Moms Working From Home During COVID-19
The CoronaVirus, commonly called COVID-19, has further changed the way business is getting done. Most jobs are offering a work from home option to facilitate social distancing and mandatory quarantines. Since schools and most daycare centers are still closed as well, parents are now having to add full-time daycare and homeschool to their plates.
The work-life balance has now become that much more challenging because while working from home is more convenient, having to keep the children entertained and educated, in addition to still functioning for work-related assignments, is proving a little tricky.
The question that is weighing on everyone’s mind is when do we go back to what we used to perceive as normal? In all honesty, as much as it is being addressed in a phased approach, there is no telling when this virus will permit perceived normalcy anytime soon.
So, what can parents do to ensure their work gets done, their children get attention and their activities get done and still have downtime as a family?
Here are a few tips for maintaining normalcy in these times of uncertainty.
Have a Routine/Maintain a schedule
What was your schedule before the mandatory social distancing? That schedule should be
maintained as closely as possible. If you run your own business, there is more flexibility. Most employers understand how the dynamic has changed and is a little more flexible as well.
Firstly, try to set time for every activity you hope to accomplish that day. So, at the beginning of the day, you know what your office hours nap time (if the children cooperate) quiet time (if you have older children that refuse to nap) reading time, homework time movie/screen time if all else fails, outdoor time, mealtimes and bedtime will be.
Many parents, including me, used to be super strict with the amount of time our children are spending on devices but hey if an important client is calling for a meeting at a 10 am, you will do whatever is necessary to get that job done.
Just remember, there will be days when all the time slots will get blurred and that is ok too. Just try to stay on track as much as possible.
Try to Create a Work Environment
Try to carve out some office space where you can function efficiently, even if it means the kitchen table. This will allow you to focus on your time allotted for office hours and not be distracted by the toys that may be strewn on the floor or the hamper of clothes to be folded.
Alternately, you can leave that space you created to do office work and unplug when your office hours are over. Many parents have complained about missing leaving the physical office to return to their homes but now since the office is home, there is no separation.
Entertainment for Children
There are several resources available to keep your children entertained while you are at work.
Messenger Kids and Google Hangouts are very popular to facilitate virtual playdates. The beauty of Messenger Kids is the parental controls that are available. Virtual playdates offer parents the ability to get some work done while checking emails or jumping on a conference call, while the children are occupied.
For younger children, YouTube kids offer a variety of programs, such as Cocomelon that are great ways to keep them entertained. In addition, have a variety of toys to keep them occupied while you get some work down.
With the introduction of pods and social circles, more moms are feeling a little more inclined to organize a sitter to visit the home to assist if they get too overwhelmed.
If both partners are working inside the home then they can create shifts, if possible, that way they can share in the responsibility of the children, meal, playtime and so on.
The main thing to remember is this is new for all of us, we are still trying to figure out how to make it all work. Regardless of our schedules, situations will change daily. We should try our best to set healthy boundaries for our families, that way they know when we are on an important call and cannot be disturbed. When my husband goes to the basement, my 3-year old twins know immediately, daddy is on a business call and they should be quiet. There are still moments when they run behind him screaming “I want my daddy.” This is a learning curve for all of us and things are bound to veer a little off track at times, the main thing is to stay healthy.