If you’re reading this, you are probably in the thick of working and parenting all at once. Toys might be flying across the air as you attempt to sit through a Zoom meeting. You might be in the middle of completing a day’s worth of work during a two hour nap time window. Trust me when I say I’ve been there. Trying to keep up with little ones while working to support them can be challenging to say the least. But as with all things, there are ways to lighten the load.
Wake up before everyone else
This one was hard for me at first as I had to resist the urge to stay in bed. And trust me, there are times when that is necessary too. However, during the week, waking up even 15-30 minutes before the kids allows you time just for you to set your intentions for the day and get things in place before things get chaotic. I like to read a quick devotional, make myself a hot chocolate and get my water bottle ready for the day. You could use this time to work out or catch up on a vlog. Remember: this is your time for YOU.
Set up activity stations and morning baskets for independent learning/play
During your morning me-time, or even the night before, set up a basket or container of activities for toddlers or older children to engage with while you get work done. I find this to be perfect for that time when the kids first wake up and I need to answer a few emails and get set up for work. I like to include pop its, race cars, coloring books with crayons, blocks and books in my son’s basket. This also gives your little one something to look forward to and makes them feel special.
Create a routine and stick to it
I’m sure you’ve heard by now that children thrive off of routine. It sets clear expectations for them. It also keeps the pace of the day in motion. The key here is to keep your routine flexible enough that you can easily get back on track should things get crazy. For example, I usually block out 30 minutes in between lunch and nap time for free play. This gives my little one time to get energy out before quiet time.
Make it happen: type out a routine that works for your home, print it out and post it up on the fridge or in a high traffic area in your home so that everyone knows what to expect.
And when all else fails, get help where you can, how you can. Help comes in many forms. Help on a difficult day might look like eating out for lunch and dinner. Help for the long term might be considering a preschool program or daycare for your children to go to for at least part of the day. There’s no shame here. One thing is for sure, as the heartbeat of your home, you set the tone. Do what works for you and your family.