I’m grateful I still have a job and for the flexibility to work from home. However, I’m overwhelmed with all that’s on my plate.
I’m used to working, parenting, helping with school, doing the housework, but now it’s all at the same time! That’s why I’m sharing some of the tips I’ve learned along the way for parents working from home!
4 Tips For Work From Home Parents
There are plenty of arguments, tears, and meltdowns (myself included). The house is usually a disaster by the end of the day. We’ve had at least one mystery item flushed down the toilet resulting in a clogged toilet and a call to a plumber.
Let Go Of Guilt
The hardest part of working from home is the guilt. I feel guilty for not spending enough time focusing on work. I feel guilty for not spending enough time with the kids.
I feel guilty about wanting to just be left alone. I feel guilty for not being strict enough about schoolwork for distance learning. I feel guilty that the kids have too much screen time and not enough healthy food.
Basically, it’s the age-old struggle of all working parents but contained in one house with nowhere to go and a global pandemic.
Be Flexible About “Work” Hours
My advice is to try to schedule vital work time in the morning when the kids are fresh and attitudes are better.
After breakfast I try to knock out emails and calls while they are still getting along and able to entertain themselves. (My kids are 2, 5 and 8, so I know it’s not always possible to leave younger kids unsupervised.)
Sometimes I finish work in the hours after they go to bed when the house is finally quiet, and I can focus.
Set Achievable Goals For School Work
I try to set clear goals for my 2nd grader’s schoolwork. Some of it she can work on independently and some of it requires parental assistance. She’s mastered Zoom meetings and logs in each day to see her teacher and classmates.
She’s also started to read chapter books that keep her entertained for longer. Her teacher told us the most important thing students could do was to practice reading, writing, and math.
We try to do a little each day, but if it gets stressful we take a break.
Talk To Your Boss
Be upfront with your job about your current situation. If you do have young kids at home, it can be difficult to have long uninterrupted video conferences or calls.
Everyone I’ve spoken with while working from home has been very understanding. Most of us have kids, or pets, or roommates hanging around.
We are all in similar situations, and this a new work environment for many of us.
Sample Of My Work from Home Schedule
7:00 – 7:30 am
Wake up, check emails, Facebook and news sites on your phone while laying in bed. Put on slippers. Let dogs outside and make coffee and hot chocolate for the kids. Turn on the news. Change your mind. Turn off the news.
7:30 – 7:59 am
Make breakfast for kids. Choose between Eggos, Bran Flakes and bagels. Drink more coffee. Brush teeth and wash face. Consider mascara but decide against it. Attempt to brush hair. Put hair up in a weird messy bun instead. Add sweatshirt on top of PJS and change into fresh socks.
7:59 – 8:00 am
Commute to work. Walk 15 feet from my living room into your home office. Turn on the computer. Look for your coffee.
8:00 – 9:30 am
Find coffee, answer emails, break up fights, turn on Disney Jr. Remember you haven’t eaten breakfast. Eat a bowl of oatmeal in the bathroom with the almost potty-trained two-year-old while on hold with the bank. Give kids a snack.
9:30 – 10:00 am
Read Daily News Clips, update calendar and create virtual meeting agendas. Text funny meme to coworkers about working from home. Answer calls, let dogs outside, empty dishwasher. Turn on YouTube Yoga for kids. Cave and give kids another snack.
10:00 – 10:30 am
Put on a blazer, glasses and some lip gloss. Keep PJ pants on. Attend a Zoom meeting. Try to act normal despite chaos erupting around you. Discover virtual backgrounds for Zoom. Change background to a sandy beach. Wish you had a margarita. Drink some water instead. Tell your five-year-old he can’t play with the cheese grater.
10:30 – 11:30 am
Set up a craft for the kids. Walk away for 5 minutes to discover glue and feathers everywhere. Clean up craft materials while taking a phone call. Send kids outside.
11:30 – 12:00 pm
Dial into a conference call. Listen while reviewing documents, researching homeschooling schedules and making quesadillas. Put a kid on time out for breaking headphones by swinging them around like a lasso. Apologize for dog barking during Zoom meeting.
12:00 – 12:45 pm
Take 2-year-old to the bathroom. Perch on the side of the bathtub while you wait for him to go. Make a work call. Research the average cost of diapers per year. Consider abandoning potty training for now. Leave the bathroom, take out the trash, give the dogs a treat. Make a cup of coffee. Draft a presentation. Turn on Moana on Disney+.
12:45 -1:00 pm
Make a blanket fort. Submit invoices for work. Fix blanket fort. Draft minutes from a virtual meeting. Fix blanket fort. Update the distribution list. Fix blanket fort.
1:30 2:00 pm
Realize that the mail came. Get excited to leave the house for some fresh air. Drink a mango La Croix. Find sidewalk chalk for the kids to use on the driveway. Check emails on your phone, text your boss, and schedule a grocery pick up order. Tell the two-year-old not to put his fruit snacks between his toes.
2:00 – 2:15 pm
Hide in the bathroom watching Tik Tok videos. Eat a handful of pistachios and 2 Oreos.
2:30 – 3:00 pm
Dial-in for a conference call. Take notes while hitting mute like a game of virtual whack-a-mole whenever your kids yell, cry or ask weird questions despite being asked not to interrupt you for the next 20 minutes.
3:00 -3:30 pm
Wonder what time happy hour starts. Submit requests for coding. Check financial accounts, follow up on member inquiries, and submit checks. Send kids to separate rooms for timeouts for spitting. Quiz your eight-year-old on multiplication facts.
3:30 – 4:00 pm
Discuss options for rescheduling events with co-workers. Clean up a giant box of Q-Tips that was flung all over the bathroom. Get kids into swimsuits. Turn on the sprinklers. Run inside for towels and sunscreen. Check email. Dry off, kids. Dry off dogs. Help kids change into clean jammies.
4:00 – 5:00 pm
Start a load of laundry. Look in the fridge for options for dinner. Finish two projects for work. Send kids downstairs to find paper plates. Chug a cup of coffee. Sweep everything on the counter into one big pile. Wipe up the sticky substance on the floor in front of the refrigerator.
Cry happy tears when your husband delivers you a glass of wine.
You’re not alone, work from home parents!
Are you a work from home parent? Comment your tips below!
Allison Anderson lives in Sparks, NV where she and her husband of 15 years are raising 3 kids- Grace, Braxton, and Leif. She considers herself an expert in friend-making and resiliency after 18 coast to coast moves as a military spouse. Allison graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a degree in journalism, but has worked in a slew of positions including public relations for veterinary hospitals, Stroller Strides instructor and online ESL teacher to students in China. To date, motherhood is the best job she’s ever had. She loathes making dinner and vacuuming but encourages splashing during bathtime. She enjoys family camping trips in the RV, cheering for the Buffalo Bills and shopping on Amazon.