Working from home with kids is a new normal for a lot of us. And not by choice! If you would have told me six months ago that I will be working my full time job from home while ‘homeschooling’ my kids – I would have told you that you are absolutely crazy. And yet, here we are.
I have been working from home for the past 5 years, so this concept is not new to me. However, when you add kids to the mix, everything changes. And we have to adjust our expectations.
Let’s talk about five expectations about working from home with kids that we absolutely have to let go of.
YOU WILL BE ABLE TO GET EVERYTHING DONE JUST LIKE BEFORE
The very first expectations that you need to let go of is your belief that you will be able to get everything done just like before. We all know that it’s a lie but we still pretend that we can – we are supermoms after all. I know I had that expectation for about a week. I thought that I could just carry on like before with small adjustments.
Well, after a week of working from home with my kids being home, I was just simply overwhelmed. More so mentally than physically. It takes a lot of energy to juggle those two responsibilities. Of course, some days go really well, kids stay preoccupied with their school work and play nicely while you work.
But let’s be real here. There are also a lot of days when everything is going wrong. Kids are having a hard time with school work and need more of your time to explain things to them. Your younger ones are having a meltdown after a meltdown. And you have a work deadline that you are trying to meet at the same time.
So no, you will not be able to get everything done as before. The time where you can dedicate your undivided attention to work or home are basically on hold. You rarely get that anymore. This is why I had to implement some changes to my morning routine to stay productive.
Our environment has changed a lot! And we have to adjust our expectations on what we can and cannot do. Concentrate on your priorities each day and let go of everything else. We will get back to normal at some point. And when we do, we can re-evaluate and refocus. But for now, give yourself some grace.
NONE OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD RULES WILL CHANGE WHEN WORKING FROM HOME WITH KIDS
The expectation that none of your household rules will change might need to be adjusted. I’m not talking about changing anything related to your values. But just the house rules that you had before the quarantine has started.
Especially on the work from home days when you are busy working on your assignments. You have to be flexible to survive and stay sane!
For example, one of the rules in my house is that when I say ‘no’ to my kids about having something, whining about it won’t change my mind. But it’s easier said than done when you are in the middle of a meeting and your preschooler starts to scream that she really wants a piece of chocolate.
Is it the best parenting moment when I cave it really quickly so I can continue on with my meeting without a screaming child in the background?
Of course not!
But I started to choose my battles!
I will take some time afterwards to address the situation but at that moment, I chose to break my own rule. And I don’t really feel guilty about it either! I feel like we are all in survival mode some days.
YOU WILL SPEND MORE TIME WITH KIDS
Another expectation we have to let go of when working from home with kids is that we will finally spend more time with kids. After all, they are home all the time. We will be there for every question, for every milestone, and for every moment throughout the day. And most of the after school activities have been cancelled as well (unless some can be conducted virtually).
All this makes us think that we will have all this time to spend with our kids. But that is a huge misconception!
Because when you are working from home with kids – you are basically concentrating on work and kids tend for themselves for the most part. You are with them but not really mentally present. At least not for the majority of the work day.
Which is why you have to determine how to spend more quality time with them after work and on the weekends to compensate for the lack of it during the work week.
Which leads me to the next point.
YOUR WORK-LIFE BALANCE WILL FINALLY BE WHAT YOU WANT IT TO BE
The expectation that your work-life balance will be finally what you want it to be is something we definitely have to let go of. We are in a situation where work-life balance expectations need to be significantly adjusted.
Depending on your work schedule, workload, and position, you will have to make some adjustments to make sure that your work gets done and that you still spend quality time with your family.
Like I have mentioned above, we are spending very little time with kids during the work day. To compensate, we really need to decide on some blocks of time during our evenings and on the weekendswhere we give our kids some undivided attention. They need this more than ever!
When they were going to school or daycare, they had people who were paying a lot of attention to them. But now, they have to adjust to a new routine where they are doing a lot of things by themselves because mom and dad have to work.
Your work life balance will look differently every day, but you need to decide on some general priorities and strive each week to fill your cup in both of those areas of your life. The difference is that the size of the cup will not be the same as it was before quarantine. And keep in mind that some weeks will be going great while others will be challenging.
YOUR KIDS WILL GET THEIR WORK DONE QUICKLY
The next expectation that we need to let go of while working from home with kids is that they will get their school work done quickly and will be able to spend a lot of time playing and enjoying themselves. And that would mean that you will be able to better concentrate on your job.
However, this is not always true. This is the misconception that I had when I first saw the school work schedule from our district. The number of assignments was not long and they seem to be very straightforward to me. And it fit nicely into our Daily Kids Schedule.
However, what I forgot to take into consideration is that kids are used to a school routine when doing those assignments. Their teachers know how to give them instructions so they are working quickly and efficiently. That is not the case with remote learning.
For example, my son’s least favorite subject is writing, which before I thought he really enjoyed doing because he makes his own books at home. It turns out that he is not a fan of being told the topic he needs to write about – he prefers to write about his own things.
Since there is a short writing assignment each day, I thought it would be a breeze. And he wanted to save that for the end of the day. What I have learned is that it was a really bad idea because at the end of the day he was too tired to do something so creative.
So we have made a rule that writing assignments need to be done first. But that took us a week to figure out.
We don’t know our kids’ learning likes and dislikes as much as we thought we did. So it will take some time to figure it all out – both for us and for our kids. So don’t expect school work to be done really quickly. It’s all new to them as well.
What are the expectations that you had to let go of once you started working from home with kids? Let me know in the comments!