Remote work has become the new normal for millions in the U.S. and beyond. For those still commuting to the workplace, remote workers may seem to be having the best of both worlds: income and career mobility combined with flexibility and family time. But many remote workers, especially those with small children, are not quite experiencing paradise.
Remote work comes with its own set of challenges both to productivity and overall well-being, even if there isn’t a baby or a toddler in the picture. Considering how many remote workers are experiencing burnout, the stress on those who are also tending small children is even greater. The following article from Pickup Sports aims to help stressed-out parents find a healthy balance between their working and home lives.
Healthy work-life boundaries are essential
While we often emphasize work-life balance, the rise of remote work has highlighted the need for work-life boundaries. It’s not simply about dedicating appropriate amounts of energy and time to both work and life; it’s also about making sure that work and life don’t bleed into each other to the point of never allowing you to focus only on one. Without boundaries, you can never be fully mindful and present in the moment or give either work or family the focus and dedication they need.
What to do if you’re unhappy in your career choice
You’ve worked hard to establish healthy work-life boundaries, but find you’re still unhappy in your job. While not unusual, this can be a stressful and discouraging situation. Fortunately, parents can tap into flexible educational opportunities that help them shift their careers. Earning an online teaching degree, for example, could be just the ticket for achieving your goals. Teaching degrees through institutions like WGU offer tremendous flexibility, whether you aim to become an elementary educator or a college professor. Choosing a program that allows you to set the pace means being able to maintain that delicate balance between work and home you’ve established, yet still allows you to reach your goals.
How to achieve this as a parent who works remotely
Setting good work and life boundaries at home becomes extra difficult when one is caring for a small child. Obviously, a parent can’t simply walk away from their infant or toddler and close the door — nor are they guaranteed the time they need to dedicate exclusively to completing tasks. You will likely be multitasking more than what’s ideal, working with a baby on your lap and answering emails while trying to make supper. If you are obsessing with keeping life and work separate, this isn’t going to be possible all the time. You need to accept a certain amount of overlap. Nonetheless, with the right mindset, you can still keep the boundaries clear.
Have designated areas in your home
Sure, sometimes you’ll have to bring your child to work and sometimes you’ll have to bring your work home, but if ‘home’ and ‘work’ are in distinct physical spaces, it will be easier to keep them separate when time and circumstances allow. Keep these spaces clean and organized as much as possible since clutter tends to provoke anxiety and makes it harder to complete routine tasks.
Also set these spaces up to prepare for the inevitable overlap. A bouncy seat or safety bed in the office area will make it easier for you to keep an eye on your child while also tending to work. Phone apps to facilitate work correspondence will help you stay on top of your job when you can’t avoid bringing it into your home space. And of course, always keep every area of your house baby-proofed, even those reserved for work.
Put a little extra time into self-care
If you are being run ragged by all your competing obligations, it can help to set aside a few minutes out of each day simply for yourself. If you have a partner who can assist with childcare, this will be easier. If not, use nap time or screen time as an opportunity to do something simply for your own pleasure, such as enjoying a hot tea while listening to calming music or doing a relaxing craft.
If finding a moment alone seems truly impossible, another option is to involve your kids in the background of your self-care time. For instance, by exercising alongside them, you’ll not only get to enjoy a workout, you’ll also help encourage your kids to be more active. Better still, giving them a starter kit from Pickup Sports will help them discover an activity they love, not to mention an active hobby that will keep them busy while you enjoy some much-needed self-care!
Though working remotely while tending to children can be hard, the fact remains that it does allow you more time to enjoy your baby or toddler during those special first years. Focusing on the positive from day to day will help you get through the more challenging moments. Don’t hesitate to reach out to trusted loved ones if the responsibilities get overwhelming.
This post was written by Janice Russel of Parentingdisasters.com