As a working parent keeping a happy and balanced family was already a challenge under normal circumstances, however, with the covid and extended lockdown and now adding in the challenges of the recent riots in Durban and Gauteng – creating a productive workspace at home has become a major challenge for many.
As working moms, one truth has become more clear than others, you cannot pour from an empty cup. In addition to being moms and Boss Ladies, we now also stand in as caregivers, teachers, cooks, housekeepers and emotional barometers in our households weather we like it or not, as women we often dictate the rhythm and happiness levels in our families. It is, therefore critical, now more than ever before, that we prioritise our self-care, reach out for help and re-reprioritise what truly matters.
Yes and yes – when working from home structured routine is a must. Children need security and in these highly anxious uncertain times, setting up family routine creates a safe space in your home as well as helps you navigate your daily responsibilities. Wherever and as much as it is possible involve the kids in creating daily /weekly charts and rosters, weaving in chores and responsibilities in a fun way that makes them feel grown up and valued as members of the household.
Routine also makes it that much easier for someone else to step in and assist with what needs to be done. Being organised with a daily program around food/meals and activities also makes these tasks that much easier to delegate to your spouse, housekeeper , au pair or elder child.
Involve everyone, that way you will get help from even the youngest members of your household. Do not be afraid to delegate. Set up clear guidelines and also learn to manage your expectations. It’s time to leave your inner perfectionist outside. Recognize and acknowledge efforts made by your household to assist you.
- Work hard – Play hard
Commit to scheduled fun play family time in return for freedom to carve out undisturbed working time. As long as kids know they will get your undivided attention at a specific time during the day they will usually cooperate and give you the space and time you need to work.
Discuss you daily work obligations, need for quiet time due to online meetings or keeping disturbances to a minimum because of deadlines.
Do not renegotiate on these trade-offs. Keep your promises. Take off your work hat and step into FunTimeZone 100% committed to play and engage. Balance out physical activity and creative creativity. Play outside, dance, rough and tumble, chase bubbles vs story time and arts and crafts and construction. Incorporate chores into fun activities such as setting up a table for family meals, prepping veggies for salads, baking, washing dishes, sorting or hanging laundry or feeding and cleaning pets.
This is also great opportunity to pass on skills and passions – helping dad fix or wash the car, learn coding or how to play chess, sawing a stuffed toy or learning how to make chocolate chip cookies. Always aim to make happy childhood memories at any opportunity.
These moments go a long way to balance the “moms guilt” we so often burdened with as we are usually immersed in our day to day work lives.
- Create a designated work space
Clearly demarcating workspace area helps you get focussed and productive, as well as, indicates to your family that you are not available now. Take care of all the important aspects such as set up – plug points, desk space, storage, filing, lighting, seating, noise.
As much as possible remove clutter and distractions – such as dishes and laundry and commit to working defined chunks undisturbed so that your family learns to respect your time “at work”.
Create a quiet time and space each day either early morning or late evening to just allow yourself room to breathe, check in on your own emotions, mediate, journal and plan the day ahead.
Take time to acknowledge and celebrate even the smallest wins and don’t dwell too much on what did not go well. Spend some time each day in gratitude, focusing your mind on the blessing that you have, rather than sweating the small stuff.
- Role Model of great habits
Be your family’s role mode of great habits. Eating well, drinking water, getting some kind of exercise, daily dose of fresh air, getting enough sleep and managing your screen time and news consumption.
Allow space for everyone to be able to talk freely about their feelings and emotions. Always validate feeling expressed by children or spouse. Meal times are an excellent opportunity for family to gather around the table and chat about what is on everyone’s mind.
Most importantly, be gentle with yourself and those around you. This is not the times to focus on perfection but rather on progress. Good Luck . You Got This!