Truthfully, I’m not sure where to begin this blog post. Since coronavirus has broken out all over the world, many of us have found ourselves quarantined to our homes. Millions are expected to become extremely ill, freedom as we knew it feels like it has vanished overnight and everything else has quickly started to feel so trivial. But, in the spirit of trying to inspire and keep our minds in as positive a place as possible, I’ve been trying to think of some ways I may be able to help in even the smallest of ways. So, as someone who has always emoted through writing and through creating, I’m excited to share tips for working from home today while you have kids in tow.After all, going on day four of quarantine in our home with two kids 2.5 and under, I needed to list these WFH ideas out for my own sanity.
It’s already mass chaos over here trying to balance conference calls, screaming children and nursing. It is my hope that the below list will help us all as we settle into whatever that “normal” is going to look like. Sharing some recent Sadie photos with you as well in case her little face and unicorn crown can add some extra zen to what I know is a one of the craziest times of our lives. We’re all in this together, everyone. Sending big hugs and wishes of good health to you all.
Tips For WFH…With Kiddos
1) Make Time For Yourself
I know this tip may seem rather selfish to share first but I truly believe it’s incredibly important for our sanity as parents.
If you and your significant other are quarantined together in the same home with your kids, make sure you each give yourself at least an hour a day to decompress respectively. Have your significant other watch the kids for one hour on his or her own that works in both of your schedules. Then, make sure you do the same for him or her.
If you’re a single parent or a parent whose significant other is sick during this time, my heart especially goes out to you during this crazy time. I can only imagine you’re feeling like you will never get a break again. Maybe try setting your alarm for an hour before your kids normally get up to carve out some “you ” time. If that doesn’t work, once they’re in bed, make sure you carve out an hour of “you” time before you shut your eyes. I know it may feel impossible but you deserve it and need it!
For all parents: in this hour, try taking a hot shower with your favorite essential oils. Maybe try lighting a calming candle. Sit in bed and just close your eyes and meditate. Netflix and chill. Read a book. Make a list of the things that help you to feel most calm and present and recharge away. Recharging our own batteries and giving ourselves some self care makes us better parents.
After all, our kids need all of the positive energy we can give them right now and this can only help our cause.
2) Create A Routine & To-Do List (And Stick To Them!)
Working from home, it’s helpful to create a routine that works for you and your family.
Let’s face it: your home contains so many distractions all around you–laundry, the TV, even your bed! If you don’t stick to a plan, you and your kids can get side tracked way too easily.
Likewise, I’m really big on making to-do lists to keep me on track. I get so much satisfaction from crossing things off of my list once I accomplish them.
I usually schedule my day as follows:
7am-9am: Within this time frame, I get up, nurse, make Naiya breakfast, drink some coffee and get ready to start my day. Within this window, I try to get my workout in as well.
9am-1pm: I hunker down, create my to-do list and work away to the best of my ability with two kiddos. Within this time frame I usually nurse 1-2 more times. I also make sure Naiya has healthy snacks.
1pm-1:30pm: Lunchtime. I try to eat with Naiya so that I can give her as much attention as possible. We also love facetiming with friends or family at this time in case they’re also lunching away.
1:30pm-6pm: Working away some more while taking breaks to read Naiya books, play with her and give her more snacks. I usually nurse two more times within this window too.
6pm-7:30pm: Dinner and bedtime for Naiya. I put all of my work away and focus solely on my family to the best of my ability. I’ve spent more time since the quarantine cooking family dinner so that we can all sit together. This is a big deal for me because I never have time to cook for all of us when I’m working out of the house. This has been one positive take-away from this incubation period in our house!
3) Always Set An Alarm
Every weekday morning, I set an alarm for the same time and I make sure I get up.
Granted, if you’re anything like our family, our kids don’t let us sleep in anyway. In fact, they’re natural alarm clocks who help me to get moving (for better or for worse!).
Setting an alarm helps start your day with much-needed structure and it always helps me to be more productive too.
4) Get A Workout In
This one is extremely important to my psyche–whether I’m working from home or not. Since we’re all self-quarantined to our homes right now, making sure we have a mini break to sweat out extra toxins and relieve some stress is everything.
I’ve been waking up early in the morning this week to run around the neighborhood. I’m not sure if I’ll always be allowed to do this if our quarantine continues to become more strict but for now, I’m taking full advantage and I’m loving every minute. I’ve even been taking Naiya or Sadie with me in the stroller. After all, they need fresh air too.
Working out in the morning clears my mind and allows me to set my intentions for the day. I also love getting my workout out of the way early so that I’m not trying to break away to make it happen once I’m in the flow of everything with work.
If you’re not a runner, I’ve noticed that a bunch of gyms are now creating live workout streams via social media for all of us who are stuck at home. I can’t wait to take advantage of these as the days go on. From yoga classes to weight lifting and pilates to boxing, there’s no excuse not to sweat during this time. The best part? Working out will also keep your anxiety levels in check.
5) Snacks & Screen-Time Are Everything Right Now (And That’s Okay!)
A few minutes before I have conference calls scheduled for work, I’ve been setting Naiya up with a smorgasbord of healthy snacks–grapes, apple slices, bananas, freeze dried peas–you name it! From there, I’ve been letting her play with a learning app or website like Starfall.com to keep her busy.
While I don’t want her glued to a screen all day, I’ve been finding some fun educational games for her on the iPad that simply allow her to stay entertained while I’m working away.
I’m trying my best to keep her occupied while I get my work done but so far, it’s been quite a learning experience. The key is making sure she’s happy and not melting down about 15 minutes before each call.
How Are You Feeling In This Apocalypse?
Lastly, checking in to find out how you and your family are feeling this week. Are you as shocked as I am that we’ve landed in quarantine? This virus is truly no joke and I can’t believe how much it has already disrupted our lives.
The positives on my end include that I get to spend extra time with my family while slowing down. Among many negatives, though, includes the fact that we don’t know when life will go back to normal (or IF it will go back to normal) again.
Each day of quarantine with kiddos is now melting into the next and I’m already missing the normalcy of being able to meet up with large groups of friends without worrying about our family’s health.
Tell me all the things you’re feeling below. Really interested to learn where your heads are at throughout all of this craziness!
Photography: Azusa Takano