Working from home and parenting has always been a challenge. But now with COVID-19, it’s an even more formidable task to accomplish. Especially since so many people since the start of the pandemic have become newly minted working from home parents.
It’s challenging to know what to do and what’s best for your child. Mostly because, at the same time, you’ve been reinventing how you do your job, too.
Despite the obstacles, there are ways to juggle working from home and parenting at the same time. Here are five key points to keep in mind.
1. Keep Your Expectations Realistic
Before the pandemic struck, perhaps you were a person who was always on the top of your game. Naturally, you were able to balance work and parenting at the same time. It wasn’t always perfect, but you made it happen.
Unfortunately, all of that old lifestyle has been turned upside down. That’s why it helps to keep your expectations realistic with this situation. This timeframe might not be the year to go on that all-inclusive vacation, run that marathon you’d been training for, or get that promotion.
To get in the right mindset, take some time to consider what’s genuinely essential for you regarding both work and parenting. Make a list — but don’t let it get too long. Create a display or post your list somewhere prominent as a reminder to yourself.
2. Be Kind to Yourself
Knowing that you will make mistakes, it’s essential to be kind to yourself. We’re in a pandemic, after all!
It’s a crisis that nobody has had to face for a very long time. That means we are all going to slip up, make mistakes, and not be the perfect parent or employee we’d like to be.
So, when you do make a mistake, keep these thoughts in mind:
- Remind yourself everything is going to be OK
- Avoid shaming words like “stupid, or “idiot”
- Try to laugh a little and find the humor in the situation
- Pause, take a deep breath, and relax
Remember, you’re doing the best that you can!
3. Stay Organized
Parenting and working full-time has always required high-degrees of organization. But now that you are working from home and parenting, staying organized takes an even higher priority. For example:
- Know your schedule and your kids’ schedule for school
- Determine when are the best times for you to work (that might be outside of traditional work hours)
- Keep a list of what needs to done
- Budge your time wisely
- Ask your kids to help and find ways that they can contribute to the house
- Allow them a little more autonomy for how they use their free time.
If you need help staying organized, there are plenty of online tools and apps that you can use to keep on track.
4. Set Limits
Perhaps at no other time has setting limits been more critical than now. With work, try to carve out your own space to get your job done. Use that space for work and nothing else (unlike the kitchen table).
Close the door to your home office at the end of the workday and focus on family time. Also, set limits with your employer about what is realistic and in your capacity to accomplish. They may be more accommodating than you realize, as everyone is struggling with the same issues.
With your kids, let them know there are times you need to focus on a task. Give them options for how they can spend their time if they are bored.
5. Make Room for Yourself
Parents are usually willing to give 110% for their kids. And, of course, you want to do well at work, too. However, you might feel tempted to overreach and push yourself too far. That’s why you need to make room for yourself, as well, such as:
- Exercising every day
- Taking time to read or journal
- Waking up early to enjoy coffee and some quiet time
- Going outside midday to garden or tend the yard
Yes, working from home and parenting is taking up most of your time. Yet, to be the most effective with these responsibilities, it’s essential to do something for yourself.
COVID-19 has redefined how we handle many things in life. That includes working from home and parenting. If you have tried these ideas and are still struggling, please reach out to me for support or visit my parenting counseling page to learn more about how I can help.