Working from home has been forced on many people by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But what initially seemed like an unfortunate turn of events is gradually morphing into an eye opener for many moms. The benefits of working in an air-conditioned traditional office are many and undeniable, but none of those benefits outweighs the joy of spending time with your kids as you work. Instead of seeing your kids for a few minutes in the morning and a few hours in the evening, you get to spend the whole day with them and be part of their daily routine. And even when schools reopen, working from home will still allow you more time with the kids because they will be finding you at home every day, unlike when you waste hours commuting from the office. What’s more, spending time with your toddler means lower childcare costs.
On the flipside, working from home with kids all over the place can be an extreme sport. You know it if you have tried it. That is why we have stepped in to help with these 6 working mom’s tips for work-from-home.
1. Wake up early
Working from home shouldn’t be a reason to sleep in. In fact, you should develop a culture of waking up an hour or two earlier than your normal schedule so that you can get some work done before your baby- and probably husband- wakes up. Try waking up at 4.00 am for a 3-hour work session and probably a 1-hour gym session. By the time you are settling down for breakfast with family, you will have done at least a third of your day’s tasks. Note that morning hours are the most productive hours for most people because stress levels are lowest then.
Mom tip: Try making this arrangement work for you even if you are an evening person because if you are married, you have a partner waiting for you in the bedroom after dinner, so you need to be done with work by the time you get dinner started.
2. Break tasks down
Especially cooking and cleaning. You might never find a solid 2-hour break to do laundry, so you better get used to breaking down tasks into small 20-30 minute tasks. Don’t wait for dishes to pile up so that you wash them and prepare meals at the same time. Make a habit of cleaning after your babies. Prepare dough for morning cookies or pancakes the night before. You might need some minor kitchen remodeling to accommodate your new lifestyle; to make it more functional for time-saving purposes.
3. Let your bosses and clients know that you have kids
This is an important detail to share with all concerned parties because, no matter how careful you are, your child will always find a way of embarrassing you. They can cry, laugh, and shout in the background when you are on a zoom meeting. Sometimes your baby will come chasing after her pet and interrupt an important phone conversation. You will not be embarrassed if you have informed people on the other end of the call that you are a proud work-from-home mom- that your baby might rudely interrupt the meeting/conversation.
4. Keep kids busy
You will buy yourself a few hours of quiet and concentration by buying your kid new toys, new puzzles, or new entertaining crafts. Anything to keep them occupied! If your line of work can accommodate a little help from the young ones, make sure to ask them to help whenever appropriate. That way, their uncensored energy will be put into good use and they will be too tired in the end that they will easily fall asleep. Besides, asking kids to help you is one way of teaching them about work ethic.
5. Keep kids on a schedule
This tip doesn’t always work because some kids just cannot adhere to a strict time-based schedule, but you can give it a shot. Make sure that the little ones have a regular, natural routine of when they eat or breastfeed, play with mommy, go for a walk, watch TV, play on their own, and sleep. If you manage to keep them on a schedule, organizing your daily schedule becomes a whole lot easier.
6. Set expectations
Have a designated office space where toddlers and older kids know is out of bound. Let everyone in the home know that mommy will be disappointed if they enter mommy’s workspace without knocking or in her absence. Let them know they are making mommy look bad to clients when they make noise when she is on the phone.
Bottom line: Love more
Hug your babies more often, a little tighter than you used to leave for work. Read them bedtime stories and have more bonding hours with them. Have more eye contact with them. Have more connection time with your husband if you have one. Cook for your family more times and the meals they love. Why? Because you are spending more time at home now and, if you aren’t careful, you might be spending more time watching them from your workstation and technically no time at all being actively involved in their lives.