Talk about stress and anxiety when a working mom’s worlds collide. You work remotely and your kids don’t have school today, this week, or month, how are you going to still exceed expectations at work while attending to your children who are also at home? This is 100% possible, when they said moms can do it all, they were right! We are a force to be reckoned with and we can do ANYTHING!
When the pandemic hit, fortunately, I did not have to adjust to working remotely, I had already been doing this for over 6 years. The adjustment was working from home with a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old. Thankfully in my previous life, I worked at a daycare, so I put on my teacher hat and came up with a game plan. Every Sunday I would create a lesson plan for the kids and prep for a week’s worth of activities for them to do while I was working. The kids always had fun things to do, they were learning, were not flued to technology all day, and I was able to get all of my work done including numerous phone calls every day.
First, create a daily schedule that you will follow, and write down the schedule so your kids know what they are doing for the day. This is important, they are used to structure at school, and you want to mirror this. My kids are not morning people, so for the first couple hours of the day, I allowed them to watch their shows and eat breakfast. During this time, I would plan video meetings with my team or clients and makes sales calls. Late morning, we would have our school time followed by some free play. After lunch, we would have a fun activity to all do together, and to end the day I would set up about 4 centers for them to do. Let’s break it down.
I know, you are saying “I’m not a teacher, I don’t know how I am supposed to teach my kids, let alone where to get ideas for activities for them to do.” That’s OK! Initially, come up with a game plan on what subjects you want to focus on during an hour or so of “learning” for the day. If your kid is in preschool, come up with some fun counting and sorting games, draw some lines on a piece of paper for them to cut, have them trace letters, and use dotters for them to find letters in a word search game. You can also look online to grab age-appropriate worksheets, www.education.com is a great resource for all ages. For your older children, pick a book for them to read and look online for different activities for them to do after each chapter, you can also go to www.scholastic.com for science activities, and www.education.com for math, spelling, and phonics. While they are doing these activities, sit at the table with them and do your busy work for the day. Send your emails to prospects or clients, work on reports, etc… It is important to have all these materials prepared ahead of time and sorted by day, this will help your morning run smoothly and will eliminate fights.
Following your school time, let them relax and eat lunch. Use this time for client meetings or phone calls. They will be tired from learning and focused on vegging out and eating. This will give you about an hour or so of phone time. After they eat, it is time for your lunch break. During this time, plan some fun activities for them to do. We made slime and playdough, painted with pudding, had water balloon fights, played outside, had races with Lego cars we built, had pillowcase races, created mazes with cans to walk around while balancing an egg on a spoon, nerf gun wars, science experiments, built forts (then they watched movies in them), scavenger hunts, the ideas are endless! If you need help coming up with ideas, there are a ton of groups on Facebook and Pinterest to join and they have so many ideas for you. Once a week I would plan an excursion for us, typically this would mean blocking out 2 hours of my day to spend with them. Talk to your boss about logging in early those days so you can get your full 8 hours in.
After your activity time, it is now 1:30 or 2:00 in the afternoon. During this time, depending on how your workday looks, you can let them play outside while you answer the emails you missed while you were doing the activity with them, sometimes they will want to continue doing that activity without you, or they will want to watch a movie/play on their own, whatever they are wanting to do, let them use this as free time.
Once they are done with their free time, set up 4-6 stations or activities for them to do. This will help eliminate chaos in the house and will more importantly help keep your house in order. These activities can range from painting, Legos, brain flakes, cars, play restaurant, arts and crafts, bathing baby dolls, play dough, puzzles, etc…
Before you know it, your workday is over, and your kids have had a fun and entertaining day! Structuring your day and planning ahead, will help eliminate stress and anxiety, allow you to focus on your work, and most importantly keep everyone happy! This will take some time to work out all the kinks, but I promise you, you will not regret it! Plus, this will also give you a chance to be more hands-on with your kids during the day!
There is no right or wrong answer on how to juggle your career and children, but the above tips will help you feel more in control, and you can make adjustments along the way. As mothers and working women, we really do have the best of both worlds, and remember, there isn’t anything we can’t accomplish! You got this mamma!