Working from home has its comforts and desirable aspects. There’s no commute, there’s no need to dress up if you don’t want to. There’s also kids… and mess, and laundry, and noise, and screaming, and hanging on your leg like the floor is lava.
So how do we get anything done working from home? I’ll tell you what I have done that works and has helped my clients to be able to focus on work when its time to work. If you have an online business. I am sure you have heard of priming your audience for a launch or something new and exciting coming up. We take certain steps before hand to create buzz and to get our audience excited and ready.
Well, we can do the same thing in our home and with our children before we work. I will share with you how you prime your kids so you can focus on work.
Make sure your kids have everything they need or want
I know this is rather obvious, but make sure they have food, drinks, and 15 minutes of your time. Spend that time with them in their world, doing what they love to do. Play restaurant, color, read a book, whatever it is, let them choose. Give them this time and male sure they have everything they need. If they are potty training, use the potty. If they are toddlers and in diapers, make sure they have a clean diaper. The whole point here is to be proactive and take care of the things that may come up while you work. Take care of them first. Spend time with them first. Love on them first.
Think of something fun you will do when you are done with work
This can be something like play a board game, play in the driveway, going to the park, or even better going to the trampoline park. You decide, but make sure it is something really fun that your kids are going to enjoy.
Have a conversation
Two and older will understand this. If they are younger than two you can still talk to them about it, but they may not understand yet. This also shortens the amount of time you may have to work. But older than two, sit them down and have a conversation. Ask for and expect the space and time you need to get your ONE task done or certain amount of time.
Remember that FUN thing you have planned to do after you are done working, tell them about it. It is a reward for allowing you to work in peace. The more you do this with your children, they will learn that you respect them to spend time with them before you work and time with them after you work and that you expect space while your work. This system will help set the stage for the boundaries you are placing so you can work. This will take practice and you may not get all of your work done, but this will certainly cut down on the interruptions. I want to call this method the life/ work sandwich… spend time with family, work, spend time with family????
I hear your questions already… What if they interrupt me while working? Unless someone is seriously injured or there’s an emergency, simply remind them that when you are done with work that you are going to do the FUN thing you have planned. Stay calm and expect that they will listen and respect your boundary.
How do I know what they need before I work? Think of all the things they interrupt you for while you work. They’re hungry, they’re thirsty, they pooped in their pants, they want you to play with them or read a book, they fight over a toy, they need help with setting up a game or figuring out how to play a game. Think of all the times they have come to you while you were working in the past. Be as proactive as you can. And each time you do this, you’ll learn and adjust.
What can my kids do while I work? I love this question! Depending on age, set them up with something that is fun for them and within their capabilities to solo play. Think of activities or games they can play that do not require assistance. Make suggestions and let them to choose something. The younger they are, the less options you give them.
For children under the age of two, obviously you will need to get your one task done while they play nearby. Give them pom-poms, pipe cleaners, fruit loops, or other fun things to play with as you work. They can explore. They can match the colors, place in holes of a container, put inside of a clean dry water bottle and shake it. This is a whole other post that I think I need to write. But until then, keep calm and mother on!
How long will I be able to work? This will depend on your family dynamics and personalities. It will differ from family to family and from day to day. Don’t expect too much time, but ask for more than you think they’ll allow. And each time you do this, they will learn and eventually accept that this is how it is.
The more you do the life/ work sandwich, the more your family (husband too) will see that you love and respect them, but also that you are trying to squeeze your passion in there. They’ll see that you are working hard on something you believe in and will support you in that venture. But it all starts with a conversation! So have that talk with them and ask and expect that space.
All in all, mama, you got this! Balance can be achieved as long as you focus on the balance.