Single. Solo. Uno The Power Of One (Part 2) - Step 2: take care of baby, Step 3: take care of business

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Step 2: take care of baby

Make your game plan.

It’s important to be organized when it comes to taking care of your newborn alone – there’s no one to make a midnight run for diapers while you hand back with a crying baby. The best advice: Stock up! Matt Logelin, a widower/single dad who chronicled his journey in the New York Times best-selling book Two Kisses for Maddy: A memoir of Loss and Love, buys in bulk. “I’s get a month’s supply of essentials so I wouldn’t have to continually run to the store,” he says. Logelin kept all of the supplies he needed to get his daughter Maddy through the night in his room since she slept there in a bassinet. “I had diapers, wipes, bottles with powdered formula, water bottles and a bottle warmer within arms reach,” he says. Take some shortcuts: Fill multiple bottles with powdered formula and cap them. When it’s feeding time, add filtered water and simply warm in a bottle warmer. You can also have supplies shipped direct to your home using websites like diapers.com.

Description: Make your game plan

Put baby first.

Something to keep in mind: No one is keeping score at your house. If clean clothes live in the dryer for a few days or the blocks never make it into the toy chest – who cares! But at some point, you’ll have to do the laundry and dishes while baby is wide awake and there’s no sitter available. Invest in a quality baby carrier. Bouncy seats and swings are also a single mom’s best friend since they allow you to work at your speak rather than wait until baby’s asleep (optional time for a relaxing bubble bath or to curl up with a good book!)

Step 3: take care of business

Be the best employee ever.

The reality is that most single parents work 40 hours a week outside the home, and it’s a balancing act worthy of center stage with Ringling Bros. From day one, you need to be honest with your employer about your situation, advises Jack harsh, vice president of human resources at a specialty chemical supplier. “All good relationships are characterized by openness, trust, aligned goals and mutual needs that are satisfied by both parties,” he says. That said, single parents may feel all eyes on them as the try to succeed. And in your office, it just might be true. So try your best to arrive on time. (Pick clothes and prepare lunch the night before.) don’t leave early, and don’t miss meetings. Have a backup sitter ready if your child is too sick to go to daycare, or if you take a personal day, note that while some companies offer an unlimited number of sick days for an employee, they may cap the number you can take to care for a child.

Description: Home = office. Working from home can be a plus

Home = office. Working from home can be a plus. You just have to be smart about it. In the beginning, a baby will (fingers crossed) simply sleep, eat and poop, leaving time to get work done. You can accomplish a lot during baby’s naptime. I kept my son’s swing in my home office, where he’d nap for hours while I cranked out projects. I used the bouncy chair and classical music to entertain him while I answered work emails. I saved heavy research for the evenings when he was asleep for a good stretch. Does working from home sound good to you? Allison O’Kelly, founder/CEO of Mom Corp, a flexible staffing and recruitment firm that helps moms get back to work, advises approaching your supervisor with a well-thought-out plan. “Include how you propose to interact with or manage team members from outside the office and ask for a trial period, which will allow you to prove this to be a seamless work option,” O’Kelly says. Mareesa Hernandez of Cliffside Park, new Jersey, proposed working just one day a week from home. “My boss is a father of five boys all under the age of 7,” Hernandez says. “He was extremely sympathetic and understanding to my situation.” Remote access and a company smartphone made telecommuting as efficient as being in the office. “Don’t expect to work from home if you can’t access a server or your boss’ day planner,” says Hernandez. “You must be able to operate in the same capacity. And never make it seem like your boss is doing you a favor.”

Description: Don’t expect to work from home if you can’t access a server or your boss’ day planner.

The childcare situation. You may think you’ll save money on daycare by working from home, but once your baby is crawling, cruising and toddling, you really shouldn’t attempt to care for him and work simultaneously. “Your employer is paying you to work, not play with your baby,” says O’Kelly. Tracy Riddlebaugh, a single mom to three from Columbus, Ohio, says her parents help so she can save on childcare and work part time. “I don’t really have the option working an 8 to 5 job five days a week because then I wouldn’t have anyone to get my kids to and from school or to provide before – or after school care,” she says. No gramps nearby? O’Kelly suggests nanny-sharing with a neighbor, babysitting co-ops or hiring a college student or teenage helper to watch the baby in your home while you’re on the clock. I scheduled a babysitter or eaksed my mom to drop by when I had a conference call or phone interview. A crying baby in the background just isn’t professional.

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