Tags: Featured Story, Food & Home, Health, Maternity, Parenting
Working from home has never been so common. While there are often incredible benefits to remote options, it can be challenging to separate work from home life. The living that takes place in a household can be overshadowed by the work that takes place in it.
If moms in particular were already feeling overwhelmed before the COVID-19 pandemic, early indicators are that they have only added to the workload. Between supervising virtual learning, never getting a break, and leaving the house less, it’s a lot, especially for women.
Here are 11 ways to thrive when working from home:
1. Designate your hours
Define your responsibilities and determine what that schedule should be. Not a single job is 24 hours, other than perhaps parenthood, and even then, breaks and sleep are a reasonable expectation.
2. Choose a space
Settle in a defined space of your home if possible. If not, designate a chair, table, and corner that’s all yours. Keep your work materials out of the general living area if possible.
3. Gather your supplies
Put all your chargers, papers, and necessary items within arm’s reach. Not only will you be able to grab what you need, but your children are less likely to destroy it when you’re not looking.
4. Prepare food
Plan snacks and meals ahead of time. Go week by week or day by day, but have the meals in mind that you’ll be responsible for and prepare accordingly.
5. Let teachers know your availability
There is no shame in referring teachers to the other parent. If you cannot take their call or be present during a lesson, tell them when you can be reached.
6. Get headphones
Noise cancelling headphones or rediscovering the Billboard Top 10 from the year you graduated high school are always options. If you don’t need to keep an ear out for small children, turn on music, a podcast, or white noise that you find helpful to concentrate.
7. Try a set activity
Point your child in the direction of something possible to do without constant supervision. Markers that only work on certain types of paper or play dough can be a good starting point.
8. Read aloud
Hitting the highlights of work email and letting your child know what you’re working on can be a strategy that works. If work is definitely something a child can hear, have the child read to you if she or he can.
9. Use the oven to your advantage
When you need to set a timer for a designated task, find a baking mix or dinner recipe with an equivalent amount of time. Prepare the recipe with your child. Put the item into the oven and press Go. Get your child started on a task or new activity while you tackle a work task. Come back together when the timer rings.
10. Go for a drive
If nothing else is working, get in the car. Strap every child in safely and go find wifi. Bonus points if you stop by a drive-thru first that features a beverage you love. Drive and look at the change of scenery. It’s possible your child will fall asleep. Use temperature control settings and go find the wifi in a parking lot to do your work.
11. Take a break
Recognize that the circumstances are unusual and put work aside when possible to take a true break. Look at labor laws and know your rights.
The pandemic will end. Whether or not in-person work will resume is uncertain and depends on individual circumstances. A private office, co-working space, or person helping out at home may be a better option than working from home with children. No matter what you do next, you will make it right for your family, and tomorrow will be better than today.