Parenting is already a full-time job, however, if you’re having to homeschool while working full time from home things can really get hectic and without the right balancing, you can find yourself drowning at both roles.
I’ve been working remotely since my oldest was born and since schools closed down in March I’ve been having to juggle working full time while also cooking, cleaning, and homeschooling more.
Always having to be “on” and multitasking is very draining at times, however, by implementing the tips below I’ve been able to successfully balance remote work and parenting full time.
I’m sharing my tips today in hopes to help out other parents who are struggling to maintain the balance.
It’s okay to have a flexible work and/or parenting schedule
Everyone is feeling the effects of COVID-19 in some form. As a parent that works remotely, you’re having to keep up with your work obligations with the added stress of making three meals a day, cleaning more since the kids are at home when they’re normally at school, and making sure that they stay on top of their school work.
While I do recommend trying to stay as close to your normal routine as possible, if it’s too draining, leave yourself some room to be more flexible.
For example, before all of this started I was working a strict 9 to 4 schedule, which allowed me to be fully engaged in work activities while the kids were at school. When schools closed down and the daily Zoom meetings started I started working from 5 am to 8 am and then taking a break to focus on household chores until the kid’s Zoom meetings. While they engaged in their conference call’s I’d tidy up and prepare for lunch. Then, I’d jump back into work until it was dinner time.
Now with school being 100% virtual in my area until next year, I’ve had to start being even more flexible as we prepare for our new normal school day routine.
For those working phone jobs and/or hourly remote jobs I totally understand that you can’t be that flexible with your work schedule. In this case, you’d need to be more flexible with your parenting schedule. Here are some tips I used to manage to work a remote phone job with kids at home.
Create “kid-friendly” zones and “kid-free” zones
During my workday, I occasionally have to make and receive calls. It’s nowhere near the number of calls I’d make working a remote customer support job, but I typically have to do 1-5 per day.
Whenever I do a business call, a quiet background is crucial, therefore, during the workday, I dominate the upstairs area and the kids are zoned to the downstairs area.
Plus, since education at home is something that we’ll be doing for the foreseeable future our learning center has been getting a lot of use. If your kids will be doing virtual learning this school year I’d highly recommend that you set one up as it’ll make your workday and their school day go much smoother.
Also, if your home office usually doesn’t get a ton of use now is the perfect time to spice it up to make it more enticing for you to want to work from. I personally recommend starting off with this Work at Home Vibes Kit to spice up your workspace.
Let your kids know when your working
It’s important to communicate with your children your work schedule – if they’re old enough.
I recommend setting expectations for when there will be breaks in your day. This lets them know when you can check in with them, when they can expect snacks, lunch, and even just a little of your time.
By doing this, you’ll limit interruptions and give your children something to look forward to.
For me personally, I like to do hourly check-ins just to make sure no one needs anything and to make sure everything is running smoothly.
Make time for self-care every day
Self-care is more important than ever now that many of our normal schedules have been turned upside down.
If you don’t make time for yourself every day you will quickly find yourself burned out.
Daily self-care could be as simple as:
- Playing a game on your phone.
- Reading your favorite book under a blanket such as Pedi Pocket.
- Having a spa night at home with a relax care kit from Jane Care INC.
See Also: 50 Self Care Ideas for Moms
Perform weekly mental health checks
Checking on your family’s mental health is more important than ever since our schedules have changed drastically.
From the boys having to do full school days online virtually to not being able to get out and do to much, it causes the best of us to start feeling trapped in our homes and in a routine that just doesn’t seem to provide any breathing room.
Therefore, before negative feelings or depression sets in it’s important to perform weekly mental health checks. It can be as simple as checking in with the kids each week to see how they feel about virtual learning and what can help them look forward to the new school week or just asking them how they are feeling about things in general.
Installing DIY cameras can be a great investment
One of the best investments that I made this year was purchasing some Ring cameras and a peephole cam.
As a work-at-home mom, it’s essential that during the school day I’m available to my clients. However, with virtual school, I also have to make sure the kids are staying on task and be available to help them when needed.
DIY cameras make it so I can watch them on the iPad and communicate with them in the learning center while successfully working from my desk. It eliminates a lot of running up and down the stairs and helps my workday and their school day run smoother.
The peephole cam also saves me some sanity as it prevents me from having to go to the door to deal with salespeople. In my old neighborhood, it was occasional, but since moving, it seems like multiple times per week someone is at the door trying to sell some type of service.
Meal plan on Sundays
Spending an hour or so meal planning each week will save you a ton of time throughout the week. Plus, it’ll save you money too.
Before meal planning, mealtime was always a headache. The majority of the time I’d forget to lay something out to defrost in the morning and then when it’s time for dinner, I’d have to order out. Other times, I’d plan out a meal in the morning only to find out when it’s time to make it that I’m missing a key ingredient.
Therefore, I’ve been meal planning for a year or so (give or take) and it allows me to keep my food bill low and not have to stress about what’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, as the list is already on the fridge.
Tip: I highly recommend when mealing planning that you order groceries online either for pickup or delivery to make sure you stay within your grocery budget and avoid impulse buying.
Have the kids help out with chores
Last, but certainly not least, have the kids help out with chores.
They can do tasks such as vacuum, putting away their laundry, sweeping the floors, loading the dishwasher, and more.
It takes teamwork to make the house run smoothly and with everyone being at home a lot more you’ll drive yourself crazy if you try to handle all of the cleaning on your own if you have kids or pets.
If you’re skeptical about having your kids use cleaning supplies when they’re cleaning their bathroom or learning center a good brand to check out is Good Green Cleaner. They make it so you don’t have to choose between a healthy home or a clean home – you can have both!
All of their cleaners are eco friendly and only contain renewable resources, which means they pose no health risks for your children or pets.
Another cleaning tip, I’d like to note that works well for me is not allowing anyone to wear shoes in the house. Once in the mudroom, shoes come off and are wiped with Sneaker Wipes before putting them on the shoe rack.
This minimizes how often the carpet has to be cleaned, keeps the floors cleaner overall, and Sneaker Wipes makes it so a lot of the germs from shoes are eliminated in general.
Tip: Utilizing a chore chart or setting a cleaning schedule each week when meal planning can help keep the house tidier and save you sanity from just doing deep cleaning every weekend all at once.
You can successfully balance remote work and parenting full time
Balancing working remotely while parenting full time isn’t going to be one of the easiest things that you’ll do, especially if your kids are doing virtual learning right now for the foreseeable future. However, by implementing these tips you’ll find that you can pull it off successfully without sacrificing your work, their education, your relationship, or sanity.
What are your best tips for balancing remote work and parenting full time?