10 Nov Working remotely as a mother of 3
Hats off and respect to all remote workers with small children! You rock!
First, I have to admit that I started working remotely when my kids already went to school and despite the general struggles you experience when working remotely, I usually have a quite normal workday schedule compared to parents with toddlers.
Secondly, forget that image of a remote worker sitting in bed in their pajamas with the laptop sipping cafe latte all day long.
Working remotely surely has a lot of advantages like hanging out the laundry or quickly emptying the dishwasher between two meetings (instead of having a coffee break as you might do in a non-remote workplace), but my workday is very well structured and I don’t wear pajamas as I’ve at least one video call a day 😀
My typical workday looks like this:
All in all, this sounds like a well-structured remote workday with enough time to fit in the kids and daily chores, BUT as real-life looks different, let me tell you more about what happens when the kids are home due to illness, quarantine, lockdown, or whatever reason…
First, I still get up at 5:30 a.m. and try to get as much work done as possible before they get up, then I’ll have a short (30 minute) break to prepare breakfast and have a chat and discuss their plans. Usually, they get lots of tasks from school to do at home, but I’ve to help (at least my youngest son) to prepare his work schedule. So, during the lockdown, we did the (school) timetable on Sunday evenings planning in several breaks during the day where he was allowed to either watch ‘school’ TV or play lego or spend some time outside. The older ones are already in high school and I trusted them to do their own schedules.
Additional to their timetables, I always informed them about my timetable. Of course, I tried to align our lunch (and other) breaks, but I also let them know when I have meetings where they are only allowed to disturb if it’s a life-or-death matter.
Unfortunately, we have a different understanding of what a life-or-death matter is and so it happened that all 3 of them burst into my office at once where I was in a video call and they started shouting at each other because they were fighting over the last muffin🙈 Thus, it’s always good to let your colleagues know that first, you have children, and second, that they sometimes don’t behave as expected 😉
Here are my personal tips for working remotely with kids (at home):
- get the best internet available for your area as everyone will need it at the same time for online learning, video calls, watching youtube, working
- print out a big red STOP sign or similar ⛔️ to put on your (office) door to signal them (physically) that they can’t come in and take it down if they can come in again 😀
- discuss everyone’s schedule on the round family table
- plan breaks for everyone and don’t forget yourself!
- get up early to head out early
- tell your colleagues that you’ve kids at home
- give your kids small tasks to do like taking out the trash or setting the table
- don’t stress yourself 🧘♀️
If you had any doubts that working remotely can work in the long term, I hope I could eliminate these? I’m sure it might not be the right thing for everyone – just try it and you will know🚀❤️ 🦸♀️
For further reading, I can recommend the following: