Let’s face it. Work from home (WFH) never looks this relaxing, tranquil and cool. Well, unless you have the perfect home, no kids or you simply are one of the moms who has all her shit pulled together. Not this mom. In fact, most days, my house looks a mess. I call it organized chaos 😛
First off, my coffee mug in the morning never looks this small. Just the refills would be a waste of my time. I have one of those uber big mom mugs that I set on my coffee table in the morning and it gets cold before i can get to drinking half of it because there goes “Mommy Mommy Mommy” roll eyes emoji plsss 🙄
I have been super slack in blogging since the start of the pandemic. Don’t get me wrong. I am so very grateful that the nature of my position provides me the flexibility to work from home during this pandemic and keep not just our family safe but my colleagues too. But I would be lying if I said I didn’t struggle at all. And after so many months of working from home, I think I have a much better handle on it for sure.
The first month, I would say was the hardest. I have a really supportive team and boss but it wasn’t them as much as it was my own expectations of how work should look like. And my traditional definition of work life definitely doesn’t include feeding my kid, cleaning my kid, answering my kid, swearing at my kid, yelling at my kid, pacifying my kid etc…you get the drift.
I like and hope that I’m someone flexible enough to consider all aspects when it comes to doing my work but at the heart of me is a traditional me that has never wanted to even consider the option of working from home. My home, in my mind has always been the separation between work and life and it has always served me well. I like the roads well travelled for myself. I don’t need many close relationships but the few ones I value, I believe are deep, real and authentic and I find them easier to forge and maintain face to face vs working from home. As an INFJ, I need to take some time alone now and then to decompress, recharge, and process my thoughts and feelings and home is where I do that so when home and office becomes one, I need to adapt and find a different way to recharge.
I like my going to work and being in office routine. I enjoy seeing my co-workers and my team. I like that I have a reason to get myself decently dressed to go to the office. I like that during those work hours, my child is safe and happy and engaged somewhere else (& by that, i meant far far away from me 😂😂 lol). I like that my work hours are filled with adult interaction. So many likes I can give you about going to the office. I like that when lunch time comes, I only need to think for myself and not try to fix a meal for a very vocal toddler 😏😏
So when Covid happened and I started working from home, my work life as I have always known significantly changed. Most people around me think I love change. I don’t actually but I do think I adapt quickly to changes. And it isn’t because I like change. It definitely isn’t because I am just naturally an adaptable personality. I. AM. SO. NOT. LOL
I think I tend to adapt quicker because even though I don’t like it, I accept that Change is a part and natural of life. Acceptance of what is natural of life cycle is, in my mind key to ironing the kinks and embracing the changes. In today’s world or some cultures, acceptance has a more negative or defeatist connotation as if to tell you to expect little of life or to be happy getting less of what you feel you deserved. In my mind, acceptance is the complete opposite. Acceptance sets the ground to uncover underlying opportunities that you would not have seen otherwise. Acceptance is owning that the situation isn’t always going to be what your vision has been but instead, it can be better. Acceptance is quickly identifying how to not only make the best of your work situation but how to make it better. Now, all the above is in the context of work. My personal life and acceptance – HA! that’s a totally different story. My hubby would probably tell you my acceptance level for personal life is super low lol. Hey, I never said I was perfect. Acceptance takes practice. Buddhism is all about diligently practicing. And nope, not a Buddhist but I do find that the older I get, the more I love reading up on Buddhism beliefs.
So let me not digress further. After all these months of working from home, here are some of the things I do to make sure I stay productive and sane. Bear in mind what works for me & my family might not work for yours but hope it helps 😘😘
- Setting up a designated work area just for work and making sure it is comfortable but also has privacy when needed
- Always always keep my boss and team posted of my schedule and work. That’s just basic respect
- Be upfront and transparent about challenges encountered while working from home but always always bring a solution and not just the problem to your boss
- If possible, take a short walk around my neighbourhood during lunch (ermmm, this one needs a lot more practice on my part lol. I am very very very guilty of never wanting to walk 😂😂)
- Make ahead tons of freezable breakfast choices during my weekend so when my son is “HANGRY” on my busy workday mornings, pop goes a frozen breakfast sandwich or mini pancakes to the microwave and he has something semi healthy to eat within 5 mins.
- Plenty of snacks. Can’t emphasize that enough. My 3 year old is constantly eating!!! If i had to stop work every time he wants a snack, I will never get any work done. I have an area where i place all his easy to eat snacks and juice boxes. My son is a pretty clean eater but even then, messes happen when he eats. I try to strategically buy snacks that doesn’t make as much of a mess e.g, popcorn, applesauce, small bite size crackers/cookies, nuts etc. Unless I want a reenactment of the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel where the children leave a trail of bread crumbs, I try to reserve the crumbly big muffins for after work or lunch time. And I try to just cringe & roll my eyes a hundred times internally, breathe and let it go when he accidentally makes a huge mess.
- Keep the kid entertained. During the weekends, I also try to plan out some easy & small learning activities for Ryan throughout the week. And I get all the daily supplies ready on Sunday and make sure those activities take only 15-20 mins of my weekday time. When all else fails, I give him my Ipad. YES. He calls my IPad his IPad. There’s also Netflix and YouTube lol
- Unless you have to self-isolate, I still would sign Ryan up for daycare, babysitter or preschool. And make arrangements for him to go to a family member or a mom friend (in your social bubble) on some days for a playdate so you get those alone time at home to work
- Plan for interruptions especially when I have a busy toddler. I don’t believe I should subject my co-workers and supervisor to my kid bugging me non stop during a meeting. Your boss might not say anything but it ain’t right and it sure ain’t professional. Doesn’t mean it will never happen but at the minimum, planning for that would minimize such situations from happening. I always try to make sure Ryan is with someone else when I have video meetings. People would only give you grace for this long & really, why would you expect your coworkers and boss to be okay with that?
- Unless the whole family is on a self-isolation order or daycare is simply not available due to Covid, working from home is not a substitute for child care entirely. Sure, some moms might prefer to keep their kids at home entirely. If it works for you, great. That doesn’t work for me at all.
- Be honest. WFH doesn’t work for everyone.
And most importantly, cut yourself some slack. Am I doing enough for work, enough as a mom, enough as a spouse? So many questions.
And really, stop feeling guilty or the need to explain myself why I give my kid my Ipad. This is a really odd year for everyone so let’s just cut ourselves some slack. No one is going to do this perfectly. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. But if your kid uses too much Ipad, watches too much cartoons or eat too much junk processed food this week, it really isn’t the end of the world for you or your child.
And lastly if you walk into a room full of tissues all over or if your kid spills juice over the couch for the 15th time, just try to LAUGH & breathe ☺️☺️
Do you work from home? Share with us your challenges, successes and tips in the comments! Would love to hear them 🥰