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Note from Lisa: I’ve got another incredible guest post for you today from Timothy Odutolu! In it, you’ll find 10 valuable survival tips for work at home parents. If you’re struggling to get it all done, definitely give it a read. There’s some great advice here!
Take it away Timothy…
From the moment my daughter left school and started the holidays, it was a complete blur. The summer camp, my work, trips, deadlines, proposals, presentations and pool parties.
It all happened so quickly that I didn’t realize classes were already starting again. When I woke up to smell the coffee, I panicked.
Where did the time go?
I realized that I had no idea what day classes began and I had to ask another parent.
Where do I begin? I have to register my daughter for extracurricular activities, get a new backpack, a lunchbox, new clothes and also manage my work, meetings, trips, and various job expectations.
As working parents, I think we sometimes believe there is no easy way to do all this, keep your head clear and concentrate on tasks.
But I have found 10 great hacks for work at home parents to survive the rush periods around school starting back up, and balance work and life with all their chores and family obligations.
10 Practical Tips for Work at Home Parents
If you’re ready to start saving your sanity, definitely give these tips a try.
Save yourself the hustle and bustle of shopping. It is not necessary to load everyone up in the car in the weather and go to the supermarket.
Modern technology allows us to order backpacks, kids’ toys, clothes, and supplies online.
Think about the time, money, and energy you will save by sitting on your couch and entering your order on the laptop or smartphone.
This also applies to grocery purchases, which is increasingly common.
Another positive aspect of electronic commerce is that it is often less expensive to buy online.
Resources for Online Ordering:
2. Divide the Chores
Today there are still work-at-home parents who are trying to juggle everything themselves.
They bathe the kids, feed them, put them to sleep, do the laundry, cook, and take care of the rest of the house and family.
This leads to burnout and a slew of symptoms including agitation, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, tense muscles, irritability, and sleeping disorders.
So don’t feel obligated to do everything yourself.
Involve your partner and other children (if you have some more) in organizing the home. Tell them that it takes team effort to keep the house clean and pleasant to live in, and to keep everyone well-fed, clean and happy.
Resources to Help You Share the Chores
3. Reward Your Children for Good Behavior
When your child behaves well while you’re working, reward him or her. The best reward is your attention and affection. Hugs and compliments are great. Let them know that it is very important for you to be able to work.
Say something like, “Because you behaved so well, Dad finished the job and now I’ll be able to play with you.”
Even children who do not speak can understand the emotions in words, facial expressions, and body language.
Note from Lisa: Make sure you get your kids on board with your business, so they know why you’re spending so much time working. They really do understand so much more than we usually give them credit for!
4. Reward Yourself
It doesn’t matter if your achievement is small or big, celebrate it.
This can be simple rewards such as sipping a cup of tea/coffee and reading a book (having a quiet moment to yourself) or perhaps an entire day to do anything you enjoy.
Take the time to plan out what you need to do, and how you’ll celebrate when it’s done. This will keep you motivated to keep working.
5. Observe and Respect Your Biorhythm
When I talk about biorhythm, I mean the functioning of your body and how it reacts to the different situations of everyday life.
For instance, women are subjected to a roller coaster of hormones that oscillate so much during the month. Therefore, it is impossible for them to be the same person every day.
Tiredness, crying, mood swings, anxiety, irritation, sadness, and enthusiasm are often the result of hormonal ups and downs.
So, observe your body system. Respect the signals it sends. If necessary, postpone projects, important meetings, and decisions to accommodate your body. Then make use of your best days to catch up and get ahead.
6. Have a Place to Work
Choose the part of the house that suits you the most as a professional. This place should be as quiet as possible. Avoid working in bed or on the couch, for example.
Remember that your home office should inspire you to work and not rest.
You can also take with you your laptop computer, notepads and other working materials, and have some working hours away from home, in the nearest cafe, or hotel. This is especially helpful if a time comes when you feel the need to escape from your monotonous or distractive working environment.
Resources to help you establish a place to work:
7. Keep Your Home Organized
An organized home will require less time to maintain. A messy home will require constant work that will suck up your energy and augment stress.
So don’t even think about starting a home job or business until your home is organized. Prepare a plan for daily, monthly, seasonal and even annual tasks and try to do accomplish them. Remember, routine will be the greatest ally in your work.
Resources to help you stay organized:
8. Work While the Kids Are Asleep
This may be the biggest challenge of all: Working at home and having a small child who needs care and attention.
For parents of babies, the best strategy is to work while the baby is asleep. To be productive, your work needs to be well-scheduled. Hence, in those sleep periods, you’ll have everything ready, sit and work while your baby sleeps.
For those with older children who need your attention, you can schedule some activities for the times you need to work. These can be some drawings, games, puzzles, reading activities or school assignments. Children need encouragement as much as their parent’s attention. They feel important when a “task” is given to them.
Resources to help you work from home with kids:
9. Stay Connected with Other Working Parents
I have many wonderful friends who are stay-at-home parents. They tend to keep me rooted and I trust them for my sanity.
Working parents can also be very supportive because they are very likely to experience similar emotions and situations.
For general ideas about complaints, coping and time management, they will be happy to listen to you and also offer you advice for balancing it all. The positive side of this is that you solidify strong relationships with other parents who will be by your side when you need help.
Resources to Help You Connect with Other Working Parents
10. Free Yourself from Guilt
I think the hardest thing about being a working parent during school sessions is missing out on school events. Missing them can make you feel disconnected from your kids and guilt can take over you.
This may be even harder to take, having missed the opportunity to meet other parents and see who your kids’ classmates are at these events. You begin to feel like a forlorn stranger because you are the parent who is not involved.
Do not give up or stick to an impossible standard. Find the way you can organize your work, and perhaps attend some events. But don’t feel bad if you can’t attend every one of those that come your way.
Instead, find some grandparents, uncles, best friends, or siblings who can replace you if you are not there.
It is okay to let some things go, especially during the time the kids are about to get back to school.
You will have so much on your plate that you cannot let these things affect you. Not having everything completed or accomplished in the house is fine.
You will not be fined for prioritizing some tasks and letting some things in the home get pushed aside for a time. These things will wait.
Resources to Help You Ditch the Guilt
Working at home is having to combine parenthood and work. For young work-at-home parents especially, this juggling can feel challenging at times.
However, do not forget that life is cyclical and the difficulties will decrease every time you develop skills and come through each challenge.
Remember that your kids are developing day by day, and believe me, this can be very fast.
We blink and they are talking. We blink again and they start eating alone, dressing, and going to school alone. And in the next twinkle of an eye, they have grown up!
So enjoy even the hard and painful times. You will miss every bit of it. While looking to survive as a work-at-home parent, just don’t give up on your dreams for your kids. They are the reason why you’re keeping that job. Definitely, they are part of the dream too.
Note from Lisa: If you’d like more help balancing it all as a work at home parent, check out my course, Balancing Diapers and Deadlines!