Note from the Editor:
We all know the story – in 2020 many of us found our lives turned totally upside down when COVID-19 rocked the world in the most stressful of ways. Many of us saw our home transform from a place to sleep, into a place where we work, play, dine, workout and more. On top of working from home, many people also found themselves working a second job as their children’s teacher. As the haze from COVID begins to dissipate, there are many of us who may choose to embrace remote life and continue working from home. Today on the site, editor of Parenting Disasters, Janice Russell, is helping parents decide whether or not a remote career is for them and sharing insights on how parents can balance work, life and parenting responsibilities while working from home.
Working, Schooling and Raising A Young Family All At Once
Having children isn’t easy. Working isn’t easy. Having kids and working from home — well, that’s double the challenge. However, it doesn’t always have to be. Thankfully, there are many ways that you can successfully parent and achieve career success while working from home. But first thing’s first, ask yourself —
Do You Want To Work From Home?
For those who have the privilege to ask themselves this question, do so knowing that it deserves lots of care and thought. It’s true, working from home has many advantages. But it also comes with challenges. It’s wonderful being able to be there when your children need you. It’s also tiring when you’re expected to be in parent mode the moment your children demand attention. If you know your children will also be home with you while you work (rather than at daycare or at school), take a moment to consider what this really means and ask yourself if this is a situation you’re well suited for.
Another plus to remote work is that it is typically flexible — meaning, you can handle your professional responsibilities at nap time, before your children wake or after they go to bed. When considering working from home full-time, be sure to analyze how flexible your work and schedule really are. Would being unavailable for a few minutes to put your baby down to nap (or much longer if said nap isn’t happening) be a problem with your employer? If so, then remote work may not be for you. Unless, of course, you have daycare of nanny options lined up to aid you in your parenting responsibilities.
The decision to work from home is one that only you can make. Be sure not to rush into it. There are a lot of cards on the table that need to be considered. If you are interested in working from home, you may be wondering —
How Do I Qualify For A Remote Career?
There are some obvious jobs that cannot be preformed from home. Plumber, chef and preschool teacher are a few that come to mind. Fortunately, there are thousands of others that can be done remotely. If you don’t already have a degree in a field like marketing, human resources or administration, plan to look for a business degree that you can work on from home while the kids are small. You’ll learn leadership and other valuable skills that will make you a prime candidate for low-supervision positions. If you’ve ever worked in an office role, make sure your resume reflects this experience, as many office jobs can easily be moved into a home office.
Remote Work Survival Tips
If you know you want to work from home and have the opportunity to do so, be sure to get your survival plan into place. Here are a few suggestions to help you make the most of the experience:
Keep a Consistent Routine
First and foremost, make sure that you have a consistent morning routine. This might include waking up a couple of hours before the kids so that you can watch the news, have your coffee and organize your work into manageable chunks for the day. Seizing the day early will help you feel better prepared for the hours ahead.
Plan Activities for When You’re Busy
When the kids become somewhat independent, the Power to Fly blog suggests making sure that you have a novel activity to keep their attention while you handle business. Just be mindful about relying heavily on technology to keep the kids entertained. Books and crafts also make for wonderful attention-grabbers.
Create a Home Office
A designated workspace will help you separate work from home life, and also help you maintain productivity. Home Designing illustrates that home offices can be unique and personalized, but your primary goal should always be to create a space that is efficient and, ideally, uncluttered. If possible, try and set up your home office in a room that is separate from main living areas, such as the kitchen or living room. If you don’t spend a lot of time talking on the phone for work, you can also consider setting up a small play area for your little ones in your home office.
Schedule Time for Yourself
Perhaps most importantly, your work-at-home survival toolkit should include time for yourself. As a working parent, it is already extremely difficult to carve out time for solitude and silence. But having time away from your work and your family will help you recharge and be a better parent, employee or business owner. Plan to trade off childcare duties with your partner, babysitter or another family member for at least a few hours each week. You can use this time to meditate, take yourself to lunch, or simply enjoy the peace and quiet.
Remote work has become more popular than ever for good reason. It’s flexible and saying goodbye to a daily is liberating. But, as many people learned in 2020 (especially parents), working from home also comes with its own unique set of challenges. Wherever your path leads you – whether it be to the office or home office – take each day as it comes and have faith that you’re doing what is best for you and your family. Raising a young family can be stressful and tiring, but know that soon, your little ones will fly the coop straight to kindergarten and you’ll suddenly find yourself with 35 hours (or more!) each week that you can dedicate to your professional pursuits.
Janice Russell believes the only way to survive parenthood is to find the humor in it. She created Parenting Disasters so that parents would have a go-to resource whenever they needed a laugh, but also to show parents they aren’t alone. She wants every frazzled parent out there to remember that for every kid stuck in a toilet, there’s another one out there somewhere who’s just graced their parents’ walls with some Sharpie artwork.
Image source: Pexels / Ekaterina Bolovstova