Why Working from Home with Kids is Impossible for Me

Looking for the top #WFH tips to hashtag live your best life during the COVID-19 pandemic? This isn’t that article.

Anyone else feel like 2020 has gone exactly according to plan? Like, it’s eerily similar to how you laid it out in your bullet journal at the start of the year?

I am starting to rethink a few of my goals. Sure, “work from home with a newborn in your fifth month of quarantine” and “trade entire social life for a 3-year-old’s tantrums” sound like good ideas. But now, I’m not quite so sure.

Since things are going so well over here, I’m excited to share a few secrets to my success.

Get started early

This one actually hasn’t been much of a problem. Not that we have any choice. I’ve kept the alarm set on my phone, mostly for nostalgic purposes.

Adapt your exercise routine for #StayAtHome guidelines

We live in Chicago. It’s winter. And, every day, my wife and I fight over who gets to take the dog out in the morning for eight minutes of frigid, sunless bliss.

Meditate, journal, reflect

Here’s a rhythm that’s really helped my own practice. Put your fingers in your ears, drowning out most of the screaming around you. Remind yourself of your commitment not to scream today. Or at least to scream less than yesterday. Take your fingers out of your ears – someone is still screaming.

They’re making quite a racket, so you can barely hear your child ask, “Why you screaming, Daddy?”

Eat a balanced, nutritious breakfast

Whatever three initial offerings the toddler refuses to eat, that’s your breakfast. As long as you draw from different sections of the fridge, you’ll likely balance your processed carbs with processed fats, so that’s something.

The first thing the toddler starts to eat and then decides they’re tired of? That’s your snack – something to look forward to later today.

Get ready as if you were going somewhere for work

Is today your day to shower, or your partner’s? If neither of you can remember who showered yesterday, then split the difference and both wait for tomorrow.

Self-care is crucial

When you’re getting ready, really soak up that me-time. You’ve got two minutes – maybe three – to poop, brush your teeth, wash your face and get dressed. With 10 months of practice, you’ve figured out how to do all of these things simultaneously.

The remaining 60-90 seconds? That’s all for you. Enjoy scrolling the day’s news about the world’s terrifying descent into chaos. Remembering what your therapist said, you attempt to scroll mindfully.

Dress for success

Today is your day. Dress for the job you want to have, not the job you actually have (or used to have). Big presentation today? Find your nice slippers.

Make time for gratitude

Make a mental list of the times you didn’t want to cry today. If the brevity of this list also doesn’t make you want to cry, then congrats: this is what you now call a “good day.”

Treat yourself

You made it through another day. It wasn’t easy, but you did it! Indulge a little bit – some dark chocolate, a glass of wine, ice cream. (Instructions: Blend for 90 seconds. Serve in the cleanest coffee mug you can find.)

You. Earned. This.

When you hear your partner start to emerge from the bedroom, wipe the traces of your special treat off your face and glance at the clock.

Realize it’s 10:30 – a.m.

Time to head back to your makeshift workspace. You have three hours to complete the tasks of an eight-hour workday.

Good luck in there, everyone.

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This article also appeared in Chicago Parent’s January/February 2021 issue


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