Last week I shared some of my top tips for working from home. I’ll admit this was a pretty normal week for me, less the driving around to kids’ activities from 3 until 8 everyday. And we’re one week in of who knows how many.
Lots of friends joined me as all of us basically work from home now. They moved their offices home, got in the beginning of a rhythm with their kids, might have half-way enjoyed it. But now we get to week two, and reality is going to start setting in. The “excitement,” if you will, of all of this is going to change as people are realizing THIS is reality, not a dream, not a one-week trial and NOW we have to make this situation actually work. I bet most people that moved their work home last week were not nearly as productive as they would be at the office. So now we’ve got to dig in and make this sustainable.
I’ve got some more tips for you. Not all of these will apply to your family, depending on the age of your children and the type of work you do. But take from it what works – I hope it’s useful:
- Paper plates. I’ve heard from moms all week they spent most of their time in the kitchen, cleaning up. Let’s let ourselves off the hook here. If your children are too young or too little to learn how to load the dishwasher, get some paper plates and be done with it. If your children are capable of reaching the sink to rinse a plate, then they are capable of doing so and putting that plate into the dishwasher.
- No cooking during the school day. We are not the kitchen staff at school. That’s a big staff, used to cooking multiple items to feed every taste bud and care for every allergy. That’s not what’s happening in our home kitchens. As I see it, you’ve got two options here:
- You make one item – and I’m talking deli sandwiches, mac and cheese, toaster oven food – something that takes no time and cleanup can wait or
- You stock your fridge full of items and your kids help themselves because they are capable of doing so. My kids are in online school right now and eat lunch at different times, according to their schedule. I’m not about to stop my workday to make lunch – twice – for them. Reminder, they are 13 and 16, but even if they had been 7 and 10, they’d have been independent on this matter. I insist upon it. Here are some items I’ve got in my fridge, based on things I know they’ll eat:
- Fresh bread
- Sliced deli meat
- Hard boiled eggs
- Cream cheese and lox
- Avocados/eggs (one of them loves avocado toast)
- Peanut Butter and Jelly
- Poke bowls
- Mac and Cheese in the “add water” cups.
- I’ve asked them to not eat the frozen foods like pizza bagels, Trader Joe’s Mac and Cheese and Tortellini. Just in case we do go on full-force lockdown, I need those items available (and I really need all the fresh food I bought to not go bad).
- Let go of the screen-time limits on some level. Most have done this because come on… get real. These are strange times and that calls for strange rules. If you’ve got to get work done, do what you need to do. There’s no judgement in this universe right now about how you’re parenting your kids at home while you’re keeping them home and trying to be productive. If you aren’t keeping them home and you’re allowing them to go play basketball at the park, full-on judgement here. There. I said it.
- At dinner, again, you are not a short-order cook. If you’ve never been brave enough before, now’s a great time to make ONE meal and the kids can eat it or not. If they choose not to, have an option they can make – and clean up – on their own. With grocery store shelves bare, this is no time to go through tons of food. Keep it simple. Hey, maybe your kids will learn to eat something new.
- I remind you to get up and walk around, keep your blood flowing and drink water throughout the day.
- Do not succumb to the junk food. Kids have it, I get it. Both of my kids tower over me so we all agreed that to protect mom we’re putting junk food up high where I can’t see it. It works. NOTE: I cannot speak for the dad in the house on this one. You kids have to fight your own battles.
As you think back on your week last week, what else can you streamline to make easier? Lunch seemed to be the biggest stressor I heard about. If you want to use your evenings to really start cleaning out your house as so many are doing, I recommend The Home Edit. Follow them on Instagram. I have their book and recently redid my pantry. Now I love it. Here are the before and afters:
What other areas are giving you stress? Maybe, as a WAHM I’ve dealt with your issue before and might be able to offer some friendly advice. I’ll at least give it a shot.
Stay healthy, everyone. And stay home. One week down.by