For some of us, it may be a nightmare come to life, but if you are opting to stay at home and work, while also trying to raise a child, it’s harder than you ever imagined. Sometimes it’s necessity more than anything that facilitates our needs to work at home, maybe you cannot afford a babysitter, or maybe you want to be closer to our children. But whatever the reason, the one thing that will help you to survive this, physically, and emotionally, is to implement structure. Lots of workers now do their dealings at home, whether they are running a business, or are just remote working. And, lots of people use the cliché that they go to work to get a break from being a parent, so what is the key to working at home with a young child? The answer is structure. Let’s break it down before you break down.
Of course, it would be foolish to say that all you need to do is to implement a structure, and your children will fall in line and respect your work, but it is never going to happen! But by implementing a working pattern, you don’t need to feel like everything will crumble. A routine isn’t just vital for you, but it’s vital for your children, more on that later. But there’s no skirting around the issue, if you have important work to do, you need to break it down into manageable, and, more importantly, small tasks. Let’s say you’ve got a proposal to do, the main components of writing a proposal will mean doing the research, solidifying your main points, and then drafting the proposal. Let’s break down these three aspects, so, firstly, the research, this needs to be done when you have peace and quiet. This is when you will do most of your writing, albeit in your mind, in other words, preparing. And in solidifying your main points, in other words, making notes, you can do this alongside your research. The writing itself may be done when the children are awake. Because you have done the difficult parts prior to then waking up, the more minuscule tasks can be done bit by bit, such as editing or changing a word here and there. Now, here is an essential tool to get onboard if you are stuck with mountains of work: voice typing! This has been a major lifesaver, because in trying to type with a young child on your lap, it’s physically impossible! So, in cuddling your child while trying to write that proposal, it can be done easily. So, the best way to break this down is to do the tasks that require intense concentration when your children are asleep, regardless of what time this may be. You have settled your child into a routine, so you know when they are going down for naps, or are going to sleep all night. By doing the most difficult tasks when they are asleep, odds and ends can be completed while they are awake.
Your Child’s Structure
Their routine is paramount, and, in fact, it’s more important than your working day. So, either you’ve been working at home since your child was born, or you’ve started to work at home full time, either way, their routine has been well and truly set. Unfortunately, these routines can change, but in learning how to multitask, you’ve got to break out the bad boys to keep them occupied, in other words, entertainment! You need to find the appropriate times when they will stay still, and yes, this may mean putting an episode of Dora The Explorer on the iPad so they will sit still, and, the great thing with something like Netflix is that you know how long an episode can be. So, if they can sit still for a full episode, that means you got 28 minutes, so, prioritize what you can do in that time, either for yourself or for your child. If it’s got to a point where they will sit happily in their high chair and can feed themselves, that means you’ve got the perfect opportunity to run the bath, brush your teeth, and get your laptop up and running, with all of the relevant windows opened up and ready to rock. The trick is in using your child’s routines to make life easier for you as the day goes on. This may mean a lot of rushing around at the beginning, but then gradually your day will get easier. And one of the big secrets of multitasking while working as a parent, bathe with your child! It kills two birds with one stone, and you know they are set up for the day, and that you are clean, but also, you’ve spent some quality time with them. But, the trick is to make sure everything is all laid out prepared, from the baby shampoo to the clothes to the diapers, and everything they need, as well as you need. So, in multitasking, you are going to set yourself up for a better day. Yes, it can be very difficult first thing in the morning, especially if your child isn’t very happy, but stick to the routines. This creates a sense of order for them and for you. So, this may help them get back on track if they’re having a difficult morning.
When Your Child Doesn’t Want You To Work
This is a major reality of working at home. Sometimes, your child will only have to see the laptop, and they will throw a tantrum, and these days can be the most difficult ones, especially if they are not very well. This may mean you won’t get much done at all. And the last thing you would want to do yourself, when you are so exhausted after looking after them, especially if they are teething or have a cold, is work. And this is why finding shortcuts are incredibly beneficial at this point. Much like the aforementioned voice typing, but also by doing little tasks here and there, you are, at least, progressing in the right direction. It’s very difficult when you are working at home, and you’ve got a child to look after, you are working two jobs, sometimes concurrently. And this can have a major effect on your well-being. This is why sometimes you need to bite the bullet and say to yourself “I need a break.” This isn’t always an option, but if you have urgent tasks that need doing, this is when you need the support of family or loved ones around. Many working mothers and entrepreneurs may feel inclined to take everything on, but the fact of the matter is, we are all human. Sometimes it will be impossible to get anything done. But, look at the size of the task; can you break it down into more manageable chunks? If so, what needs doing first? Or, can it be done in the space of a few hours? If so, it’s time to offload your child to the grandparents.
Of course, working with a child at home means you are multitasking for most of the day. This can be very overwhelming, and this is why it’s important for you to embrace downtime. Lots of people find it difficult to switch off at the end of the day after being so worried about their child, but also worrying about a project being due on time. And it’s vital that you look after yourself, because if there is a point where you get stressed or overwhelmed, this will impact your ability, not just to work, but to be a parent. This means actually shutting off your brain at times. Embrace that bit of trash TV, order that takeaway once in a while, these moments that will help you decompress and help you to work better because you have fully recharged. Structure is the main thing when it comes to working at home with a child, and it can be stressful feeling that everything has to be mapped out. But this is the main way you are going to survive this. It’s not an easy task, but it can definitely be done!