the worst idea ever, so it’s all up to you how you decide to manage it.
I also stay up and work after my son goes to bed. Honestly, it’s not sleep that I lose in the nighttime work schedule. Instead, I miss out on precious one-on-one time with my husband. This is when we recap our day or watch some relaxing TV. But even just doing it once a week can be a huge help in ensuring that I get everything done that is essential.
Use TV to your advantage
Some moms feel really strongly about not turning on the TV for their children. I try to avoid turning on the television whenever I can, but sometimes, it’s super helpful. We use TV to keep my son still to trim his nails and cut his hair mostly. But at times, it’s super helpful to keep him quiet during a conference call or occupied for 30 minutes so I can finish up my work for the day.
I set limits for myself with it. He never watches more than 30 minutes in a day and it’s generally in the afternoon when we’re so done with the day and really need to get out of the house. It’s certainly a last resort for me, but I do use it.
Prep tricks and distractions
During our most recent teething bout, I looked for anything in the house that could be a fun toy, even if just for 10 minutes. Sometimes it’s amazing what I can accomplish in just 10 minutes. So I would prep tricks and distractions for my son even if I knew it wouldn’t last all that long.
After getting a new TV stand, I held onto the box and packaging to distract my little guy when I needed it most. The same is true for that monthly order of diapers that I receive. That packaging can buy me some serious work time.
One of my mom friends told me about carrots being great for teething. They are, but once my son got a couple of teeth it did mean that I had to embrace tiny shreds of carrot being everywhere. He never liked frozen toys though so I use the carrot to buy myself some time here and there.
Snuggle more/soothe baby
For some, this might mean breastfeeding more often. That wasn’t the case for me and my little guy as his gums got so swollen with teething that he actually quit breastfeeding at 10 months old. We tried everything to return to direct feeding, but he never did, so his comfort became bottles.
My son also loves music, so sometimes when he’s grumpy, we take a singing break or dance break. It’s a good distraction and he loves the attention. Our favorite thing is Super Simple Songs on YouTube. The songs are designed to teach concepts like counting, colors and greetings so it also makes me feel good that he could be learning.
Make more coffee
On the really crazy days where you burn the candle on both ends, don’t feel bad about making another pot of coffee. Oh, did I say pot instead of cup! Yes, some days I do think I need an extra pot, but I guess a cup will do as well.
My main comfort comes from the fact that this is temporary. I take the improved days and the days when my son seems like he’s almost back to normal. Sometimes another chaotic day follows, but isn’t that why I signed up for when I decided to be a work-at-home mom?
Someday, he won’t be this little anymore and I know I’ll miss these days and long for them so I’m trying to soak them all in.
If you’re looking for a good teething toy, I like these teething keys that you can freeze. They’re inexpensive, which is nice for a small budget.