Lately, many people have started working from home as companies explore the possibilities of remote work for their employees. Sometimes, working from home includes young children!
We interviewed our Senior Pro Associate, Amal Hassan, about her experience as a work-at-home mom balancing remote work and full-time parenting of her five-year-old daughter. Amal is located in Cairo, Egypt, and with the help of a nanny, she’s found a rewarding mix of parenting and productivity that works for her!
When Amal first found out she was going to be a parent, she immediately understood the responsibility and commitment she faced. Many things in life allow you to drop out if you need to, but with parenting, you don’t have that choice. It’s the biggest commitment, and carries many responsibilities!
As the world seems to shift and change almost every day, many parents feel pressure to maintain financial security while also making sure that children have what they need. Children can worry about things just like adults. They need to understand that even though you have to work, you’re still there for them. Keeping them occupied with activities and things to work on is an important part of helping them through each day. They could even use this time to continue growing in their education!
When your focus is on caring for children and getting work done, it’s hard to find time for yourself. When you’re under a lot of stress, it’s more important than ever to carve out some time to relax, decompress, and regain perspective on your life. Making time for yourself will help all of your other relationships, so try to find a quiet moment for yourself.
Amal gave us so many amazing lessons on being a successful working mom that we knew they needed to be shared. Here are her best tips for work-at-home moms and dads.
Tip #1. Set Up a Workspace
Before you do anything else, find a room with a door and a lock. When you’re looking at your home as a possible workspace, you’ll suddenly discover many places where you could work. A living room couch or dining room table could become the new home office. However, when kids are at home with you, they can barge in at any time, interrupting your productivity. Having a designated workspace that can be kept private helps children recognize the importance of your work schedule.
Tip #2. Find Allies and Helpers
Often when working from home, there is a huge benefit in finding people who can help you either with childcare or chores around the house. For Amal, she doesn’t have family around who can help with her daughter so she invested in a nanny, and this has been a huge help. If you don’t have access to a nanny, you may find that you have friends or family who are willing to give you a hand. Being able to share responsibilities with someone else makes a big difference in successful parenting while working from home.
Tip #3. Keep Children Engaged During Work Time
Children are curious and active, and sometimes it’s difficult to keep them entertained when you need to work. For Amal, she found that simple things like coloring books and other quiet activities helped her daughter stay busy during work hours. Sometimes, children will have homework or other educational activities that they need to finish for school. It’s great if you can have them work on those things while you focus on keeping up with your work. Also, if children need help with school subjects, you might consider hiring a tutor to ensure your children continue their academic progress and also keep them occupied at the same time.
Tip #4. Explain Work Time so They Understand
Sometimes, kids don’t realize the importance of work time. It’s good to take the time to explain it to them in a simple way that they can understand. For Amal, she explained that “When the sun is up, mommy is working, and when the sun sets, mommy will be with you.” That simple explanation helped her daughter understand the importance of work time, while also letting her know that she also had a scheduled time to be with mommy.
Tip #5. Don’t be Harsh with Yourself
None of us is perfect! It’s something we all know, but we don’t always think about. When you’re balancing remote work and family life, you won’t always be your best (we get it!). You’re in survival mode! Sit back for a moment and think about the fact that you’ll make mistakes, and that’s okay. Giving yourself the freedom to make those mistakes without judging yourself too harshly will make a big difference in how you approach each day.
Final thoughts from Amal
For Amal, one of the silver-linings that she’s discovered with balancing work and family life at home is the option of keeping time flexible. Work can be pushed into the evening, and there’s always the option of sleeping in after a late night. With many schools closed, children are not bound to the school preparation schedule, and they can sleep later too (look at the bright side, there is always one!). All of these adjustments have led to more time together, and that can be a good thing if you maintain boundaries and keep time for yourself.
When you’re trying to balance your time working remotely with a baby or young children, it’s important to remember why you’re doing this. You’re doing it for them. If they’re old enough to understand, explain that you’re working because you love them, and want to provide them with a good life and the things that they enjoy.
The key is to make time for yourself, and realize that though you’re not perfect, you’ll still do a great job. Everyone’s different, so take these tips and tailor them to your family, your schedule, and your life!
Thank you, Amal for your advice!
Learn more about Amal here