Being a work from home mom can require serious flexibility.
Back in the spring, I took a job working remotely for a national organization. I had worked at an office primarily, and from home periodically as needed during Covid, and prior to that job, I worked hybrid. Working remotely has many benefits, including the flexibility to care for my son.
Four days a week, he is in school and goes to aftercare. I plan it so I can do a full day of work, and then when I pick him up, unless needed, I am done for the day and spend time with him and my husband. Perhaps you’re wondering about the 5th day of the work/school week. Well, on Fridays, we are home together in all our chaotic glory.
Today happens to be one of those Fridays that started way too early when my sweet boy woke up at 5:45 am. This is not the norm, so the morning has started off rough.
I set up my office space downstairs next to a window. But on Fridays, my workspace becomes the kitchen table. Here, I can oversee our living room and the kitchen and have one eye on my 4-year-old. Plus, he has easy access to me to chat, ask for help, or just sit next to me at the table.
I make a point to spend a few minutes one-on-one together every hour. This helps to alleviate seeking attention negatively. Fridays are also the day I rely on technology when a meeting is scheduled or a Teams call comes in. I grab the iPad and his headphones and explain I am getting on a call and need it to be quiet for a few minutes. Does it work? Nope, because he’s four and doesn’t understand time. Thankfully there is mute on my computer!
Going back to this particular day, I am set up at the kitchen table. As a meeting is going on, beyond my view of the computer screen, the living room is getting a makeover. The sofa pillows are all over the floor as well as the cushions, markers are thrown about, and a random box is out. But he’s playing quietly and happily, and he’s not aggravating the dogs.
It’s been a learning opportunity as a parent. How to manage my time and meetings during the week so that Fridays are less stressful because the distractions are endless. Just when I think he’s settled with food or milk, he needs assistance in the bathroom, or he’s gotten into something he knows he shouldn’t.
For the first two years of his life, he was home with my husband two days a week while I worked outside of our home. The challenges are the same yet different given his age and now his never-ending chatter. Nap time isn’t really a thing anymore, and I can’t stick him in a play-pen. I have to make a plan now, to meet his needs and keep myself on track with tasks I need to complete for work.
I wish I could tell you I have it all figured out to make it work. But the truth is, I don’t. Today was a nice, warmer day where I had the back door open to our patio, sat at our kitchen table, and watched him play in the dirt. I’ve taken a Teams meeting outside because that’s where he was wanting to play. I’ve scheduled meetings during his “rest time” in hopes he stays in his room for a couple of hours to concentrate. My house is a complete disaster with markers and construction paper as he was working on whatever craft project came to his imagination. Or he’s sat next to me to “work” as well with his notebook and pencil.
I know many parents were faced with this and much more when Covid hit, working from home, and trying to support their child in virtual learning. MY HAT’S OFF TO YOU! And how are you all doing, by the way?
I know next year I will miss having him with me. I’ll miss the fact he’s making me crazy with the TV on. I’ll miss the constant asking for glue, his crayons, or another snack. I’ll miss the slow mornings of making cinnamon rolls. I’ll miss the days of it just being the two of us learning together as mom and son. Each week I’ll try to remember to take a breath, and remember it’s not easy for him either, but we’re in it together, and I love it.