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A Handmaid's Tale On Working from Home with Kids

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By Mary Poppins PursePublished 3 years ago 3 min read
A Handmaid's Tale On Working from Home with Kids
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

If you found yourself having to work from home with kids, you are not the only one. Millions of professionals saw themselves forced to replace the cubicle with an improvised work desk at home, most often sharing the living room with restless children and playful pets.

With no playbook officially published, employees who were lucky to continue their activities remotely faced a major difficulty. How to stay focused when children are always on the hunt for your attention through new shenanigans? How to retain a professional appearance during office meetings when odd noises coming from your home disrupt the conversations and make it all awkward.

While most parent initially enjoyed not having to commute, or being able to work dressed in their pajamas, the dream quickly turned nightmarish. Soft parents saw themselves in the impossibility to draw a clear line, delimiting what kids are allowed to do while they are working. This translated into lost productivity and the need to recover the lost time in long evenings or over the weekend.

Lucky mothers and father were able to other send the kids away to the grandfathers, or have a family member come in offer a minimum babysitting during crucial meetings or before deadlines. However, there are also positive stories. While most struggle to be responsive parents and productive employees at the same time, some thrived in the new situation created. Small breaks tending for house chores prove to be a much more effective technique than the traditional 1-hour lunch break most workspaces obey. In an effect explained through the Pomodoro technique, you can’t really focus at the same intensity for hours in a row.

To work from home with kids means to learn to stress less. After all, employees and employers found themselves on the same side of the barricade and should be able to nurture real understanding. Although business is business, who can really blame someone for doing what a parent should do. Don’t judge yourself too harshly for appearing silly in front of your colleagues or clients. Instead, keep in mind that you doing two full jobs at the same time and that you deserve some credit for it.

Not surprisingly, rewarding good behavior emerged as the number one trick for convincing children to obey the curfew during your office hours. Bribing with new toys and favorite meals has become the new norm in families all over the country.

Another useful advice for struggling parents is to take it easy. Meditation and even counseling can help troubled individuals see a silver lining even in these complicated times. Stress is obviously taking its toll until one adjusts to the new situation. Work from home with kids is set to become easier as time passes and a routine develops. Although the odds are not clear yet, schools, kindergartens, and daycares might be again opened in the fall.

The not so good news about working from home with kids is that many companies could view it as an opportunity to make budget savings on rent once things get back to normal. If this large-scale experiment works, the future doesn’t look good for parents who were not thinking about nannies or daycare. Companies will probably ponder. Why pay astonishing fees to have an office in the center of financial district when you can go for a smaller place and “request” your workers to come down only for crucial meetings or status reports.

Lastly, the biggest help in balancing both roles at the same time should come from the spouse. The two parents should agree to have an equal share of the work needed around the house, as well as share the same responsibility when it comes to children. It is always reassuring to know someone has your back in delicate moments when all your energy needs to go in only one direction and you don’t afford any distraction.


About the Creator

Mary Poppins Purse

A mix of all the things that we like.

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