Wrinkle & Crease 2021
Women In Leadership
Working From Home without childcare
Entering 2021 and Working from Home without Childcare
We all know that moms are the true superheroes in this world. Being a mom never stops whether you work for yourself or for an employer. But who could have predicted a pesky little thing known as the Covid-19 pandemic would mean that all of a sudden you’re a work-from-home mom with no childcare. Talk about a curveball!
Although our new reality has set in you may still be struggling to get it all together in 2021. You are not alone. Read on for tips and tricks to keep you and your little ones sane while also managing to conquer that to-do list! We’ve got you covered.
The New Reality of Working from Home
If you’re one of the many parents out there that are re-learning how to go about your day-to-day work-life from home, while also managing to keep your kids healthy, happy and...well… alive, then firstly, KUDOS!
It is no small feat to be a productive working-from-home mom during a pandemic. You deserve a medal, a (safe and non-covid) spa day and a big glass of wine all wrapped up into one.
Our new reality means more scheduling, more routine, and LOTS of communication. With a little planning and a smidge (okay - a lot!) of patience soon you’ll be sailing through your workdays with only two or 3 meltdowns a week instead of twenty-three.
Experienced work-from-home moms advise sticking to a schedule. Schedule naps, lunch, snack time and definitely make sure to block out a little time to play with your kids every day to give them the much needed attention they require. (Bonus points if you can get them to play outside!)
If your kids are old enough to follow the schedule, involve them in the planning and clearly communicate the need for your new daily structure. Kids love a routine and knowing what’s coming up next will help to keep everyone happier and calmer. With older children, explaining the importance of working to them will empower them to help be a part of your success as a family.
Mapping out the kids’ daily needs and activities first will help you to plan what work tasks to do throughout these chunks of time. For example - schedule your conference calls or more strenuous tasks during nap time and more minute tasks like answering emails when you can supervise playtime.
Buffer in lots of time for interruptions. As much as we like to schedule and plan - we all know that children can have their own ideas of how things are going to go sometimes. Guaranteed someone will have a runny nose, need more snacks or a little extra cuddle for when they’ve accidentally ripped off their favourite teddy’s eyeball. Scheduling for an extra few minutes here and there will help you to stay on track and feel more accomplished at the end of the day.
Creating Your Environment
Be sure to set up a dedicated workspace in your home and communicate what sitting at this spot means to your children. The visual reminder of sitting at your desk will serve to act as a boundary with your kids to help them to understand that when Mom is sitting down, this is her time to focus on work. This will help them to realize that you are not just ignoring them - but that this is part of your family’s new routine.
Post up a schedule near your desk that’s visible for the whole family. Children that are old enough to read will be able to get in on the action to see what’s up next and when to try not to bother Mom. Keeping a to-do list of ideas for playtime or chores will help everyone to stay productive and save you from having to always come up with ideas on the spot when - especially when you’re mid-convo with your boss.
Communication with your Boss and work Colleagues
Some of you may actually be your own boss but a lot of us may work with colleagues or bosses that do not have kids. This can cause frustration for both parties if you don’t communicate with them the reality of your day. Sharing your schedule with your team (ie. when you’re having lunch with the kids or a break to engage in a little playtime) will go a long way in keeping everyone on the same page. With your colleagues understanding your busy times, you’ll foster a more co-efficient workforce with more positivity and appreciation for each others’ time.
Organizing your family
Setting up a schedule and sticking to it will be your best plan of recourse. As a mom, many of you know that the regular 9 to 5 isn’t a reality and your days may start a little earlier and end a lot later.
Our best advice? Wake up early. Give yourself loads of time in the morning before your kids wake up so that you can dress yourself and prepare for the day. Get your make-up on, have a coffee, carefully and thoughtfully select the sweatpants-du-jour - whatever it is you need to make you feel productive and ready to tackle the day.
Getting this out of the way prior to your kids waking up will just make for a smoother day and get you ready out of the gate. If you can sneak in a half an hour of work to check emails before the chaos starts - even better.
Many work-from-home-moms like to use a blocking system and block off their day in 15 or 30 minute increments. Setting this up in your daily planner is great way to start off your day productively. Transfer the relevant sections to a larger wall planner for your kids to see to get them used to consistency and routine.
Keep your kids motivated with.. ta da… FOOD! Weekly meal planning will go a long way in keeping your family sane and it’s a fun way to get the kids involved. Use a visible weekly planner to jot down all of the snacks and meals for the week so that your kids have something to look forward to every day. (Well, except for maybe on broccoli day)
Pro Tip: Using a weekly planner to map out your meals, special appointments, and activities gives you a snap shot of your week and keeps you on track!Shop Weekly Planner
How do you support employees working from home?
Employers need to think differently in this new era and a great way to support their employees is to invest in an online project managing platform (ie, Asana or Monday.com). Keeping everyone’s schedules and tasks all in one place will alleviate back and forth and maximize efficiency.
Another important factor? Talk about mental health with your team. The burden of stress on parents in the workforce is greater than ever. Ensure that your employees have access to mental health resources and check in with them regularly.
How do you support parents working from home?
Supporting working-from-home parents is now the new normal. Sometimes all it takes is acknowledging how difficult it must be for them to manage a full workload while taking care of their family all from home. Not being able to shut away in an office for 8 hours to focus will inevitably cause working parents some distraction and delays. Understanding your employees' situation will allow them less guilt and free up time to be a happier and more productive employee.
How can I work from home and take care of a baby?• Ensure to schedule plenty of undivided attention for baby throughout the day. This will keep them happier throughout the times when you’re focused on work.
• Perhaps try sending emails while breastfeeding - more mindless tasks are great to do during this time.
• Maximize nap times - get straight to work! Take advantage of longer nap times for high priority tasks.
• Seek help from family and friends. Be vocal about your need for support and don’t feel guilty. This is where the old adage “It Takes a Village” really comes into play.
How do I entertain my toddler while working from home? • Spend a bit of time organizing puzzles, blocks or toddler games that you can hand to them for some supervised playtime while you’re answering emails. Try marking down how long each activity will take on the game and this will help when you’re faced with an unexpected task you need to focus on.
• Schedule in some outdoor playtime to burn off energy. A little fresh air will help with bedtime and make everyone feel a little calmer and more peaceful throughout the week.
How Can I support a friend who is a mom working from home?• Drop off a surprise coffee or their favourite tea latte at their door - a little caffeine can go a long way for a busy working mom!
• While you’re out running errands, reach out to your working-from-home-mom friend to see if she needs anything at the grocery store that you can swiftly drop off at her door. • • Sometimes a quick diaper run is all a friend needs!
• Offer to bring the kids to the park for an hour to give mom some much needed quiet time to focus.
Most importantly, be kind to yourself and give yourself a huge amount of praise! This isn’t easy, but with some effort and planning, you can do this and do it well! You’ve got this, moms!