Tips for Working from Home {as a Parent}

Snow days, kids get sick, holidays, long weekends…there are about a million reasons why kids miss school and stay at home.  It’s fun when it’s a day off school, but unscheduled events can be quite stressful, especially if you work from home like me.  I actually love having my kids home, cherish it even because I know that the time is fleeting and will be gone all too soon.  However, when it’s summer vacation or a planned holiday, it’s just that: planned.  When my child starts vomiting at night or unexpected weather arrives, it’s just that: unexpected.  The difference is huge.  When days are known, I can plan for them, work ahead, work around the break.  When it’s sudden, I can’t possibly plan for it and I miss deadlines, or at the very least get behind.

That’s why working from home can prove quite challenging.  While each care giver/parent has his or her own needs and preferences, here are some tips for balancing home and work that should apply for all with kids at home.

  • Be sure to treat work like work- it’s not a hobby, nor is it 24/7.  It works best for me to try to get my quota in Monday through Friday, though if I have to take time off during the week unexpectedly, I make up for it on the weekend.  This will vary based on how you’re paid- you may need certain hours or it may be a task-finished kind of payment.
  • Use a sound machine.  Using a sound machine will help you tune out kid noise, as well as other distractions at home.  {You can obviously still use a baby monitor to keep track of little ones.}
  • Use the kids’ “down time.”  I don’t like working while they’re awake for so many reasons; thus, I maximize their awake time by being present with them and I maximize my work time by giving them sleep or something special.  Usually I work during nap time or after they to bed, or both, dependent upon how much time I need.    I’ve found it works best to put the older kids down for naps when the baby goes down.  If the older kids aren’t napping anymore, I give them room time or movie time.
  • Schedule some play dates away from home or swap mom duties with a trusted friend so you each have some quality down time.
  • Hire a babysitter.  If your work pays enough, it’s often worth paying a fun babysitter your kids enjoy to spend a day or two with.  Remember to hire someone you trust who is good with kids, not just okay with them.  Your kids will look forward to a good sitter and dread a boring one.

Working from home while still being a mom can be tricky- try these tips for making it work when kids are home.