Being a stay-at-home mom is amazing. You get to be there for all the little moments, see them learn every day. But for some of us, we also have to work from home, or even bring our kids to work with us. This is a totally different ball game. I have a hard enough time getting things done at home with my 2-year-old distraction! I am extremely lucky that I can bring her with me on the days I have to go in to our wine & liquor store, but that does not mean it’s easy. Here are a couple of things I’ve learned in the time my mini me has been my mini co-worker.

Traveling

All moms know that traveling with your child is not always easy. Most kids nap in the car, but for those who don’t, what do you do? We travel 45 minutes from home to get to the store, that is a long drive with a crying baby ( I luckily have only experienced a couple of those trips, but each time I was very close to pulling over and having a mental breakdown!). My best days were when we matched up the morning drive with our morning nap time. For a short time I was so fortunate! If you don’t have that option, try playing fun & interactive kid songs while driving, or cartoons if you have a car DVD player or tablet. I also always let Elena bring a “friend” with her in the car, whether it’s her favorite stuffed animal of the week or the newest toy she is obsessed with. I try to make sure she is as comfortable as possible, and use window shades to keep the sun off her face.

Know Their Habits!

Elena is a snacker, so I don’t travel anywhere without a couple of snack options for her. I love the to-go yogurt & fruit pouches (Earth’s Best, Gerber & others) for this reason. I always have a couple in her bag just in case, and they have long expiration dates (once opened you have to refrigerate though).

yougurt

I also LOVE the Teensy Fruits organic fruit snacks from Plum, and so does Elena! They are for 12mo+ and come in a couple yummy flavors, I always have at least 1 pack on hand.

teensy-fruit

Tip: If you “Subscribe & Save” from Amazon, you can have them shipped automatically and save 5%!

A great option for bringing snacks from home are those cups with the handles and flexible tops, they give you relief from worrying about big messes in the car. I found one from NUK that has a removable plastic top as well, so whatever snack we pack stays fresh for days.

gerber-cup

We also were lucky that from a young age she entertains herself pretty well. On days I bring her to the store, I make sure to carry a bag of things to do with misc. toys, coloring book and crayons, and her electronic tablet with games and cartoons. I like to go through her toy boxes and bring toys she may have forgotten about, as all parents know “new” toys are always a good distraction! Interactive books, sticker pads, puzzles, I like to change it up every time for her. I also suggest checking out Pinterest, as there are hundreds of ideas for keeping toddlers and kids of all ages occupied with low cost & easy projects.

Naptime

This is by far one of the hardest parts of bringing your child to work with you. When they are little, most kids take 2 naps a day (morning & afternoon). Being at the store in the morning meant that some days Elena didn’t get her morning nap at all. When she was little I would remedy this by bringing the Baby Bjorn or Moby wrap and wearing her while I worked. Not the best scenario, but it was doable. If you have a space big enough, it might be worth it to invest in a pack n’ play so your child can both play & nap while you work. If you have flexible hours, try and plan around naptimes as best you can. It will save you from those over tired outbreaks that all kids have (some more than others!). And as I mentioned above, if you have a long drive and a child that likes to sleep in the car, use it to your advantage!

Know Their Limits

We all know kids can be trying at times. And as parents, it’s easy to forget just how much they have to go through each day. If you have to bring them to work with you, make it easier for everyone by planning ahead as much as possible. Bring extra food in case you get delayed. Always have wipes & diapers on hand for messy situations. Have a back-up distraction in case they get bored with what they have. Keep an eye out for fatigue indicators, and be ready to leave early if you have to!

elena-collage