Working From Home – A Parent’s View

As I come to the end of week five of working from home, I reflect back to six weeks ago and realise nothing could have prepared me for what was going to happen. COVID-19 was in the news for a few weeks and I was pretty sure it was not going to hit us that badly. Just in February I was excitedly trying to book my tickets to Greece as part of my trip to the UK (which also is no longer happening). My risk-adverse husband kept saying maybe we should hold off. Thankfully we did not book the second part of our trip, as in a matter of days the situation sadly declined.

Whilst our business does not require us to be totally isolated in our homes, we made the decision to work remotely. For me, it was the right thing to do, to play our part in trying to control the spread of infection. After the initial excitement of not having to get up early, get dressed in work clothes, the reality that this was not going to feel novel and fun all the time sank in. Working from home and then taking on the additional responsibility of teaching my son, whilst working tirelessly on my business is a challenging balance. After some trial-and-error, there were a few things I found have helped me immensely.

Maintain Routine

I make sure the kids are awake by 7.30am every day. I have a structured day planned out for them with limited screen time. After all, this is what kids are used to at school, so I set the same expectation from the beginning.

Exercise

With the gyms closing, I dusted off some random gym equipment I had lying around and created a space in the garage. My friend encouraged me to join a 1000km walking challenge, which I unwilling agreed to, but am loving it as it keeps me accountable and ensures I get my walks in daily. It has massively improved my energy levels and I feel like I can clear my head. We make a point of taking the kids out twice a day, hail or shine, and daily bike rides (where possible).

Diet and Nutrition

I felt it is equally important to ensure I did not let myself go. I make lists before I go to the supermarket and stick to it! It is so easy to buy things and end up making unhealthy choices adding to the waist line!

Home Schooling

My husband and I are taking a week-on / week-off approach to support our son. It is not easy. We are not as patient as the wonderful teachers. We keep reminding ourselves to maintain a healthy perspective. I have a four-year-old daughter and resorted to making my son wear his uniform so she does not interrupt him!

Productivity

I have found this should be measured with my outcomes per day, not based on trying to cram everything in. With jugging the priorities of making lunches, homes schooling and ensuring our kids get enough fresh air, it is not always possible to do this in “normal working hours”. I have learnt not to be hard on myself and stick to a schedule that works. A number of people I know are now starting their working day earlier and / or working later, allowing for a couple of hours of interruption during the day to support their families. Whatever works! As long as I meet my deadlines and objectives, I am happy.

Set A Time To Switch Off

It can be really hard to do this as work and home are now interchangeable. Even though I am working flexibility, I feel the pressure more so. Everyone needs to switch off. Having time to unwind is extremely important mental health and well-being.

As hard as it is adjusting to this, we must remember someone else is doing it harder. Let us remember to be kind to ourselves and be grateful for what we have every time we start to get frustrated!

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