Another week of working from home begins. For many, this has been the first time of working remotely since school and everyone is adjusting at their own pace. Among many of the challenges that we face both as a collective and as individuals, women with families have a particular complication that echoes throughout the various communities and socio-economic classes: many women are the primary caregiver and homemaker, and now they are juggling their at-home tasks while working for their outside employer.
On a conference call this week, we were discussing a project and all of us as mothers had various background noise and activity from our children. They love that we are home, and they want our attention. It has always been difficult to find that balance and now we are being tasked further.
Here are some tips to try to create balance while working from home:
Make a Schedule If you have a partner, consider a schedule that breaks up work tasks and home tasks evenly. If you are the sole caregiver, see if your children will help create a schedule where you have blocks of time in the day to work..
Set a Routine Establish a routine as much as possible. Still try to treat weekdays as workdays. You may have to establish an official “working space” and discourage any unnecessary interactions when in it. This may be an adjustment, but it may bring structure to your workday. I let children into my working space for quiet projects so they (hopefully) make that association.
Prepare Ahead Young children may have a difficult time understanding that when mommy is home she may not be available for playtime and they cannot snack all day long. Refer back to the schedule and also consider packing a lunch and a water bottle as you normally would so children can help with some of their own needs. This tip shared by a mom online really helped my day run more smoothly.
Inform Your Child Be ready and willing to show and explain your work to your son or daughter, but not let them distract you into other activities, They will understand that what you do is important if they can see the actual task that you do, beyond typing on a computer. They may decide to follow you into your industry!
Take a Break If your children need you or if you know that a brisk walk will help all of you reset, take that time. If you can carve out a part of the day that is just for you as well (not working, not doing housework), do it. Take that time.
It’s not easy. It works some days…and other days you abandon work until the children are in bed, so that you can make slime with them for a few hours in the day. Every day is an unknown so it is very important to give yourself time to adjust, as well as acceptance for not being perfect (you are perfect to your child!).
We don’t have it all figured out yet and that’s okay; it’s the way of the world today.