If you are like so many others, you have probably thought at some point how amazing it would be to work from home. And don’t get me wrong, it is truly amazing. But working from home with kids is a whole different story! I started working from home 5 years ago. And it literally took me 3 years to figure it out and get a system down that worked for me. But I’m still over here waiting for my kids to be in school full time to be able to truly work from home with no distractions.
So you received that email stating, you are to work from home for the foreseeable future. You upgraded your bedding. Bought some comfy pjs. Stocked up on dry shampoo knowing you weren’t going to need to wash your hair ever.
But then your spouse called, and said they too are working from home for the foreseeable future. So you thought, ok mid-afternoon romp sessions. Awesome. His chewing might bother you or how he slurps coffee, but we can totally get through this.
Then the phone rang. School is out too. There goes the mid afternoon romps. And now, you need to work, feed kids, educate them, and keep everyone in the house from killing each other. Awesome, this should be totally doable, right?
If you are like so many others, you have been thrown into this dream roll of working from home but now your spouse is home along with your kids not to mention you aren’t supposed to leave the house. After day one, you will realize things need to change. And I am going to share with you what I have been doing for the last couple years as my husband works from home and I still have kids home.
Working From Home With Kids
Set a Routine
I know this sounds like a given. But it’s truly the thing that helped me make the most of my time. Have a wakeup time and a bedtime. We all need structure in our life. One thing you might notice is that you have more time. Most homeschool moms don’t “teach” for 7 hours like traditional kids go to school. With limited distractions you might notice your work load seems easier to accomplish during your time at home. Set aside time for lunch, mental breaks, and time to help kids transition to a new activity. Have work hours and have play hours. You don’t clean or do dishes during work in an office, don’t do it during work hours now.
Change out of your PJs
Don’t kill the messenger. But this really does make you more productive. I’m not saying you need to put on panty hose, but changing out of lounge wear will help you feel inclined to work more. In my mind, I dress so that if my best client/boss were to FaceTime me I would answer without having to apologize for my appearance. Daily showers should still be a thing, if you can find soap out there.
Have a Specific Work Area
This might be more difficult because space is limited. But in the three years I have lived in my house, my desk has moved at least 5 times trying to find out what works best for me. Since I am, God willingly, working from home permanently I ended up doing THIS. But before that I had a desk in my kitchen because I wanted it to be easily accessible when kids were little and I could work in 5 min increments. haha. Next I moved it to the playroom so I could work while kids played. Next up was my bedroom, I needed privacy and quiet. But then realized I needed a space for working only. So I moved into my husbands shared office. Then quickly moved out. Once I decided to get rid of my guest room and convert that to an office, I haven’t moved again.
Think about how you work and your needs. Working from your bed or from the couch seems awesome but it looses it luster quickly. Not to mention, I suffered for months in agony from neck pain from working from my couch. That’s for another post. I know I personally need a space of my own that is quiet. But I also need to be able to escape from my work space for family time.
Everyone is organizing and cleaning closets, right? Pinterest has amazing closet offices ideas. Grab a dining room chair and an old card table and make it happen.
If you are used to working in a bustling office or surrounded by co-workers you actually enjoy, this might be difficult for you. Coupled with the fact that we should be isolating ourselves, figuring out how to have adult, human interaction will be so important. A meeting at the water cooler might look like Face-timing your mom. I recommend downloading an App like MarcoPolo that allows you to see faces and talk but when its convenient for you. Keep in touch with coworkers via Zoom or something similar.
Stop Feeling Guilty for Giving Your Kids Technology
You are working from home because of the beauty of technology. Embrace it and all it has to offer. You have a job that needs to be done, it won’t kill them to work on an app while you finish a project.
Make sure you don’t get engulfed in work and forget about the work/life balance that is already so hard to keep balanced.
- Get up and walk around. Head outside to get some fresh air.
- Take a few minutes to meditate. We are all going through a lot. Clear your mind.
- Eat meals. Take the time to prepare meals so you are eating right. I got in such a bad habit of snacking because I was “too busy” to make a meal.
Distractions are hard. Turn off notifications on your phone. You can turn on bedtime mode which prevents all notifications to come through. Just build into your schedule times to check socials and leave your phone down until those times. There is a lot information out there right now and falling down a rabbit hole is easy.
In regards to your kids, it is hard to avoid distractions from them. Making sure their schedule aligns with yours in terms of work and play. Keeping them busy and allowing them downtime when you need something done but expecting that they will need you is a given. Anticipating those interruptions and having something to move them to is the best way to help.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
It’s harder than it looks. You are dealing with a whole bunch of new experiences at once and as much as we want to be great at everything. That’s exhausting. So learn and adjust as you go. Tomorrow will be easier. And soon enough life will resume to normal.
Do you have any tips for working from home with kids? Let me know in a comment below!
Ranch Office says
Good tips – thank you! Having a functional workspace is essential when you’re working from home. However, that doesn’t always mean you should, or indeed have to, work from that dedicated home space all the time. Changing location (local cafes or coworking spaces) is crucial because working in the same environment all the time can be depressing. Experimenting with new layouts can help keep you from getting tired of your surroundings.