Guest author: Emily Graham, MightyMoms.net
Emily is mother to two daughters, cares about their future, and supports the Having Kids approach. Neither she nor Having Kids received any compensation for this piece.
Having a baby or toddler as a coworker may sound pretty cute. If you’re a parent who is currently trying to perform this juggling act, though, you know just how stressful things can get. You may have even found yourself in situations where you felt overwhelmed, including the examples below. This is why we are giving you some practical tips for overcoming them, courtesy of Having Kids.
“My home is a mess!”
Chaos and toddlers seem to go hand-in-hand. The first thing you should do to tame the clutter and mess is to cut yourself some slack. If you’re caring for a younger child while working from home, you’re basically working overtime at two full-time jobs.
Now, if things have gotten out of control, you can also use some free tips to get your home organized, fast. When you have a few minutes, go around one room and pick up clutter. Also, try to spend a little time cleaning each day so your house stays fresh and doesn’t overwhelm you. Last but not least, open a window for some fresh air. Then, take a deep breath and relax after all of that hard work.
“I’m working in pajamas”
Look we get it — wearing your pajamas is convenient and seemingly smart when you’re chasing after a toddler in-between work and chores. You may feel comfortable working in the same clothes you wore to bed, but as it turns out, spending a few minutes on getting yourself ready for the day will actually help you be more productive. Essentially, you’re letting your brain know it’s time for work.
That isn’t to say that you should wear a three-piece suit and fancy heels to work from home. How would you ever keep up with a constantly exploring child in that getup? Instead, put together a few casual looks that can take you from Zoom meetings to zooming after kids. Need to shop for new clothes? Look for promo codes and coupons from stores like Belk to find functional and fashionable outfits for a lot less.
“I’m constantly interrupted!”
There are only two things that will help in this emergency situation: realistic expectations and boundaries. We’ll get to boundaries in just a moment, but first, let’s go over some ways you can create better schedules and routines for your family. You need to plan your work week ahead of time and talk your schedule over with your kids, if possible. If you have a partner or spouse, come up with expectations for how you will split parenting duties.
Next, enforce your schedule and routine with boundaries. That may look like working during naptime with toddlers and babies since you can’t very well explain boundaries to them. It could also include setting up your very own office space to create some physical separation.
“Sleep is non-existent for me.”
Not getting enough sleep is a common concern for parents of younger children. But you really do need quality sleep to thrive and avoid burnout. In fact, one trick you can use is to focus on quality rather than quantity. Johns Hopkins recommends trying to rest in cycles of two to four hours, which will hopefully coincide with your kids’ naptimes. Even if you can’t sleep, resting helps!
Another important tip for working parents is shutting off electronics before you try to fall asleep. This goes for your work phone and laptop, too, since the light from screens can make it more difficult for your eyes and brain to relax. If you have a habit of checking emails or social media while in bed, stopping now will help you get the quality sleep you need.
Working at home with a baby or young child in the mix shouldn’t make you feel burned out or overwhelmed. Having a plan and sticking to consistent routines can help you maximize your productivity. It’s also extremely important that you set boundaries to maintain some order.
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