As social distancing has forced remote work wherever possible, a lot of us find ourselves navigating a new stay-at-home life. Working in your pajamas and a non-existent commute all sound amazing. But add in school and daycare closings, and the working parents suddenly find themselves with kids at home, and the struggle to balance it all.
We asked Marisa, our Brand Director and mama of two, to share some of her tips and tricks for balancing remote work and mom life.
Let me start out by saying that I, in no way, have this thing figured out. But we are all in this together, right? (cue: high school musical soundtrack). I also want to acknowledge that my kids are young, so I’m not even having to balance homeschooling– that’s another layer of structure and balance entirely– working parents with school-aged-kids are superheroes!!
Ok, some context. Work life: I’m on the Marketing team at ABLE, and I’ve actually been a part of this company since day one! It's been incredible to watch us grow over the years. My focus is primarily on our strategic partnerships, PR, and overall branding.
Mom life: I’ve got two little boys– Clay, who just turned 4, and Charlie, who is 15 months. And when their daycare/preschool made the tough decision to close last week, I knew this new work-from-home life was about to take a hard turn. Thankfully my husband (a songwriter / record producer) was already working from the studio behind our house, so we have been able to divide-and-conquer.
Here are some of the ways we are surviving this crazy season:
1. MAKE A PLAN.
We’ve found that we can work smarter when we know we’ve got set times to be in work mode and set times to be in parent mode. If you have a partner, utilize each other to have dedicated blocks where you can be focused and uninterrupted, and then dedicated blocks when you’re in charge of food/diapers/activities. If you’re home solo, figure out a way to utilize naps or quiet times where you can prioritize your work to-dos.
2. CREATE A SCHEDULE.
Take those planned work blocks and put them into a family schedule. Kids find a lot of comfort in structure, so we’re trying to keep things as similar to the routines they’re used to as possible. Not to mention, it helps your team to know when they are able to reach you! Have designated times for getting outside, free play, and yes, even SCREEN TIME. (side note– do not stress about the amount of Disney+ your kids are watching during this time. Just be thankful that app launched before we were mandated to stay at home!)
3. USE ALL THE RESOURCES.
The internet is your friend. There have been so many amazing things happening online, where creatives and companies are offering free content for kids stuck at home. Here are a few of our family favorites:
4. FIND WAYS TO BE GRATEFUL.
Yes, this is a hard season. Yes, you will have moments where you want to put your kids in timeout and leave them there all day (just me?). But don’t miss the silver lining. Things like … Not having a commute right now has meant extra time in our mornings and evenings, so we’re going on a daily family walk (which is good for everybody). I’m not rushing in the morning to pack 3 lunches, and we end up eating a lot more fresh, whole foods. I'm getting to see and spend time with my kids more than ever, which means more snuggles and more memories.
We've never before faced a time such as this, so have grace for yourself, your coworkers, and your kids. We're gonna get through this.