How to work from home with a Toddler

8 September 2020

You don’t. The end.

When lockdown was first announced and us office folk were banished to the corners of our dining rooms and spare rooms (if we’re lucky to have them) I had to laugh or else I would’ve cried. Trying to live a normal productive life with a toddler is, in itself a challenge; throw a 7.5 hour working day (always on a screen and sometimes taking calls) into the mix and you’re having an absolute laugh (at my expense) However, humans are versatile and Fred and I soon adapted to this new and very weird way of life. I honestly can’t really give you advice on how to care for a toddler and work from  home and the title of this post is probably clickbait but I can give you a brutally honest account of how it went for us. 

You see, working from home with a toddler is about maintaining the balance of neglecting your child,  not getting done for poor performance and choosing which one can be sacrificed, as much as parents don’t want to admit it, we all know that Mr Tumble brought your child up through lockdown and he’ll always have a place in your heart, as will Peter Rabbit, that one with the fringe on Cbeebies who over-sings and bloody Waffle. When Fred gets older and wants to draw his family tree I won’t be surprised if it includes a dog, a fringe, and a man with a spotty bag but I think there’ll be a lot of kids needing some kind post-lockdown therapy by then so we’re fine. 

Prolonging breakfast by about an hour gave me enough time to reply to emails and generally feel like I was working – I had to be calculated in my approach to feeding the toddler-monster by not over-feeding him in the first instance and throwing as many pre-packaged breakfast-type items of food at him throughout the hour (going for the ones labeled as organic help ease the guilt and going for chewy ones makes their consumption last longer). In addition to using food as a brilliant distraction from the click-clacking of a keyboard, the slightly longer and more fulfilling breakfast pleased the Nap Gods and ensured that the Toddler-monster could catch a good couple of hours of winks so I could do some proper work without being asked for a snack every 3 seconds and wresting sticky tiny fingers from the mouse. 

Speaking of wrestling teeny tiny hands, one key point always needs to be remembered when mixing with toddlers is that toddlers always want to be big and don’t actually acknowledge that they’re small so, treat them as though they’re your teeny, illiterate, incontinent colleagues with anger issues and put them to work (if my boss is reading this I can confirm that I did not let my son do any of my work) allow them to pretend that they’re working. Give them an old laptop to tap away on or a tablet and set them up at the table with you – you will get a good 20 second before they ask for a snack or decide that they want swap seats, imagine that...a whole 20 seconds.  

When you finally realise that working from home with a toddler isn't actually possible your only option is to move someone in. I tried shouting over the chimney pots for our Mazza Poppins but she must be busy with that bloody needy Banks family or maybe she was isolating with Dick - either way she didn't step up when I needed her, f*ck you Disney. At this point in lockdown I'd resigned myself to the fact that we were never leaving the house again and went mental with my Boohoo Premier delivery, this allowed me to get on first name terms with Hermes delivery driver and when I thought it was going well, I asked him if he wanted to move in, of course, he said no. The postman ran a mile and my next-door neighbour slammed the door in my face. Nain however, was blessed with the gift of Furlough and was daft enough to think that shacking up in the madhouse was a good idea. All hail Nain, suddenly I was able to work, like work work. 

Approximately seven years passed and the lockdown rules were loosened, Nain bolted out of the door as quickly as she could and Fred's childminder said three magic words that still give me goosebumps "send him back" oooh just typing them makes me emotional. Fred went back to hang out with his mates for 30 hours a week and I was able to be better at my job. There have been instances since, where I've had to juggle Fred and work at home due to Covid-related exclusions etc. but knowing it's not forever makes it much more bearable. 

As with all aspects of life with these little creatures, some days make us beam with happiness and others have us dreaming of wine by 9am; the same applies to working from home with a toddler the best advice I can give is to take the good with the bad, stock up on alcohol, pick your battles and don't dwell on how shockingly sh*t your day may have been because it won't be the last day that has you rocking in the corner and despite me only highlighting the negatives (because there aren't actually any positives to the situation) try and remember that there are hundreds of exacerbated parents all over the country thinking that they can't do it when, in reality, by the end of the day they realise that they have actually done it.


  1. Honestly I am so lucky that I can't work from home, was bad enough trying to do essays with an 8 year old rather than trying to wrestle with a toddler and work. You deserve a month in the Maldives (child free obviously lol)

    Erin || MakeErinOver

  2. At those times (in the event that we're not excessively sleepless for imaginings), it tends to be valuable to picture OUR lives and connections being unexpectedly and significantly different... Maybe something similar to bassinet on wheels


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