Staying Sane As A Work At Home Parent

I have a confession; I’m mostly a sane work at home parent.

I believe that there are a lot of women and men out there like me clutching onto their sanity right now while juggling family, educating our kids and our daily work requirements, and all the other responsibilities we have.

If you’ve been a WAHM or Dad for more than a nanosecond, you know the predicament we face. We work from home so we can spend more time with our children and this is great in theory, but what happens is we end up with no defined work time, so it becomes a struggle to spend with our families.

Or maybe you’ve never worked at home untill the recent social distancing caused by the Covid 19.

When you hear other people say “it must be so nice to work from home,  you can spend so much time with your children all day” you either roll on the floor laughing or smile manically. If only it were this simple! Finding a balance between work and home life can be a constant struggle especially when work IS home.

I remember when I worked out of the home in an admin job. I had two separate and distinct compartments in my life. There was the room, where I could work in peace and be productive. And, then there was home, where I was able to focus on my children and have family fun. I had working hours, and also family time.

Now, I have the home-office melting pot, an odd melding of home and office. The line between the two is unclear. My office is now an extension of the home. And, home is becoming an extension of the office.

Because of this dilemma, I find that I’ve got the focus of a gnat. Here is a snapshot of my work day.

I wake up, grab a tea, and log in to check email. 30 messages!
No problem. Let’s tackle that first.

First email – Dear Sally, I was wondering if you might be interested in…”Milk in my sippy cup, pretty please my lovely mummy”

Whoa!! Brain switch! I turn, look at my little girl who just crawled out of bed. I hug this rosy-cheeked cherub and get the milk. Then, I sit back and attempt to read my email.

Hi, Sally, I was wondering if you might be interested in my new xyz selling… “look at the new Lego robot I built!”

Switch again. Turning in my chair and see my son, his big eyes twinkling, face beaming proudly, holding up his Lego creation. I ooh and ahh over the invention that can climb the walls. I tell him how creative he is.

I go back to work and try to get as much done as I can, between the interruptions, the dog, the cat, drum practice, dinner, baths and bedtime stories. Often, late into the night, you will find me still working, while watching late night Netflix. Staggering to bed, to only to start again, before the kids wake in the morning.

Do you see the pattern? Is there any wonder that I’m mostly-sane? Look at your days, and I’ll bet they are almost identical to mine.

Despite the whiplashed hours and days, and all the distractions, I love being a WAHM. The honest truth is, I wouldn’t trade my job for any corporate gig ever again.

However, as I meet more and more work at home parents, it’s becoming clear that I’m not alone in my struggles. Other mums and dads out there are setting expectations that just don’t match reality. So what can we do about it? I found these tips really helped me claim back my sanity! 

1. Reclaim your office space:

If you’re lucky enough to have one room that you can dedicate to work, stake your claim now. Clean out all toys and non-work items and make your home-office a real office. Your office is your turf. So protect it. IKEA has wonderful office solutions hat won’t break the bank.

2. Buy a timer:

If your children understand the concept of time, get a timer. It’s a life saver. Then the next time you need to work, tell the kids that you’re setting the clock for 30 minutes. Agree on a pact that If they give you that half an hour, reward them with quality time together doing something fun.

3. Check your email twice a day:

Checking your email far too frequently is actually a major factor that can contribute to diminished productivity. Check twice a day, and follow this handy flow chart for helping you to bust through all the unread messages in your inbox.

Every time you open a new email, ask yourself 3 basic questions:
1. Is this relevant?
2. Can I solve this?
3. Will it take less than 2 minutes of my time to deal with this?

By following his handy flow chart, you’ll develop a new way to bust through your inbox more efficiently.

Set these three simple goals this month to reclaim your work areas and time and productivity and you’ll take a step closer to being relaxed, happy and satisfied Work At Home Mum or Dad!

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Diary of is a regular blog, by a regular Greenwich mum. Sharing experiences as a local parent (and member of this website) she’ll be writing about everything and anything. And being completely anonymous – you never know – you could have stood next to her in the Post Office or behind her in Cafe W…