So, you decided to be a work-from-home parent. Working from home means no more daily commute, saving on childcare, but there’s a dark side to it that no one talks about; It can be a lot more stressful than it looks.
Without preparation or structure, you will be thrown off by constant interruptions and run around like a headless chicken. Here is where you draw the line between being a work-at-home parent and a stay-at-home parent.
Set Up Your Workspace
Have a designated kid-free room or area solely dedicated to your job. In your work area, you should not have any toys or chores insight to avoid any distractions.
Otherwise, you will find yourself thinking about house chores, and before you know it, you will be doing dishes during a conference call. Out of sight, out of mind!
You can also make a small home gym. Workout can help you with stress relief.
Keep Your Children Busy
If your children are at home with you, make sure they have ample things to do to keep from interrupting you. Depending on their age, it may be a challenge to have them understand boundaries. With toddlers, it helps to spend a few hours of quality time in advance and to have exciting new toys to capture their attention.
Put your children on a schedule while you work by setting up playdates or movie times. You can also give them an area and project of their own, so they feel like they are “working” as their parent does.
Be Your Boss, Literally
Discipline yourself the same way a boss would keep you in line. Put yourself in the working mindset by getting out of your pajamas or house clothes and into something business casual or similar. Getting yourself in the zone can be as little as taking a shower and freshening up as if you were going to the office.
We specifically prefer working from home for the flexibility, but that same flexibility may work against us. Have a set amount of hours you work per day, and find ways to work smarter – not harder. For example, schedule calls according to when your child takes naps.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
Get additional support where you need it the most. Getting extra helping hands does not make you less of a competent parent. Seek assistance if you know it will maximize your productivity. Carrying all the duties by yourself will only result in burnout and disaster.
Working from home does not mean you have to exempt yourself from childcare. You would not file your company’s taxes without a TaxPage for help, so why wouldn’t you do the same for your work-from-home life? Hire a babysitter for a couple of hours or have your spouse take over for a bit – you will thank yourself later.
Balancing Your Parent and Business Roles
The truth is, you will need to train yourself (and your child) on boundaries and learn the pacing of your new work life. Only you know how your household and career work, so adjust according to what works best for you.
When you work outside of your home, you have the advantage of focusing only on work. But at least we can get away with working in our pajamas once in a while.