Working From Home...With Children
Working From Home...With Children
When my husband, Will, told me he was going to be working from home for at least the next two weeks, I was like LOL welcome to the chaos, babe! I’ve been working from home with our 10 month old, Liam, ever since returning from maternity leave and I think it’s kinda great Will is getting a glimpse into that now. It’s messy, it’s crazy, it’s overwhelming, it’s all-consuming, it’s freaking hard – and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Working from Home might be The New Normal
Now that many of us are quarantined with kids and trying to work from home, it’s comforting to me that my struggles weren’t imaginary or invalid. So many people are expressing the same hardships that I’ve felt for the past 7 months. And so many people are offering their tips and support. During a time of physical isolation, I actually feel way more connected. We’re all navigating through new, scary circumstances, just trying to do our best to keep life “normal”.
But like many moms, I’ve been trying to figure out what “normal” is ever since Liam was born. Balancing work and life is hard when there’s no physical separation between the two. I constantly feel like I’m failing at something. It’s honestly impossible to accomplish everything I want to do each day. In my short time as a new parent, I’ve had to learn that I can’t do it all and that doesn’t make me a failure. It hasn’t been easy to accept but my mental health totally depends on it. I for sure haven’t mastered working from home with the babe yet but I’ve found a few things to be really helpful.
Make a “To Do” List Everyday
It’s totally fine that not every single item on the list will get done but writing down the things I hope to accomplish each day clears my head. Having a kid at home makes my brain go in 100 different directions. The to do list allows me to prioritize things, pick one thing at a time, and truly focus on that thing. Even though the whole list is rarely checked off, checking off even some of the list is satisfying. It’s a reminder that I did get things done and I can be proud of that.
Write Down Your Goals
I’m not great at doing this consistently but, hey, I’m trying! If I take a few minutes Monday morning to write down my big goals for the week, I’m a lot more likely to stay focused on them. These are the big picture things that help me set my intention for the week. I like to have a personal one and a work related one.
Make a Schedule
This is the hardest one for me. Liam’s 10 months old so his routine still changes a lot. But I know – roughly – when he’s going to wake up, when he’s going to fall asleep, when he naps (ha not really), and when he eats. I usually look at my to do list and I schedule my highest priority task for Liam’s morning nap time.
The schedule I plan gets thrown off a little most days, so I remind myself to stay flexible. I can’t control everything with a 10 month old and that’s okay.
This is one thing that I don’t bend on. I take my dog, Banks, out to the dog park or on a short hike with Liam every day and it honestly saves me. It clears my head, it makes me happy, it’s one of the very few times during the day that I unplug. Whenever I feel like I’m completely overwhelmed and close to a meltdown, I get out. Stepping away from everything might seem like the worst idea when you have a billion things to do but it makes me more productive in the long run. Plus, it’s one of the few ways to still safely get out of your home during quarantine. If getting outside isn’t an option, do something that allows you to unplug and get away from your desk – or kitchen table or whatever your desk has become post coronavirus.
Ask for Help
I hate asking for help. I hate putting things on other people and I hate feeling like I can’t do it all. I’m working on it. But seriously, ask for help. If there’s not an opportunity to ask someone else for help, help yourself in whatever way you can. Take a break. Step away. Order delivery instead of making dinner. Let your kid have that extra screen time so you can breathe.
Most importantly, I’m trying to learn how to slow things down, accept that things have changed, and that doing my best is enough. Give into this work from home/quarantine situation. The anxiety and fear is no joke right now – so take care of yourself, hug your kids a little longer, play a little harder, and slow it down.
Kelly (and Liam)