By Janice Russell
Although everyone has faced challenges due to the pandemic, parents of young children are often put in uniquely difficult positions. Many preschools and daycares have closed, and moreover, more and more adults are working from home. And though remote work gives you the ability to keep an eye on your little one during the day, doing so while actually being productive is something of a feat.
Fortunately, there are tools you can use to make this process easier, and help you figure out the best techniques to get your family through a challenging time. Here’s a look at a few ways you can manage remote work with little ones around:
Dress for (Multiple Kinds) of Success
When you work from home, it’s tempting to lounge in your pajamas all day, especially when you have a little one to run after. However, changing into work clothes is a powerful psychological tool. It signals to your brain that you need to be in productive mode, and can help you feel more focused and on-task in your remote work environment.
That said, work isn’t necessarily the only thing you need to keep in mind when working from home with small children. If you’re chestfeeding, it’s important to wear clothes that offer easy access for nursing. Search for nursing clothing with removable straps or openings, or use button-down shirts that you can easily open and move aside for feeding.
Right now, companies understand that parents might need a little extra support in order to thrive. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get that support, unfortunately, but it does mean you should keep your supervisors informed about your needs. After all, your company won’t be able to support you if they don’t know how.
If you’re not sure what to ask for, take a look at your schedule and see if you could use more flexibility. For example, if you are parenting with a partner, it might be easier for you to be on slightly different schedules — one starts earlier in the day, and the other works later. Although this can come with its own challenges, it can reduce the time of day you’re both on the clock — meaning you have more time you can fully dedicate your mental energy to work or your little one, respectively.
As mentioned above, however, not all companies are going to want (or be able) to work with you on these things. Although you should always start with trying to find a solution, sometimes being your best advocate means moving on. If you can’t get what you need from your company, it might be worth considering whether or not it’s time to look for a new role.
Ask For Help
If you have a very young child, you’re managing multiple little ones, or you’re just not keeping up with everything you need to do, it might be worth reaching out into your family and social circles and asking for help. It’s a big ask right now — after all, you’d have to develop a self-isolation level both parties are comfortable with to keep everyone safe. However, you might have a friend or family member who is willing and able to bubble up with you and be your safety net through the pandemic.
Remember — we’re not going to be stuck inside forever, and eventually, you’ll have access to childcare and in-person work once again. Until then, we should try to focus on taking things one day at a time.
About the author: Janice Russell believes the only way to survive parenthood is to find the humor in it. She created Parenting Disasters so that parents would have a go-to resource whenever they needed a laugh, but also to show
parents they aren’t alone. She wants every frazzled parent out there to remember that for every kid stuck in a toilet, there’s another one out there somewhere who’s just graced their parents’ walls with some Sharpie artwork!