Are you losing your mind yet? Be honest, how many meltdowns of toddler proportion have you had since quarantine?
I’ve been working from home with kids for the last 5 years. I will be the first to admit, it is hard work. Throw in the mix of homeschooling your kids, even though we didn’t ask for that, and it can be downright infuriating, exhausting and overwhelming.
Remember that viral video a few years ago with a man doing a BBC interview and his small children barging in the room? Now you know the feeling. You are now that man, trying to juggle conference calls, shooting out emails, hopping on Zoom calls without being interrupted.
I have a few tips that might be useful to you. Perhaps you’ve already mastered this sh*t show as we enter week of 3 of quarantine, but if you haven’t… there is always room for improvement.
- MAKE A LIST: make a list, make a list, make a list. There is a reason this is my #1 tip for you working and schooling from home. Don’t make the list in the morning when you wake up either, unless you wake up hours before the rest of the household. Once you check your phone and start responding to emails, you will feel behind the 8 ball. Trust me, not having a list can throw your entire day off. No matter how tired I am, I take 5 minutes before closing my eyes to make a list for the next day.
- NOT ONE, BUT 2 LISTS: One for my work tasks and one for homeschooling. The daily curriculum is then put on our chalkboard and it helps the kids stay on track for the day. If I forget to write out the assignments (with times!) the entire day can spiral out of control.
- WAKE UP EARLY: When I sleep in until my kids get me up, my whole day is whack. I hate setting an alarm, maybe more than anyone, but if I allow myself 45 minutes or so before my first kid wakes up to have some coffee and get started on the day, it helps tremendously.
- GET ORGANIZED: Organization looks different for different people, but for me it’s having the house in order so I can concentrate on my work. Create a home office. It can be a room that isn’t utilized or it could even be your dining room. Try to keep it clean of clutter, even if that means taking 15 minutes at the end of your day to clean.
- TURN OFF THE TV: We listen to a lot of music in the house, but the TV is not turned on until it’s evening and we’re watching a movie or sports or during quiet time. The only exception to this is an important conference call. I will usually get them set up with a movie to occupy them for the hour or so I need to be on the phone. Of course, this is all fluid to what your job consists of.
- KEEP ON 30 MINUTE TO 1 HOUR TIME CHUNKS: Set the alarm on your phone or ask Alexa to set a timer for 30 minutes. Do the work you need to do for 30 minutes. When that timer goes off, you can assess the situation to see if you need more time, if not go do an activity with your child for the next 30 minutes. Kids are more apt to listen when you say, “mommy needs to work for 30 minutes, and then we can do that coloring book.” Start an activity with them, if possible, and then move on to your work for 30 minutes.
- PUT YOUR WORK DOWN WHEN IT’S TIME FOR KIDS: Make sure you get on the floor with the kids and give them your undivided attention for 30 minutes before the timer goes off and you head back to work.
- GET OUTSIDE: Sometimes I can feel super cooped up when I’m at home all day and don’t have an escape. I try to get outside for a walk or run every single day. If the weather is bad, I’ll get out and run an errand…unless in quarantine. Even during quarantine, I am doing a workout every single day to keep moving. 30 minutes of exercise really can change your entire day.
- COMPARTMENTALIZE THE HOUSEWORK: This is a difficult one for me, but I really try to ignore the house and the dishes until a certain hour of the day. Typically around 2-3:00 I will spend an hour cleaning the house before I start dinner and Jeff gets home. It’s hard. It usually takes me that full hour to pick up, fold laundry and clean, but it’s easier for me than to try to clean and work and take care of the kids at the same time throughout the day.
- CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK: If you don’t typically work from home, your bosses are going to be a little more forgiving during this odd time. If you don’t typically homeschool your kids, their teachers are going to be a bit more understanding of your teaching ability. If you don’t typically work from home and take care of the kids at home, then you should also be just as forgiving to yourself for the mistakes and meltdowns you may have during quarantine. If you already do work from home and take care of the kids… you have no excuse, this is your life. hahahahaa. I’m kidding, but still….
I hope some of these tips helped. Comment below and tell me how you’re juggling it all during quarantine? What has been the most helpful for you???
JacquelynApril 1, 2020 at 11:31 am
How does an infant factor in to this who doesn’t follow a schedule? You have older kids who are able to occupy him a bit but sometimes baby just wants mama. What did you do prior to having older kids who can occupy the baby?
ShanistyApril 1, 2020 at 12:38 pm
Hi!! So yes, that’s a bit more challenging … as my kids are a bit older and can help out the younger ones. However, my 6 month old is usually always with me…. I set him in his high chair a lot of on the floor with toys. He also takes a really long afternoon nap so that helps. I just think you need to work when you can when babies are involved. I hope that helps some!