As a working mum, juggling the demands of work and home can be a challenge, especially now with the rise of remote work and also the need to care for children. While working from home may seem like a dream come true for many, there are some not-so-ideal realities that parents must face, particularly when it comes to balancing work and childcare.
This can lead to difficulty concentrating, the need to constantly switch between work and caring for children a blurring of the lines between work and personal time. On these less-than-glamorous days, it can be easy to feel like you haven’t accomplished anything and have fallen short as a parent. However, it is possible to juggle work and childcare successfully with some adjustments to your expectations and work style. With the right tools and strategies, it is possible to work from home effectively while also being present for your kids.
Check out our tips and advice for managing the unique challenges of being a working mum while WFH. From working in shorter burst and creating a dedicated workspace for you and your shadow, to finding a routine that works for you and your family, we’ve got you covered. So, take a deep breath, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s get started on figuring out how to make this new way of working work for you!
Set up a dedicated workspace for yourself and your little one
As parents work from home with their children, older kids are generally more understanding and may not interrupt them during work hours. However, younger kids often seek their parents’ constant presence and attention, making it challenging to focus on work. A possible solution is to create a dedicated workspace or activity station for your children within your office. Equip it with their own set of office supplies and engage them with fun activities such as games, art and craft supplies, or electronic gadgets. This may not hold their attention for extended periods, but it can certainly provide some uninterrupted work time for parents.
Let your kids know when you’re working and when you’re available to play
We know it can be a challenge to balance work and childcare, especially if your kids are used to constant attention. Start to think about creative activities that will encourage deeper and more meaningful play. If your children aren’t used to playing independently, you can spark their imagination by turning it into a game that promotes creativity and independence, such as solving a puzzle or getting creative with art.
Depending on their age, one great way to make sure you’re still prioritising quality time with your family is to let your kids know when you’re going to have some moments of focus where you can’t be disturbed and when it’s a good time for questions/homework help as so on. This way, your little ones understand that, though you might not always be available right this minute, there are set times that you’re determined to give them your full attention. It helps create structure and stability in their lives while also reminding them how important they are.
Set up some ground rules for noise levels and interruptions whilst the kids are at home
When WFH, it can be challenging to maintain focus with the various distractions around us. To combat this, a helpful strategy is to block out the noise. Make sure you invest in a headset with noise cancelling or listen to music. However, this approach is only practical if you are not looking after young children or if your children are older and require less supervision.
Work in shorter bursts
Parents of babies and toddlers have a harder time of it than most, since you can’t leave them alone. If you’re responsible for childcare, your best option may be to work in short bursts when you’re able to, such as when the children are sleeping. But if you’re lucky to be able to focus on work while your partner helps with childcare at home, design your schedule so you can come out of your office and help every so often, rather than locking yourself in all day.
Get creative with childcare – ask a neighbour or family member to help out
Many of us could use an extra hand with childcare, but to get creative with it? That takes some serious forethought. When times are tough, it’s always great to look inward to your own community. Is there a neighbour or family member who can lend help? Chances are they’d be thrilled to pitch in and help you out! Not only can this give you some respite during challenging times, it can also help bring your family closer together as everyone works together for the cause of wanting to make little Jimmy’s life just a little bit easier. So don’t hesitate; next time you need someone to babysit, think about reaching out to your trusted circle – you may find yourself pleasantly surprised at how much support you receive from your own neighbourhood!
And finally, don’t forget to take care of yourself! Working from home can be stressful, so make sure to schedule in some down time for yourself too.
Working from home can feel like you’re living in a never-ending cycle of zoom meetings and emails or using Cashforcarhamilton.nz, so it’s important to make sure you have some down time for yourself during the week. Taking time off is essential to our mental and emotional wellbeing, so don’t forget to give yourself permission to do some activities that make you happy! Whether it’s working out, learning a new skill or even just taking a relaxing bath – taking care of yourself is just as necessary as everything else on your to-do list. Don’t forget to prioritise it!
All in all, working from home doesn’t have to be a nightmare. A little bit of preparation and self-care can make all the difference. As long as you’re available to your kids when they need you, and ready to step away to work when it’s time, you’ll find a happy balance. And what’s more, your kids will benefit enormously from being able to spend more quality time with you! So don’t panic – just carve out some time for yourself, for your family, and for work, and before you know it everything will start running at maximum efficiency! Happy home working!