Needless to say, thinking about working from home is not a big surprise for me, been doing that for the past decade, as a stay at home mom, I have a good idea on how to balance activities, multitask and not stressing over the lack of milk at 10 pm. I’m used to it. With the latest outbreak, and subsequently, the mandate of working from home, plus the many things recommended to keep the family safe and healthy, I realized it is pretty much what I do for my kids. You’ll see, my kids have social anxiety, so we avoid crowds all the time, and both of them are picky eaters, we have a couple of exceptional restaurants for take-out, or I cook for them. Hand sanitizer, Clorox and disinfectant are a must in my household because I have three dogs, a cat, two geckos, a water dragon and a chameleon, with such a zoo, I swipe, mop and disinfect twice a day even before the outbreak.
My husband, on the other hand, is a different story. He travels all the time and only comes homes on the weekends, occasionally he manages to take some weeks to work from home, but kids are at school, no distractions whatsoever. But with the outbreak, he’s stuck with us from Monday to Friday now that the kids’ school is closed. In his mind, working from home includes everyone around him silent because he has to work, think, and make calls.
I get him, but it is not happening.
The intermittent shushing, dogs chasing after each other, teenagers squirming over who goes last into the shower (yes, last) and trying to make sense of all these could only be handle with a good glass of home-made sangria. (I actually made an entire pint!)
How to balance your home.
Here is my plan on how to share my “working space” with my husband, which is just my two cents.
- Keeping the routine as if nothing happened, a difficult task indeed, but necessary to keep the sanity afloat. Stick to your weekly schedule for most of the part, try to make a small change to include activities with your children or to work while your children do some activities right next to you, or close enough for you to supervise.
- Involve your children in chores like spring cleaning, taking down toys from the closet, disinfecting bookshelves. They will spend a reasonable amount of time playing and half-cleaning, keeping them busy long enough for your spouse to “work, think and make calls” with minimum noise. But of course, that would be the best of the scenarios, in my case, it usually turns out to be a Jumanji adventure ending in laughs and chase the dog kind of Spring cleaning moment.
- Avoid boredom, keep them busy with a creative project that will make them be focused on for around an hour, then make them pause, and then another project. That will give you about two hours and 15 minutes. (You will need this kind of schedule after Spring break when classes will undoubtedly be online)
- Keep them moving, try dance-off competitions, or if you have pets, make the kids play for 15 minutes non-stop, then pause and then another 15 minutes. If you have a backyard, go out and play at least 30 minutes per day.
- Involve the entire family during meal preparation, snack, lunch, and dinner. Make it a family moment and do not turn the T.V. on, avoid talking about the news while preparing food, it sours the flavor.
- Change your dinner routine, try to make a picnic night with a movie or a board game, it would help to take the stress away from the day.
- Making all these changes and schedules will keep your kids busy and focus on something other than the fact of your other half staying at home, making calls, asking for silence, and looking stressed all day long.
Our reality has changed dramatically, working from home is only one of the things we have to deal with. After Spring break, we will have to figure out online classes, and homeschooling our kids because no matter how much technology is involved, we will have to control the schedules, the assignments and make sure the computer, webcam, and internet, work appropriately, we have to step up our game.
If you need resources, here is the link to the National Homeschool Organization.
How to keep your sanity during the chaos.
This virus has turned the world upside down since January, but you can add some activities to your daily routine to ease the pressure.
- Watch the news only two times during the day, the purpose of the story is to keep you informed and safe, not to induce paranoia and fear.
- Use aromatherapy, lavender, at home and in your clothes, pillows, and blankets, to soothe your mood and create a calming environment for your kids.
- Read a book that makes you forget what is happening around you, use Kindle Unlimited, and read free books.
- Before going to sleep, spend some time journaling about your favorite vacations, food, movies, and hobbies you have, or want to try.
- Talk to your loved ones, don’t text them, call them. The sound of their voice will have a positive effect on you and them.
- Self-care is essential to improve your immune system, sleep your eight hours (try), and drink water.
- Spend time doing what you love to do the most, for me, is my indoor garden and my kids.
I can’t remember in what morning show, the anchorwoman recommended to change clothes after you go out and wash your hands. My saying would be to change your clothes and get a shower if you had to go outside your home because you touched surfaces, handrails, and so on. Call me crazy but better safe than sorry.