The coronavirus shutdown has been challenging for everyone–especially the essential workers who don’t have the option to stay home. Also struggling are those who have lost work hours and people who have lost their jobs altogether. But, there is one group that often gets overlooked… working parents. My son, Carter, and I have had to make significant adjustments to our lifestyle in recent weeks, as I’m sure many of you have as well.
Under normal circumstances, parents work either because they have to, because they don’t want to stay home, or because they prefer not to homeschool their children. However, in the new normal we’ve been experiencing, many moms and dads now find themselves forced into working from home and homeschooling. How is it possible to do both, you ask? Frankly, it’s not. For many, it already felt impossible to be a working parent and keep up with the demands of school projects, sports and parties. Now, despite the temporary pause in sports and events, the combination of homeschool and remote work is a recipe for a whole new kind of stress.
If you’re like me, working from home in this season while serving as a full-time homeschool teacher for one or more little ones, then you’ve probably had to find new ways to cope. I have compiled a list of tips that have helped me stay sane (sort of) throughout the shutdown:
- Get dressed every morning, start school at 8am, and follow the schedule. My son dresses in his school uniform.
- Have a designated area to use for school, preferably not the couch or bed.
- Review lesson plans ahead of time and try to have all of the materials you need for projects.
- Take off work in the mornings, if you can, to focus on school and try not to worry about work.
- Schedule all work calls for the afternoons. Sometimes this works out, and sometimes my son is kicking me or shooting me with a nerf gun when I am on a call with an important client.
- Be honest with your kid(s) about having to work in the afternoons and remind them that the morning is for school and play. If needed, give them your cell phone with appropriate apps in the afternoons.
- MOST IMPORTANT! Make a decision to stay positive, remember you probably have it pretty good, and this extra time with your children is precious. Find things that bring you joy like watering the flowers or watching the birds. I have even started talking to a cardinal (in chirps) in the afternoons–yes, I am a little crazy.
As I mentioned, it really isn’t possible to succeed as a full-time parent, homeschool teacher and working professional at the same time… and that’s okay. After six weeks of being home with my son and trying to maintain my workload, I decided to hire someone to come in and help me for half days for the remaining weeks of the school closure. Whether you ask for a little help or continue on your own, remember to hang in there, parents! The end is in sight.