Since Monday 3/16/2020 I’m managing three jobs while home during the COVID-19 outbreak: my salaried day job, single parenting from 7ish-6ish, and teacher aide.
A bit of background, I work full time in finance, Dave’s in construction, and we have two kids, a kindergartener and a preschooler. My job instituted work from home and my children’s school is dismissed through the end of the month. Daycare is still open as of this writing. I decided my kids shouldn’t be around groups if one of us could be home. Dave’s work hasn’t instituted work-from-home yet.
Those who know me professionally and personally know that I’m very into planning, I keep a paper planner and obsess about to do lists, scheduling, and routines.
I’ve noticed a lot of working parents struggled this week and starting to search online for routines on the down-low during their workday. How are other working parents doing it? We all still need to work & kids need to be schooled, cuz if we don’t, we gonna have families outta jobs and kids as flunkies once this coronavirus outbreak is over.
ADVICE FOR WORKING (FROM HOME) PARENTS
First: Don’t sleep in unless it’s an actual PTO day, sick day, or the weekend. Wake up like you would when you would be commuting to the office.
Second: The heart of planning is anticipating interruptions. You will get them once kids are awake and when the rest of your team logins online. Since you’re not commuting for 30-120 minutes one way to the office, maximize that time by starting your workday much earlier. I highly recommend starting your workday 60-120 minutes before the kids wake up. This will be likely be before the rest of your colleagues login online too.
Third: Kids need to be fed adequately spaced meals during the day. I cannot emphasize this enough! When kids are not fed well, or way too late during the day, or a combo of both, they do not stay in good moods and can and will interrupt what you need to get done with work, let alone do their schoolwork/activities. Make scheduling their mealtimes #1 priority during this outbreak, like you would with meetings. Decide on times and stick to them.
Fourth: Go to bed on time. Get adequate sleep. Waking up early will not be effective if you don’t get enough sleep.
Last but not least: if you had PTO for Spring Break but DisneyWorld got closed or don’t want to risk grandparents getting sick, take the scheduled PTO anyway and rest at home. You will not regret this.
Here’s what I’ve been doing since Monday March 16, 2020
WEEKDAY SCHEDULE: WORK FROM HOME + KIDS AT HOME (3/16/2020-3/27/2020; M-F)
6:00: Wake up at the normal time I’d get up for work. 6am for me. Since I don’t have a need to dress up, I shower, brush teeth, wear something comfortable, walk over to the living room to login.
6:30: Begin the workday. I focus on my tasks and goals first. Emails are not the first thing I check.
7:30-7:45: Dave leaves for work. Girls wake up, potty, brush teeth & wash hands. May ask the girls to put on jacket, shoes, & socks if we are picking up breakfast. If staying home, they watch cartoons while I’m preparing breakfast.
8:00-8:30: I make their breakfast or head to their school to pick up a breakfast and take back home.
The Emergency Food Program is a nutrition program providing free meals to ALL children during a national emergency. I highly recommend all parents to find out more about this from their school district with locations and times. Cooking can be a huge challenge when you are profusely busy with work deliverables, and grocery shopping getting more difficult. It also forces you to be on a schedule with not forgetting to feed your kids. (8-9am breakfast, 11-1pm lunch). Look into this program when school is closed.
9:00-11:00: My oldest has two hours of assignments a day, not including homework. I work during this time. Youngest doesn’t have assignments like my oldest so I go to Twisty Noodle and print out activity sheets. She loves running from the kitchen to the office to grab the activity sheet from the printer.
11:00-11:30: Girls generally are hungrier at this time so we head to the school at 11am, and they begin eating around 11:30. Or I prep their lunch at home.
12:00-1:00: I send the girls outside in the back to play for at least 60 minutes. Still working.
1:30-3:00: Here I would get my oldest to complete school assignments if she didn’t complete in the morning, do homework, play downstairs or quiet time. Working and finishing up any other work requests.
3:30-4:00: Girls take shower, eat a snack. I wrap up the workday unless there’s a meeting at 4pm.
4:00-5:00: Let them watch cartoons, and begin preparing dinner.
6:00: Dinner, Dave arrives home. Relax, clean up a bit, blog, watch TV etc.
8:00: Girls in bed
10:00: Me in bed.
What do you think about this schedule? Each family is different so their needs and schedule will be different. Have an idea or schedule that’s working well for you and your family? I’d love to hear it in the comments!