I have never really been able to fathom what work-life balance really is? If work-life balance means missing on some trivial family things while I juggle work and other home chores, then yes, that is something I have been doing for a while now. We all have either skipped a meal, slept less or missed out on something that our little ones did while we tried to cook, clean, wash and work from home to meet deadlines.
If I said, it’s chaotic, it would indeed be an understatement! Especially now, because all of us are confined to our homes while we practice social distancing,it just seems harder. We all are trying to be sane versions of ourselves while we work from home and meet the increased demands of food and supply as well.
I am currently a freelancer and believe me the quarantined times are tough for everyone. The hustle of working parents is tough because this time, they are not just working from home, instead they are working for home!!
I have always believed one can only share their experiences as tips hoping it would help someone. Both working partners need to work around each other’s schedule. Here are a few tips that can make working from home a little easy.
Time is the key element
Keep your work corner separate – While we all love lounging in pajamas and using the sofa as work station however it’s best to keep a separate work corner. Use some fun “do not disturb” signs whilst you are cracking those codes and attending conferences. Using the “mute” button during phone calls, helps so that other people don’t hear the wails and screams of your toddler. You could also have a dress code for work and let your kids know that mommy/daddy are working and needn’t be disturbed. All things considered, you may want your work corner at a place, from where keeping a watch on kids could be easy.
An exclusive play area for kids
Keep a separate play corner for kids – This may require some strategy and time however if you are able to create a separate play corner for kids while you work, it would be helpful. Try setting up some fun signs to be put around your toddler’s play area. You can encourage your toddler to use these signs when he/she doesn’t want to be disturbed. Arrange for special movie screenings or keep some games aside when you want some uninterrupted time at work.
Prepping for meals In advance
Food Preparations – Even though we are working from home and are locked down in our houses, we still have home chores to take care off. Prepping for food in advance may make cooking less time consuming. You can cut veggies and store them in air tight boxes. Let the kids and family help you to wash and cut veggies. I usually roll out chapattis and freeze them for later. Here is quick tutorial how.
You can make masalas and purees that can be used in most of food preps. Plan your weekly meals over the weekend to make your work easier. Few hacks involve, par boiling rice,noodles and pasta and storing it. It can be used for any meal preparations. Opt for one pot meals. Make and freeze cookie dough to help you make cookies when kids demand it. A baked cake stays good in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
Seek everyone’s support
Involve the Village – As much as you would like to seek help from someone outside the house in these times, you cannot. Hence you and your family needs to come together to take care of the kids. If it’s just you and your spouse, you need to be each other’s rock in these times. Divide and alternate chores between yourselves to make working easier for the both of you.
Look at online classes for kids
You can enroll your kids for online classes which will keep them busy while you work. Parents can prepare for some sorting and coloring activities beforehand that will keep the kids busy. Setting up small obstacle courses can be fun for kids too. Kids demand attention always. Try spending some time playing with them before you start your day. Similarly try squeeze a few minutes in between your work hours .. Look for apps that can help you organize and plan your day while you work from home. If you have little kids at home, you need to communicate that to your employer. Let you colleagues and bosses know that there are chances a meeting could be crashed by a toddler.
Follow Simple Work Rules
Try and set rules while you’re working. If you have more than one kid, try instilling some responsibility in the elder kid. Make him/her in charge of the house while you are working. Reward them for the work you assigned. Encourage your kids to share their toys and play together. Ensure both you and your partner take breaks and communicate with each other. Check on each other and the kids too. Squeezing in some time for yourself can be tough but is needed to give your mind a healthy break too.You may also want to have a look at these work from home options
It is all very challenging but remember, this too shall pass and you need to try and tackle one day at a time!!