Guest Post from Janice Russell at Parenting Disasters
Working from home while caring for babies and young children essentially means you have two concurrent full-time jobs in which your boss, clients and kids are all vying for your attention. Juggling work and family in this manner requires a delicate balancing act, one that ideally includes a blend of time management, teamwork, and time set aside for self-care.
Create A Work-Life Balance
Many employers are sympathetic to the challenges work-from-home parents face, and some are open to staggered, compressed and project-based work schedules. If they aren’t, it’s a good time to bring the suggestion to your boss or human resources representative. For example, you might work a few early morning or late evening hours, while having more family time in the middle of the day. Having the OK for an alternative schedule allows you to focus on work when your concentration is at its peak, as well as tend to home matters as necessary. Staying in regular touch with your manager and colleagues will help ensure you're all on the same page in terms of productivity expectations and availability.
Develop Time Management Skills
Time management skills are essential when you're working and parenting at the same time. Utilize detailed “to do” lists, set calendar and appointment reminders, and prioritise tasks according to importance and deadline. Build parenting-related needs into that timeline to ensure you're giving appropriate time to each of your “jobs” as necessary. For example, if you have a baby that has to be put down for a mid-afternoon naptime, put that time on your calendar just as you would a Zoom call with your supervisor. Don’t chastise yourself if everything doesn’t go perfectly according to schedule – clients can be put on hold but babies can’t.
Ask For Support
If you have a spouse or family member living with you, coordinate schedules where possible to ensure no single person is shouldering 100 percent of the parenting responsibilities. This might mean one person has uninterrupted working hours for the first part of the day, the other for the second half. Alternatively, according to Entrepreneur, you could create daily schedules based on individual work needs for the day. If you can safely employ outside help for periods of the day to allow you to focus on work, do so. Schedule your children to the degree possible in terms of having regular wake and sleep times, meals, play and individual one-on-one attention. While you might not always be able to stick to the schedule, having a general timeline for home and work can be beneficial.
Make Time For Self-Care
When you're a new mom, chances are your body is still recovering, and you might find yourself struggling to dress appropriately for both work and childcare duties. You can still be comfortable yet stylish with yoga pants or leggings and a flowy tunic. If your job requires occasional facetime in the form of virtual meetings with colleagues or clients, keep a nice dress shirt or sweater at the ready that you can quickly change into. While no one expects a working-from-home mom to be dressed to the nines every day, keep in mind that finding comfortable, well-fitting clothes that make you feel good can help boost your self-esteem.
Making some changes to your home can also be a form of self-care. Decluttering, letting in more natural light, and focusing on feng shui can not only help you feel calmer, these tasks can also result in more positive relationships with other household members.
Managing a young family while working remotely from home can be a challenging situation. Give yourself permission to take breaks as needed, stay in touch with your manager about productivity and workplace expectations, and remember to set aside time to recharge yourself. According to Mindful, this might mean a bath, meditation time or even a quick walk around the block. Carving out time just for you can help ensure your health and mental well-being.