For over four years, I’ve been struggling to work from home with first one and now two kids. On the upside, a few tips have been picked up along with way…
‘SO, HAVE YOU any summer camps booked?’ was the question doing the rounds on the last day of school.
When I told my fellow parents that I was ‘winging it’ this year, the usual response was, ‘Oh, you’re brave!’ Far from it, really – but I’ve learnt to make it work after four years working from home with two kids under the age of five.
If like yours truly, you work on a freelance or contract basis, you’ll be aware that ‘working whenever you want’ isn’t the leisurely ride it’s cracked up to be.
Yes, I’m always there when the kids need me. But sometimes that means working before the kids get up or when they go to bed, surrounded by crumb-covered floors, dirty dishes, and toy bombs.
Here are some time management tips I’ve garnered along the way…
1. Get additional support
If you don’t want to be stretched to the limit, try and source some form of affordable childcare or support, even if you just need a few hours a week to make phone calls. Is there anyone in your circle who also works from home? I have an arrangement with a school mum; we take turns looking after each other’s kids a couple of times a week.
2. Plan busy mornings with the kids
It’s not always possible to schedule your workday around entertaining your kids, but – if at all feasible – get them out for an activity in the morning. If you give them your undivided attention earlier in the day, they’ll be less inclined to seek action in the afternoon. My go-to morning activities this weather involve treks to the seaside or a cycle around the park, followed by a playground visit.
3. Welcome to baby jail
Well, sort of. Our ‘baby jail’ was a makeshift play area: essentially an extendable child gate sectioning off a corner of the sitting room with toys and a foam mat floor. Assuming you don’t have childcare all the time and have toddlers in your possession, have a safe and stimulating area for independent play.
4. Make an activity pile
If you’re working around a toddler, you will only get to work five minutes at a time. The night before you’re going to be working from home, make a short list of activities they can do for the time you’ll be busiest. Find the bits and bobs required and have them bundled together so when they’ve finished with one activity, there’s another one ready to go.
5. Unleash the Box of Wonderment
Welcome to the world of toy rotation. If you’re not already aware; get yourself an empty box, randomly pick toys they’ve not played with for a while and hide said box until one glorious day when they can rummage through it and reunite themselves with long lost playmates.
Yep, I’m asking you to click on the link to TheJournal.ie if you wish to read the rest of the article… That’s how I roll now.