I get asked often, ‘How do you work from home with your daughter around?’ Simply said, I have never let myself believe it to be anything but possible.
We have routines, like many families do. Once we are ‘ready for the day,’ I spend quality, COMPLETELY focused time with my daughter before digging into work. I don’t touch my phone, take a call, or scroll through news. I have 20 minutes of focused play time. Me and her; playing, reading, doing a puzzle, etc. Of course, there are times when we are slow moving in the morning and we have to get out the door for something. But she is aware that if we don’t ‘get ready for the day’ efficiently, then we don’t have time to play before work or school starts.
We have our focused time after school as well (or nap time on days she doesn’t go to school). If I make sure this time happens, then she’s truly good-to-go on her own playing for a long time. This allows me to knock out some work related tasks or errands we may need to run without any behavioral issues or neediness. She will occasionally ask ‘mom will you play with me? can I have a snack? etc,’ but I just remind her that it’s time for me to work for a bit and for her to play on her own.
I include her in my work when possible. We will talk about what I’m doing and who I’m doing it for. She helps whenever possible and most definitely learns about new things daily! The property management work that I do is the perfect example. We both ask questions and find out how to do things anytime we are on a maintenance appointment or have a contractor fixing something on site.
Sometimes I just straight up multi-task. There are a few aspects of my work that I can get done while pretending to be a kitty cat or eating at her pretend restaurant. If I’m in the car I’ll listen to training recordings. And I even turn play dates into work dates.
Give them Independence.
I take the time to teach my daughter things she can do for herself. Not only because this helps me out, but it’s what is good for her! She gets herself ready in the morning, she can get her own drinks and healthy snacks. She picks up after herself whether it’s her toys or her plate and cup from a meal. Her doing these things rather than me gives me more time….it all adds up trust me!
I always make sure to have some ‘go to’ educational materials on hand for when the potential “need” arrises LOL. It does happen on occasion when I need to take a quick call and she’s feeling needy or I need to get a project knocked out, but it was play time. I have a few DVDs from Preschool Prep that we both really like and I have a couple apps on my phone like ABC Mouse that help relieve me from some mom guilt when utilizing electronics.
I utilize nap time to knock as much work out as possible, and I wrap up any loose ends after she goes to bed. Now that she’s in school part-time, it has allowed me to take on more work while she is there!
I did this a little differently when she was younger. I made sure to have some suggestions for play out and ready for her, or a project for her to tackle like puzzles, coloring, etc. More importantly, I didn’t work as much when she was younger and I did different types of work then as well to ‘make it work’. You can see an older post of mine talking about schedule changes here.
I feel good about the day when I am intentional about my time spent. We can lose little pockets of time here and there scrambling around, but with a schedule, plans and ideas in place, we can focus ourselves to different areas of our lives and feel fulfilled in each of them! You got this! It is possible!