Working from home with kids is….

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Photo by Ralph W. lambrecht on Pexels.com

I love my job. And I love my kids. But those two things really aren’t supposed to meet. The first week that things got real with the corona virus, my husband and I were both still expected at the office- but our daycare had closed, along with all the other daycares. So we happily made a schedule to accommodate time in the office and childcare, with me working 6am-2pm and he 3 pm-11 pm. I kinda won out on that one in the sleep department, admittedly.

Week two brought changes as the days progressed, moving us both toward working from home. By this morning, the word was that working from home is not just an option, but the Preferred Option. So here we are. All together, except for one day a week when he still has to be on site, and I put in a full work day with two small children at home.

Last week we tried getting up about 5 am and working until 9- the kids get up about 8 right now, since they are going to bed a little later. Benefits of the world being a bit upside down. Then we switched off through the day to get some things done, but still found ourselves with work to do after they were in bed. That was tough!

This week we’ll try a new plan- switching off larger chunks of the day.  We’ll see how that works. If anyone has this figured out, do let me know.

Ultimately, working from home with kids is a lot of things. it has its drawbacks- we are essentially trying to fit two completely different roles into one entire day. We  did this before, but in defined blocks, in separate spaces. The transition can be hard for the kids, who are not used to the new boundaries on parents attention during parts of the day at home. It can be pretty much a tornado some days, and by the end of the day has often left me pretty bone tired.

However, it also reminds me how much time we spend away from them, and how quickly they grow. Its letting us teach them new things, like cooking, cleaning and laundry (that’s right kids, its not all Netflix and xbox! though let’s be real, there’s plenty of that too) and let us do new things together.

The best thing I have found? Since there is more time, the time feels both more and less precious. When I am working and not seeing as much of them, I find myself often hyper focused on them in the time we have. This last stretch of time has let some of the specialness wear off on all sides- and let us just co-exist as humans, as family, warts and all. It’s taught me not to worry so much about entertaining or activities for them as just engaging in whatever conversation comes up through the day. Its also reminded me of the value of boredom- nothing fires up a kids imagination like boredom. And nothing is more fun for a parent to listen to than two of your children playing together making things up as they go without all of the ways adults can sometimes encroach on kids play. Even more fun- listening to them fighting, resisting the urge to intervene too early and bearing witness to them using their social skills to figure it out not heir own.

Thats not to say we don’t do some structured things- but having more time just present together has allowed an interesting balance between this and other things to emerge.

What are your ups and downs of working from home, or just being home all together right now?

 

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