The pandemic has many Americans now working from home. While working from home has its pros and cons, how does one handle creating a work-life balance? How do you juggle working from home while home with your kids?
First, who would have thought that this pandemic would have lasted over 7 months? At first, I thought “I’ll be working from home for about a week or so,” but we are, about to go into month 8 and I am still working from home. During the stretch of this: I have set up a home office, have been pregnant, delivered a beautiful baby, went on maternity leave and now, I’m back to working from home but now with two little ones. To say it’s hard is an understatement. No one will truly understand the daily struggle you face until they put on those shoes (or slippers). Working from home is no longer that standard 8-4 or 9-5 job anymore like it used to be when I physically left the house to go ‘into’ work. It’s sitting in front of a desk all day long to do work while juggling tending to a crying baby or running to the bathroom with your toddler who is hard at work potty training. And many parents who have school-aged children have e-learning thrown into this mix as well.
To shut off work often seems impossible when your work station is in your living room and you constantly see a desk full of work. For me, I see my computer and often think “let me do just one more thing so it’s one less thing to do tomorrow,” or “let me finish this project tonight so I can start a clean slate of work assignments tomorrow.” Sometimes it feels never-ending. Before, it was easier to turn on “home mode” when I would clock out at 5 pm and try not to think of work once I left. Finding a work-life and home-life balance is a struggle and some of us are still trying to find that balance after months of doing it this way.
There are some ways that may help you find that balance. If your desk is set up in your front room, perhaps place a sheet over your desk when you’re done for the day so work is a bit more “out of sight, out of mind.” If possible, create a separate working space for yourself in a room your family isn’t always in so you can use that room for being only in work mode. Mind over matter also plays a big part! Even though you’re working from home, sometimes getting ready for the day can make a huge difference too! If you’ve been wearing the same sweats or leggings for two days, a fresh shower and clean non-lounge clothes is a quick fix (I know I’m not the only one that is a bum from time to time). I have found that I even got the kids dressed for the day, helps too even if we are going absolutely nowhere. Sometimes a little goes a long way and these can make a huge difference in your outlook
Children (and pets for that matter) may not understand that while their parents are working from home, that their parents are actually “at work.” They see you sitting in front of them but may not understand that you are working and the shift in our workdays has been and still is an adjustment for everyone. While working from home may bring some additional distractions throughout the day, it provides for a bit more flexibility in the hours you are working. If you’re like me and need to take a break to work on potty training or have to start Moana for the 900th time, working remotely provides the opportunity to take those breaks and try to balance my mommy/employee duties because that mid-day break can be made up later in the evening.
I remind myself daily that there IS light at the end of this tunnel. Whether it’s a week from now, a month from now, or months away, it will get better. Staying positive will get you through each day a little easier. No one planned for this. Work your ‘work day’ and clock yourself out to enjoy some family time or even some peace of mind for yourself. I know it can be easier said than done, but we need to try; heck I am still trying after all this time.
Written by Nicole L. Morales
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