Working From Home with Children: A Juggling Act
During this Covid pandemic, more and more people have transitioned to working from home. Our team at Exigent, like all businesses, were thrown through a loop. Although my business card calls me "Controller", my kids call me Mom. With many schools going back virtually for full or part time, parents are juggling how to handle their day job, while suddenly becoming stay-at-home parents and homeschool teachers. Fortunately, I have been primarily working from home for the last couple of years so at least I’m ahead of one of the many curves Covid has thrown us this year!
I have put together some tips and tricks that I have learned over the years from working at home with small children. I hope you find them helpful!
Find a work schedule that works for you
When I was a new mom three years ago, I found that working at night when my husband got home was the easiest. I always heard that if you stay up until after the baby’s late night feed, you won't be as tired. This was very true to my situation. So, with the baby's bedtime at 7:00pm I would have a big chunk of work time until my son’s midnight feeding. Next morning, we would wake up and play and I could get more work done during nap times. Breaking up my working from home day into multiple work sessions allowed me to spend time with the baby while staying on top of my work load.
Find creative ways to keep them entertained
Once I had my second child things became very different. As a parent, you really have to think outside of the box. Juggling a toddler and a newborn was a challenge, however, I started to rotate toys so that they would be interested in what they were doing longer. I also had a closet of new toys - on days that I needed to focus, I would pull out a new one and that would be their entertainment for a while. Sometimes, educational TV shows can help for those times that you just need one more hour.
Set up spaces that are yours
A lot of people find that it’s harder working from home when things are messy - I know I do! I have my desk on one side of the family room, and on the other an area for the kids’ toys. Throughout the day, I clean up as they go. Not only are we avoiding trips and falls, but we’re also saving time. Every night I pick up the rest of the house so we have a fresh start in the morning. I find it takes less time to do it throughout the day then it does to do it all at once.
Recognize when you need a break
Do NOT feel bad about putting your children in daycare or getting a babysitter. Obviously, you may need a day or two to get more things done so that you don't have to be working from home on the weekend. Do what you need to do to be a good mom and a good employee.
Kids will get older and our routine will continue to change. Be adaptive and think of this as a blessing even when your kids are driving you crazy that day. I know the bickering will only get worse as they get older, but until then I will pray to have more and more patience. I know we moms are not perfect but we are perfect in our kids' eyes.