ue to the current social distancing guidelines, we’re all at home, remotely working and trying desperately to juggle various aspects of our lives in order to live harmoniously and productively. No easy feat! Whilst some people will be seasoned veterans with working from home and have everything perfectly setup in their houses to organise themselves and achieve great things professionally...there will be others finding this all a monumental challenge even almost a year into this pandemic.
And... if you’re a working parent with young children, well, the challenge just got a whole deal more difficult!!
So, how do you cope with this juggling act? Balancing the requirements of your job alongside caring for your children at home? Don’t worry, we have a few suggestions...
Plan your day
We get it, kids are unpredictable and even the best laid plans are subject to change at any given time. (Trust us, we’ve all been there!) But it’s always a good idea to try your best to devise some sort of loose structure for your day/week ahead. Chat about it with colleagues and your household and come up with something realistic that allows you to allocate manageable chunks of work time alongside making meals, setting up activities, nap times etc. Children at any age benefit from routine, so this can only help them too, plus it means you can add some clarity and focus into your schedule, by creating a “this-is-when-I-am-in-work-mode” and “this-is-when-I-am-in-parent-mode” seamless gear change. But these plans should be fluid at all times – don’t stress if you can’t achieve what you set out to achieve. Keep everyone in the loop about your progress and allow flexibility into everything you do.
Creating designated workspaces in your home does more than just set a physical ‘do-not-disturb’ boundary line. It also allows you to mentally shift between the gears of responsibility better and easier. When you’re in your workspace, that’s work time and you’re in professional mode, being productive in your job. When you’re not in that space however, that allows your mind to switch off work-mode and feel more in the moment of family time and parenting commitments. The discipline of doing this is very difficult but trust us it’s enormously gratifying. Children, even at a younger age, will come to familiarise themselves with those boundaries, slowly appreciating that their parents are busy when they’re in those spaces.
Create a Support Network
We’re living at a time when community has never been more important, and whilst we cannot see our loved ones and socialise in the same ways, we need their support more than ever. When you’re frantically trying to achieve a million different tasks, our plea is this: don’t do it alone. Build a group of people around you that you trust and can communicate comfortably to. Chatting about the highs and lows of your situation can be freeing – it’s human nature to feel like you’re the only one going through something but talking it through with someone else will help realise we’re all in this together. And we’re stronger together too. If you’re stressed out, talk to someone – and if you’re bossing it, then be proud and gush away. You deserve it!
Which brings us to the most vital of all suggestions: looking after number one. You’re no good in your job if you don’t take care of yourself, and you’re also no good as a parent either! You need to make time to switch off the screen and spend time with your children guilt-free. Similarly, you need to be able to switch on a movie for them whilst you get through a few Zoom calls without feeling guilty. Do what you can do make your personal day better and your personal home a happier stress-free one. Remove the guilt and eliminate the worry. Drink water, eat healthy, get fresh air – but also order that takeaway, switch on Netflix and have a little lie in. This is a time when we need to keep our minds at peace, so keep going and you’ll be a master juggler in no time!