Mamas all over the world suddenly needed to adjust to 24/7 motherhood. No school, no mommy break! Working moms now need to take care of kids while working from home, and it has been a tough transition for most. Here are 5 work from home tips that may keep you from going cray-cray!
Hi mamas! Wherever in the world you are, I hope you and your family are all doing well, healthy and safe at this time.
We have had our lives changed dramatically over the last few months with COVID-19. Who would have ever imagined we’d find ourselves in a situation like this, where everyone in the world is forced to stay at home to protect themselves from a tiny virus? We’re truly living in strange times.
I was talking to a mommy friend early this week, and she was sharing with me that her company is considering to make their work from home last longer than she thought. She doesn’t know how she’s going to handle it!
“Sure, it’s been nice for a while to be working with the kids at home. However, I have been really struggling with juggling both. Any work from home tips for me?” she asked.
I can definitely relate to this dilemma. I’m a work from home newbie myself. Yet over the past couple of weeks, I’ve learned to adjust to this new normal and here’s a quick list of 5 tips I’d like to share with you. I hope this helps!
Work from Home Tips For Moms
1. Set boundaries.
I have a 6-year-old daughter, and she loves being around mommy. When I first started working from home, I swear I could hear the word, “Mommy mommy mommy mommy” over a thousand times. I’ve always wanted to work from home, but I wasn’t prepared for the extra clinginess from my daughter.
I learned to set boundaries so she understands that mommy is at home, but she is working from home. I would dress up in the morning and go to my job at 830am in front of the laptop. While she’s eating breakfast, she knows that I have already started my day.
Since I don’t have a separate room to work, I mostly work in the dining room. Sometimes she would ask for a hug in between. I give myself small breaks so I can check on her and help her with her school work if needed.
When I have work calls, I go to the bedroom to take it. I make her visually see I’m talking to people so she knows not to disturb me. Luckily, she has her own Zoom calls too so she knows how it feels to need some peace and quiet in the background.
2. Create a schedule and try your best to stick to it.
I block my time from 8:30am to 5:00pm as my work time. This way, I know I should focus on my job. It’s just like going to work, but I’m in a different environment. My daughter also has school from home too. In the beginning, there really was no schedule for her. She would often take breaks to play games and do crafts.
Yet I noticed that the breaks became random and more frequent. She would gravitate towards playing instead of doing school work. I then changed her mindset by creating a school block time for her too. When it’s 9:00am to 3:00pm, she has to go to school. During this time, she needs to focus on learning activities.
Of course, it’s not perfect when you’re dealing with a child. I often had to deal with more dramatic moments than the rest of our household. When it’s me, it seems she knows she has more negotiating power! So, I am a bit lenient with her schedule and how she does things. I give her 15-minute breaks to play a bit before she goes back to school. It works for the most part! Her ask for games has lessened when she knows it’s school time.
3. Ask for support from members of your household.
For important meetings, let your household know what time they are and work with them so that kids won’t disturb you. Take your calls in a room and close the door. Ask your husband or other family members to play with the kids, help them with school work, and have them make sure your kids don’t barge in the room.
4. Gamify it!
I recently learned in the Netflix show Brainchild that humans are more motivated when you make a goal more fun by turning it into a game. Kids respond to this even better than adults!
I introduced this system of working towards a goal by making my daughter earn points for every chore she does. She wanted to buy the Switch game Animal Crossing. I know I would eventually buy it for her anyway, but I thought, “Why not teach her the value of hard work at the same time?”
I told her that she can get points on each house chore she does. The more difficult the chore is, the higher the points. Since then, she has been more motivated to help around the house because she really wants the prize she’s aiming for.
She would even ask me at times, “Mom, what chore can I do next?” or she will tell me, “I don’t know why I love doing chores.” What a treat! This has helped us put more activities into her day so I can focus more on my work.
5. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Last on my work from home tips, make sure to forgive yourself on days when it’s not just working out. There are days when I feel overwhelmed — I have so many things to do at work, my daughter’s not very cooperative, and chores are piling up. On these days, I remind myself that it’s just one of those not-so-good days and they happen from time to time.
Sometimes when it gets challenging, I relax my rules around screen time, for example. I give her an extra 30 minutes or an hour of TV time just so I can finish something or do my cooking. Remind yourself that you’re already doing a good job!
It’s not easy to juggle work and kids on top of trying to protect your family from COVID-19. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and just appreciate each little good thing that happened throughout the day. It’s the power of gratefulness that helps drive out stress when things aren’t going as well as we would like them to.
If you need to, talk to other mamas who can relate to your situation. Share these work from home tips with each other! That’s how we grow as moms. It takes a community.
If you don’t have mama friends to talk to, join Facebook groups for moms like Go Mommy Philippines. You’ll find more tips and tricks have fellow moms who are going through the same situation as you!