In the beginning, working-from-home sounded like a dream come true to most parents. But when things finally settled in, most of us realized how challenging the whole situation is.
I am always in search of ways to improve my work-life as a hands-on parent. It’s been almost five years since I started this lifestyle. It has given countless rewards like the opportunity to witness my daughter’s every milestone. And the benefits to working-from-home are endless until today!
The situation drastically changed when it became crucial for everyone to stay at home as much as possible. Suddenly, we are stretched to fulfil different roles that were usually done by others. What was supposedly a dream work set-up is slowly turning into frustrations.
Apart from the apparent savings from childcare, play places, travels and so on, here’s how you can gradually navigate your way into this new reality.
1. Waking up early is not optional – it’s a must!
Believe it or not, ever since the quarantine took place, I began to notice how the sun shines differently every single morning. I would take my coffee in the balcony while listening to nothing but birds chirping from nearby trees. It’s my me-time before things become hectic for me.
Check out a time-lapse video of sunrise from our balcony!
Usually, I wake up an hour before my daughter does. It’s my time to plan and write content. Sometimes I’m able to squeeze in some home workouts! And if my daughter’s up for it, she would join me for a beginners level Pilates.
Apart from enjoying peaceful mornings, overworked parents can keep things on track even in these sluggish times.
2. Set the ground rules with your kids
Working-from-home was easy for the first few weeks for me. But when my kid began to realize the implications of being cooped up at home, things started to get a little chaotic. She would ask for playtime during my crucial work times. And it’s heartbreaking to see her turn glum because I refused her play requests. But if I do, I would resent myself for not accomplishing my workload on time.
Things became more manageable for us when we discussed the changes at home. I have this habit of talking to my four-year-old like I would with a friend, I’d say:
“Hey, Amore, Let’s set a better schedule for play so we both could have enough time to do other things. How about drawing your designs whenever you see me working on the computer? Or maybe you can browse your study apps while I’m cooking? When we’re both done, we can go to the garden and play! Sounds good, right?”
She would always say yes to do this with excitement. But of course, it requires some reminders here and there – be ready to fulfil your promise!
The How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk shares tips on how to help your children deal with things in their lives effectively.
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It’s just what we parents need to lay down the groundwork to help our kids cope with our current reality.
3. Have a flexible daily routine
Working-from-home could work well if you have a solid routine at home. But after months of being cooped up at home with my kid, I realized parents need some flexibility too. In most days, home routines are working but could quickly burn us out from limiting ways to decompress. To combat fatigue from over-planning my day, I make sure my schedule isn’t cast in stone. For instance, when I have a writer’s block, I pause for a while and catch up on my reading. Or If I feel that I’m slowly wearing out, I’d ask my kid for a quick garden trip near the lobby of our condo. We would bring things like her bike, Frisbee and kites instead of binge-watching.
Our compact mini-and-me workstation with a view at home
But the routine isn’t just for me, I have prepared a matching routine for my daughter too since kids her age are prohibited from visiting extremely crowded places. And I have been modifying this routine based on her ever-changing interests.
COMING SOON! Toddler and Preschooler Home Routine Ideas
4. Take breaks from the grind
Staying for long hours indoors can sometimes fry your brains, my suggestion is to take breaks mid-day or during the afternoon when your daughter is napping. Watch an inspirational video, listen to a podcast or maybe do nothing at all. Take this time to relax, nap or do absolutely nothing!
Feeling a little bit extra, try these workout ideas that I play on repeat. There’s little to no equipment needed to do this workout, but the fat-burning power is the same!
5. Try free online learning resources but also signup to premium subscriptions
I wrote a list of my favorite online learning resources for kids a few weeks ago. But this month I have discovered new apps and learning resources not just for my kid but for me too. Most of these online learning apps are generous enough to give us 30-day to 2 months of free access to their massive library of books and educational videos.
In July, I tried Shaw Academy. It’s an online education resource for those we like the audio virtual classroom setup. You can schedule classes depending on your availability or reschedule if you can’t make it. What I love about this app is that you can watch some educational videos on demand. And they also keep you on top of your online classes by sending you text reminders via Messenger and Inbox.
We also subscribed to Vooks, a read-along app for children. So far, my daughter has been enjoying the app and has a list of her favorite stories too. She liked it so much that she agreed to film a quick Vooks app-review, here.
Watch our Vooks App-Review!
App Preview: A look inside VOOKS, a read-along storytelling app
6. Save the house chores on specific times or until your EOD
Refrain yourself from getting distracted from the piles of dishes in the sink or from the over-stacked laundry basket. Schedule specific time-slots to handle those mini-house chores or wait until your next 15-minute break to sweep the strands of hair on the floor. It’s what I’ve been doing when I noticed how these chores are depleting my energy in the morning. It gives the feeling that I have overworked myself, making me less enthusiastic to accomplish my actual work.
Instead, I tend to put it off until after dinner or during the time where my energy is slowing down. Besides, it’s 100% better to wake up to a clean kitchen and living room!
7. Try not to overwork yourself
There are so many ways to keep parents busy at home but so little chances for relaxation. When my daughter was still an infant, I continued to earn money from home while she sleeps for hours. For a while, I thought I was productive, but I kept on getting sick. So, I had to change my work routine quickly and gave myself the extra attention. Sometimes I still stay up late to complete my backlogs, but I make sure I get plenty of rest afterwards without neglecting my primary duty.
I really hope this advice for parents during this quarantine gave you what you need to manage your Work-Life.
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6 thoughts on “A Guide to Working-from-Home for the Overworked Parents”
Setting ground rules and flexibility really hit home for me. It has been such a challenge to work at home with littles. Great tips for making things a little more doable.
WONDERFUL Post.thanks for share..more wait .. …
Thank you Sonny!
Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is great blog. A great read. I’ll definitely be back.