This pandemic has overwhelmed parents and driven them to exhaustion. How so? Parents need to perform three jobs at a time – parenting, working from home, and homeschooling. So how exactly do we get to balance parenting and remote work?
Elkyra Park from Easy Parenting Hacks tells us how. Over to Elkyra…
As schools and offices close, we are forced to work while teaching our kids, which is something new for us. Unfortunately, this is the new reality that we all have to face today. And I know this because my little boy and I used to struggle with this “new normal”.
We start our day great and happy. But when afternoon comes, our relationship turns sour as we both get tired and lose our patience. Luckily, I was able to cope and manage with the help of friends who are in the same boat as I am. Here are the tips on how to balance parenting and remote work at home.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Challenges come and go when it comes to parenting. When we are required to wear many hats – from parent, to employee, to teacher – the stress can make us feel like we are drowning in responsibilities.
If you want to effectively manage parenting and working from home, you need to have a strong support system. For instance, confide or vent out your worries on other colleagues who are in the same situation as yours. That workmate will understand you because he or she can relate to your irks in growing your children and careers.
If you want, you can even build a community or support system among parents in your team or company. It can be as simple as an email chain or Viber group wherein you can share resources for struggling parents. Make this as your safe space to open up your thoughts and feelings during this uncertain time.
Lucky for me, I have a lot of parent friends who are also finding their way. Trading techniques and tips helped me survive.
In addition to this, talk openly to your spouse and other family members living with you. Talk to them about how difficult this time is and how important it is that your family sticks together. If possible, give everyone assignments to take your load off the house chores. For this one, I joined several Facebook groups to find tips about getting children to help with chores at home.
I also told my husband that this time is really tough for me. I cried, yes, I cried many times. Good thing my husband understood so he is helping around the house now, too. Communication is key here.
Don’t forget about you
Do you remember the oxygen mask rule when riding airplanes? Flight attendants often tell you to place your own mask first before assisting others. This rule is also applicable to our daily lives.
Put your own “mask” first. Take care of yourself first so you can take care of others. Eat, sleep, take lots of rest, boost your mental health, and do whatever it is that can recharge your energy. Self-care, not work or chores, should be your top priority today. Otherwise, you will not be able to perform your parenting and work duties if you are too stressed out.
I hide in the bathroom when I need a break or when I need to think hard. No, don’t feel sorry for me. This is really okay. The peace and quiet somewhat energises me. When I go out of the bathroom, I feel like a brand new person ready to combat whatever it is that life throws at me.
Assign a work area
Obviously, your office workspace looks different from where you are today – at home. The good thing about designating a work area at home is that it conditions your brain to correlate this space with your work. It keeps you productive.
It also teaches your family members at home that you are busy working, that you need to focus and that you should not be disturbed unless it is utterly important.
You can create a work area for kids who are currently homeschooling. It’s better if you synchronize everyone’s “work” schedule so that there are minimal disruptions.
Find beauty in adversity
Parents have different roles to play so it becomes more challenging than ever to stay strong today. But, always remember that parenting is tremendously fulfilling. You get to shape young minds and encourage them to become productive individuals in the future.
In addition to that, parenting makes you a better person. You will become more ambitious and career-driven because you want the best for your kids. In fact, they motivate you to be a better person.
Moreover, we learn about empathy from parenting. We can resonate with our kids’ feelings and thoughts, and learn more about life through their eyes. Believe me, there is so much to love about parenting and trying our best to give THE BEST for our children.
Draw strength from those thoughts when you feel like giving up when you feel like everything is too much. Apart from taking a sanity break, think of the future – of what your children will be like because of your effort and hard work. It will be all worth it.
Elkyra Park is a first-time mum who can no longer count how many baby products she has reviewed for her sanity and her son’s sake. She discusses the realities of parenthood and how to gracefully cope with the struggles over at easyparentinghacks.com.
Ah… working to achieve work-life balance in a different way… parenting in the age of COVID! A different take on an age old problem! Thanks for the tips.
I especially appreciated your focus on creating a space without disturbances. It’s more than just the mental break, sometimes it’s physical!
Of course, it’d be nice if we could get back to normal! 🙂