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Week 10 of Working from Home with My Four-Year Old: What I Found That Works…and What Doesn’t

...and how sometimes it changes day by day!

First of all, I can’t believe it’s been 10 weeks of living this way! Quarantining at home, having to work while also trying to parent, and of course, all of the stress and anxiety that comes with being in the middle of a pandemic.

The fact that we are still functioning is a miracle 🙂

I am sure as parents, you are all finding little ways to get through each day. You are finding out what works and what doesn’t work. And this might even change daily depending on a million variables: your work schedule, your significant other’s work schedule, your child’s school schedule, the weather, etc…

Here is where I am as far as what is working, and what isn’t, for me.

What Doesn’t Work

  1. A set schedule each day for my son to keep him on a “routine”. This was a laughable idea from day one. Did I really think this was feasible? With my work schedule, there was no way. With meetings butting up against each other, there was no time to take a break to make sure my son adhered to any schedule. At best, I was able to feed him and make sure he was ok 🙂
  2. Thinking you can do it all. Again, a laughable idea. This is an impossible situation we are in. There is no way to wear all of the needed hats (parent, teacher, employee, house cleaner, etc..) at the same time…or even all of them each day. I don’t know about you all, but by the end of my work day (which varies also!), I am just DONE and have no energy for anything else. That meme about how great your place looks in video calls vs how the rest of your place ACTUALLY looks is completely accurate.
  3. Putting up a picture for your kid so they know you are in a meeting. The photo attached to this article was my attempt to do this. Yeah, this definitely didn’t work for me, lol. Great in theory, but totally useless. I would put up this picture during meetings HOPING my son would leave me alone, but he blatantly ignored it, time and time again. In fact, he uses it as an excuse to say hi to everyone and share his stuffed animals, his toys, anything 🙂

What Does Work

  1. If you REALLY want to have some sort of schedule/routine, take it day by day and make your child a part of it. I still wanted to ensure there were certain things I at least tried to do each day: reading, learning, active time, etc.. By taking a look each day at my work schedule and then determining a realistic schedule for all of these, as well as writing it out on a large piece of paper for both my son and I to look at, we have been able to keep some sort of schedule, even if it may not be totally what I planned each day. My son likes to see where we are at on the schedule. He can’t tell time yet, but he does like looking at the picture of what we are doing next!
  2. Being adaptable and rolling with the punches. There is no way to do this, at least in a way that keeps your MOSTLY sane, if you don’t do your best to be flexible and just adapt to each moment of this. Kid screaming at you during a work call while he should be learning? Not worth getting upset about, just address it and get back to your call. Trying to focus on working on a deliverable for work and your kid asks you for their millionth snack of the day? While frustrating, it’s just part of our reality right now and we have to roll with it. Focused work time and taking work calls is just simply HARD right now. Remind yourself you are not alone in dealing with this and just go with it.
  3. Finding an outlet and making time for yourself each day. I know this may be hard to do, but it’s absolutely necessary. These are stressful times and your health, both mental and physical, needs to be a priority. Exercise, read, meditate, do yoga – literally anything that will help you relieve stress and anxiety..and give you some much needed “me time.” This will help you get through this…as well as copious amounts of wine!

This is an impossible situation and every one of us are finding ways that either work for us or don’t. We are all in different situations and with different aged children. And sometimes what works one day doesn’t the next. For instance, rolling with the punches is not something I am easily able to do each day. I lose my s*** more often than I like to admit. Patience is much harder to come by, as is finding time for myself. If there was ever a time to give ourselves grace as parents, this is it.

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