I would love to tell you that we’ve got this #Mompreneur thing all figured out, but the truth is: every day is different and most days – we barely touch our (never-ending) to-do list.
And I truly feel this is the truth for most moms (or dads) who work from home – if they tell you otherwise, they’re full of shit …
Between the 50 snack requests, nap attempts, and being bossed around by a mini version of myself, to actually be able to sit and focus on something for longer than 5 minutes isn’t happening. If I even THINK about making a phone call I get yelled at and she will cry the entire time I’m on the phone, so I don’t even bother anymore. If I absolutely have to make a call, you better bet that I am hiding somewhere out of earshot and I’m off the phone as quickly as possible.
But I get it – she doesn’t understand that Mom runs a business and has things in her life other than her to tend to. It’s been amazing having her in daycare for both her and I, as she can boss other people around (HA!) and has other kids to play with, and I can get my work done and then have the time to play with her once she’s home and not be worrying about #AllTheThings I didn’t get done that day.
But here’s the tricky part – Covid has ruined daycare for me. I know that sounds selfish and I don’t mean it to be – I’m thankful we’ve stayed healthy and were able to get vaccinated right away to add some protection to our family, but now she can’t even go to daycare if she has a runny nose or if she coughs. So this has made our Fall a bit tricky! From the end of September to mid-November, I can count on one hand how many days she’s been at daycare – no joke! She’s had never-ending colds which also forced us to reschedule her surgery (now scheduled for the end of November). Which also brought about a new set of challenges, in that she can’t be sick for TWO WEEKS leading up to surgery! So naturally, she’s still at home with me for an additional two weeks, after her cold has all cleared up.
With all of this said, we’ve picked up a few tricks we’d like to share if you’ve got littles at home with you and are struggling to also make your business work. Trust me, we feel you – this is HARD!
- Get up before them. This has been a game-changer for our sanity with even having 15 minutes up before them to enjoy a HOT cup of coffee before the chaos of the day begins. If you’re able to get up an hour or two before them, even better – tackle a few critical items for that day when you now you have some uninterrupted time.
- Encourage them to play by themselves for periods of time. We’re still struggling with this and some days are much easier than others, but getting them to a point of being able to play independently for even 30 minutes can be a nice pocket to check emails or check-in with clients/team members.
- Establish Routines. Our household functions so much better on routines, and I’ve talked about these before. This is no exception for Remi, as she absolutely functions better with structure. On the days she’s home with me we run through a bit longer of a morning routine which includes making her bed, making my bed, getting changed, and talking a bit about what’s happening that day.
- TV Time is OKAY! We’re the first to admit that we probably give way more screen time than we should, but you know what – IT’S FINE. There are days where we just can’t adult and we resort to movies and shows to keep us from losing our minds. It isn’t every day, so we try our best to cut ourselves some slack. Especially when you aren’t planning on having your littles home for such an extended period of time, you just need to roll with it and take it day by day!
- Get them involved in chores. Obviously, this depends and will vary by age, but even at 3.5 she loves sweeping and “dusting” and will sometimes sit on the counter and help me bake or cook. But we’re instilling that having a home and keeping it clean takes work and that meals don’t just magically appear. Also, I’m secretly hoping she’ll become a chef or a baker when she’s older…! But she will absolutely be helping with Christmas baking this year.
- Get outside. A nice change of scenery and pace is always a nice reset button. With that said, if you have a kid like mine, you’ll spend 10 minutes getting them ready to head outdoors to play in the snow and after 5 minutes the meltdowns start and they’re screaming “DONE!”. One of our tricks is to head out with the sled and do a quick lap around the block with the dog (or two if they’ll put up with it!) as the dog is a great distraction and it’s quick enough that there’s a good chance you’ll be home before they start yelling.
- Have some backup plans in place. There’s no harm in having backup crafts, games, activities, or movies handy for when things just aren’t working. We’re learning very quickly over here that rhyme + reason isn’t a thing for threenagers so rarely will things go as planned. Try and have a couple of things planned for them on the days they’re home, but just roll with it if they aren’t in the mood for a certain craft or activity – onto the next!
- Sick Plans. If they aren’t feeling well and are home unexpectedly, think about what you enjoy doing when you’re not feeling well. Chances are, it’s curled up in bed with some light snacks and a couple of movies. Take that opportunity to cuddle up with them (but keep a distance so you don’t get sick, too!) and turn on a movie and just accept that they need this downtime. Likely as much as you do.
If you absolutely have to work while they’re home, try creating some “special” activities for them to do in the same area (or nearby) as you. By having some fun toys that they don’t see often or if they’re willing to sit and colour for a bit (lucky you!), you might be able to get some work done. If you’ve got a little similar to mine, bring them into your work space and let them roam freely. Hide anything you really don’t want destroyed and this should keep them occupied for at least a half-hour, maybe longer! Remi’s favourite thing is to reorganize my books and drawers. And really, she’s doing no harm to anything and I get her to help me clean it up after so it all works out in the end!