Scary Mommy's Managing Editors On How To Work From Home With Kids
You want some tips on how to work from home with kids? We’ve got TIPS!
Since the recommendations for social distancing have started, there have been a lot of tips and tricks circulating about how to best succeed while working from home with kids; impressive multi-colored chore charts, vanities converted to organized desk space, beautifully packaged pre-portioned healthy snacks, dressing for Zoom recommendations — you name it, we’ve seen it.
And all we have to say is… LOL.
Look parents — it’s survival time. Don’t let anyone guilt you into thinking you’ve got to have any of this remotely figured out, especially if you are a working mom. So here are some REAL tips on how to make it through a workday, at home with kids.
1. Make sure all screens are charged.
Screen time recommendations were not made by pediatricians for guidelines during a pandemic. If you are still trying to stick to these, just LOL why? Yes, make your kids take breaks — you don’t want little zombies walking around the house with spasming irises. But give yourself a break, too. We’re all giving our kids waaaaaaaaay too much screen time right now and anyone who doesn’t admit this is a damn liar. Charge. The. Screens.
2. Stock snacks at kid-height so they can reach their own stuff.
Mom, I’m hungry. Mom can I have some crackers? Mom, I need a snack!
Get. It. Yourself.
3. Abandon all hope of a clean house.
Your house is going to be a mess. Just accept it and get over it. Or force your kids to finally learn how to do some chores (which will undoubtedly be done wrong and half-assed so accept this, too). Anyone who thinks there is all this extra “time” now to keep a clean house does not work a full time job while trying to “homeschool” and keep a brood of kids fed, a pantry stocked, and everyone relatively calm. Embrace. The. Mess.
4. Remember you’re not a teacher.
Speaking of homeschooling, just realize your limitations right now. First of all, your kids are going to act like they can’t do anything without your help. In most cases, this will not be true. Most kids are probably acting like they’ve never seen numbers or words right now, because they know we will walk them through everything.* Fight the urge to do your kids’ work for them. Most schools are being amazing and offering resources like Google classroom, Raz Kids, Epic, and a bunch of other cool interactive ways for your kids to learn. Let them navigate that stuff.
(*We understand that some kids do consistently need extra help – so sending those parents some extra strength through this time.)
5. Duct tape.
Okay, we realize this sounds real dark. And it will be… ON YOUR COMPUTER MONITOR. Who needs the pressure of being presentable from the waist up for work meetings? Not you, mom! Cover your camera in tape. We know, you’re thinking — “Why not just disable the camera?” See numbers one through four above. You are overwhelmed, you’ll forget, and everyone will see what your eyebrows really look like. We don’t need that pressure right now. If you plan on using your camera again you should use something will light adhesive though — like stickers or regular tape.
6. Love on your kids!
You know what your kids need right now? Love. Comfort. Give them some time to write about how they’re feeling about being home. Make some video journals that they can look back on. I tried to explain the context of how huge this moment is to my kids — they are six and nine. I told them about watching the Challenger with my classmates and living through the 1989 California earthquake. I explained to them that I still remember how I felt to this day.
None of us know what we’re doing right now. There is no guidebook for this. You will not be able to be as productive as you were before this weight was on all of our shoulders. All you need to do is survive — and make sure your kids feel loved and comforted while you’re figuring that out.
The rest we can deal with after there is not a pandemic going on.
Stay healthy. xx
Maria Guido and Samantha Angoletta are two of the women who keep the editorial wheels turning at Scary Mommy. They are both moms who work from home very regularly — Maria normally commutes into NYC twice a week (not now, of course!) and works the other three days from home and Samantha works entirely from home, remotely, from Portland, Oregon. Oh, and Samantha has four kids — including an infant and a very spirited toddler. So yes, consider the above expert advice.
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