Working from home while parenting is hard. Lauren, an early literacy librarian and mom of twin boys, recently attended an online workshop for parents in the same situation.
There's been a lot of discussion in the media, at home, maybe even with friends and colleagues, about the new changes in our daily work and home lives. We at Arapahoe Libraries had discussions about what we're enjoying most and least at home; how we are meeting the needs of our family, pets, other relatives and ourselves; and how we are all managing and coping with the new situation of working with your family at home.
Try this: If your house was a sitcom, what would it be called? We came up with several silly ones, like A Quiet Storm, Full House and The Young and the Restless. What would yours be?
Many of us miss connecting with other adults and needed a break. We also wanted to learn from each other and know how others are managing. We got together in a group and came up with a "10 Dos and Don'ts" list to share.
- Disconnect and take breaks. Shut the computer off or put your phone in Do Not Disturb mode.
- Keep to the regular eating schedule you had before the pandemic. It's so tempting to allow the new normal to get in the way of routines, opens a new window.
- Pick your battles!
- Have grace and forgiveness for one another. Everyone is stressed out and it manifests in different ways.
- Shower and get dressed each day.
- Walk or exercise each day. Go outside and connect with nature.
- Cook together! Cooking brings families together and teaches valuable skills at the same time. Plus you may find your picky eaters more willing to eat a meal they made.
- Learn something new, board game or card game, craft, etc.
- Check on your neighbors or find a community service project to do from home.
- Laugh! A great way to get some giggles out is to join in the "howling" each day at 8 pm.
- Don’t have a short fuse. You may be running on fumes, which can lead to a short temper. And if it does happen, give yourself credit. There will always be another time to try.
- Don’t expect the day to go as planned. We all know kids make our days interesting!
- Don’t try to multi-task. We're used to handling many things at once when we're at work, but our kids need to know they'll have your full attention when you're not working.
- Don’t take on too many household tasks. If you're feeling guilty for not packing up the baby clothes or cleaning out closets, you're not alone. This is a stressful time and everyone handles stress differently. Give your mind and body time to adjust.
- Don’t try to do everything yourself. Ask for help!
- Don’t try to plan too much, with uncertainty it is hard to know what tomorrow brings. Flexibility is key here.
- Don’t neglect your “me” time, you need your own solitude to rejuvenate.
- Don’t compare yourself with other families! Again, every house is getting through in their own way.
- Don’t have same expectations you had pre-COVID-19.
- Don’t forget to breathe!
It was so nice having these conversations with those who were having similar experiences. We are reminded to take a breath and take it day by day, hour by hour. Even through it may feel like complete disorder and distraction, you're doing amazing things for your children and family simply by listening, playing and reading together.