The water ran red with…ink as I washed her hands in the sink
Yes, I had gotten too engrossed in my laptop, trying to work from home with the children around can sometimes be impossible!! I had taken my eye off of my little 2 year old girl, Grace, a second too long. She had been very quiet for Mummy, what a good girl I thought! She had coloured herself in completely with red pen! Hands, legs, face, everything! Washable ink my A*%&!
After Grace was scrubbed up, and came out of the bathroom a new hue of girly pink where the ”washable” ink had not completely washed off, and the tiles had been scrubbed to get the “washable” ink out of the grout, I realised that she has just turned 2 and now has a mind of her own to dream up all sorts of mischief. I love that she is developing into a little independent character, but maybe not when I need to send a couple of emails or finish something off!
As I sat down and admired the rest of her artistic endeavours on the sitting room, I realised that with my first child (now 7 year old Archie), I did a lot more to keep him entertained while I worked when he was small. So, I got the dusty old brain fired up and the old tricks I used to use have really helped! Plus I found a few well researched tricks online for good measure too!
How to work from home with the children around
1. Get them their own work space next to you!
Get a small kiddy size desk and put it next to yours, (this is my little girl, “working” beside me at home). They can then feel grown up with you, you can see what they are doing and they have their own space to draw, paint and craft whilst being close to you. No one feels left out!
2. Be a Laptop Mummy!
Unplug your Laptop and set up outside in the garden (Weather Permitting!) Then the kids can roam around, playing in the sand pit, trampoline, play with a ball or just a bucket of water seems to be endless entertainment! Everyone is getting some fresh air and no one has to feel guilty! You might even get a tan if you’re lucky!
3. Get Super Organised.
If you are lucky and they still have their afternoon nap, get focused! Spend the day with them, do the Laundry together (yes they love to “help”), but have a plan. Be clear about what you are going to be doing as soon as their little eyes close for that nap or when Grandma takes them out for an hour or so… and then get on it like an Ninja! Get straight to what you need to do and get it done while you can! Be primed and ready to get going on it!
4. Bring in some help every week.
Ask Grandma, Aunts, Uncles and (don’t forget) Daddy to take the kids out for a Morning or a day regularly every week. It is really good for the kids to grow a bond with other relatives regularly, and it makes the relative feel important and privileged to be asked, so don’t feel that you are being a pain!
The trick is to ask for some time regularly, like every Tuesday Morning for example. It means you can get a routine too and plan what you can do and where. You have a set day to get things done and you can get geared up for it every week.
5. Batch Cook Meals
Batch Cook, so that you can spend less time slaving away in the kitchen. You are cooking anyway, so it takes no extra time to double or triple a recipe and freezer it for weeks worth of meals!
Top Tip: freeze the meals in freezer bags, and lay them out flat like a slate, they freeze quicker, thaw quicker and take up no space in the freezer!
6. Find any local Play Schemes
There are often some very inexpensive local groups run for children, or find a childminder, where you can drop the kids off for a morning. They need to socialise with other kids and get used to being left for a few hours to build some independence. They have a ball and you get your work done too, so its win-win!
7. An Ever-Changing box of toys
Get a medium sized box and fill it with fiddly, engaging toys that will keep them amused for a while, like; building blocks, play dough, wooden train tracks that can be put together and then used to drive the trains round, crafts, dressing up etc.
Hold some toys back each time. Let them play near by while you catch up on things. The next day, put some of the toys away for next week and put a few different toys in the box. Keep a cycle of toys going, holding some toys back and putting different toys in the box that they haven’t seen for a while. The toys will be like new to them again! It will be a box of discovery every day!
8. No Grey Zone time!
The Grey Zone is when you take the kids to the park but sit on the bench on your phone rather then pushing them on the swings. You are there, but you are not there with them. No one is really getting the full benefit of that time spent. Remember you are working from home to be with the kids too, the more attention you really give them when you are not working, the less they will demand from you when you are working.
Schedule your time so that when you are with the kids, you are truly with them, and when you are working you are truly working. You will feel more productive, less torn and less guilty, I promise!
9. When do you work best?
Are you a morning or an evening kind of person? When do you really find your groove? I have to admit, I am utterly useless until about noon, there is no getting round it, I am just not a morning person. Evening time is my time! Once they are in bed I can sit down and I am my most productive now until gone 12!
If you are a Morning person, make your work a priority. Go to bed early and get up early for that quiet time before everyone else is up. Even if this might be silly early, how important is your work to you? Its the early bird that gets the worm!
10. Write a list
In the evening, take 10 minutes to write a list of what you want/need to get done the following day. It must be done the night before so that your brain can sort it all out while you sleep! Then wake up and commit to getting it done! Prioritise the list so that the important things get done first, and while there is an important thing still to be done, you cant do a less important thing! Number them in order of importance and go through it!
What task will move you closer to your goal? Get that one done!!
I also find using a planner with full day per page really helps here, schedule tasks for times of the day, and also for upcoming days rather then writing a whole big list for one day. For example, I found it such a relief that I could book myself to pay all the bills on a Thursday which meant its pending, but not weighing todays list down!
Any tasks from yesterdays list moves onto the next days list but resolve yourself to get them done! You will feel great ticking them off!
If you found this helpful, please share it with your friends so that I can help them too! I would love to hear your thoughts, Like my page Self Made Mums on Facebook and lets have a conversation!