Guest article from Janice Russell at parentingdisasters.com
This past year, parents have had to make many changes and adjustments to their family life and work life. With more than a 44 percent increase in employees shifting to remote work while many daycares and schools shut down, some parents find themselves in a challenging situation: working from home with their children.
For some kids, this isn’t much of a headache. Older kids and teens are often in virtual school and are able to work independently for long stretches of time. But infants and toddlers are different. And, as many parents can attest, they are also more demanding.
Are you struggling with balancing remote work and parenting? You are not alone. Here is a quick and dirty survival guide from Parenting with Focus to help you manage these long days at work and at home.
Babywearing at a standing desk
Great for sleepy babies (or even awake ones), wearing your child in a wrap, sling, or carrier while standing at a desk lets you get a lot of work done while your baby gets the closeness and snuggles so important early on. If you are unsure about which carrier to get, look for babywearing groups on Facebook and ask for advice. And don’t feel like you have to splurge on a fancy standing desk — you can spend less than $40 on a laptop stand that sits on any flat surface.
Solo play in a safety zone
Give active crawlers and toddlers room to explore safely where you don’t have to watch them closely. You’ll need to stay in the room with them, but knowing there are no open outlets to poke at or small pieces to swallow, gives you the freedom to answer emails, approve timesheets, submit invoices, proofread documents, or take care of other somewhat mindless administrative tasks. Consider this as next-level babyproofing.
Comfortable, but professional clothing
Wear comfortable clothes that give your baby or toddler easy access to nursing, while also keeping you video-conference-ready at a moment’s notice. Wear nursing-friendly outfits like wrap tops and dresses, off-the-shoulder shirts, and layers. When all else fails keep a blazer nearby, one that you can put on to cover up common mom accidents — like spit-up — when the video starts ringing.
Align your routines
Get your baby or toddler on a routine that aligns with your work needs and vice versa. If your baby is sleeping every two hours, adjust your calendar openings so that people schedule meetings during regular nap blocks. For people who are more productive in the mornings, get up a little earlier so you can knock out a few projects before the kids even wake up.
Get the right equipment
Working remotely with a baby or toddler can go a lot easier if you get the right kind of technology, both for parents and professionals. Good quality Bluetooth earbuds or headphones will let you hear what’s happening in a meeting even if you need to be off-screen for your child. A baby monitor with multiple cameras can help you keep an eye on an older toddler playing in a different room. Use software and apps that you can run on your laptop, tablet, and smartphone, so you can work anytime you have a free moment.
Choose a new career
Your kids won’t be at home forever. Eventually, they’re going to start school, and you may want to prepare yourself for a new career. An online degree offers the opportunity to learn from home and work at a pace that allows you to handle the responsibilities of being a new parent. For instance, if you’d like to become a teacher, you can earn an online teaching degree in the program of your choice. Be sure to check the requirements in your state before enrolling.
Parents have enough on their minds and on their plates. Take some of the little things off and let go of some of that worry. When you take care of the small stuff, your time is freed up to tackle the big things.
Are you facing struggles as a new parent? Parenting with Focus offers paperbacks, videos, and audiobooks that can help hone your child-rearing skills!