Claire has so graciously lent me her platform to share with you all some insight on working from home. First, to introduce myself, my name is Carla! I am a 30-year-old creative and adventurous spirit. I like to describe myself as a linguist, blogger and entrepreneur. I spend my time learning new languages, completing my 2nd BA, running my business, and of course caring for my family. I am a wife and a mother to my recently turned 5-year-old rambunctious daughter.
Due to the pandemic situation, like most of you, we are all confined to our home in quarantine. Prior to COVID -19 I had been working remotely from home for nearly 2 years. Two years ago after much time and reflection, I left my stressful corporate job behind in pursuit of more flexible contract positions. When I first started freelancing it was very hard. I had miscalculated my anticipated income and our budget took a major hit. I did extensive research and applied for jobs with clients all day every day. I even briefly went back to work in a physical office setting to help make ends meet.
During this process of searching for clients and getting rejected for jobs, I learned that contract work can be very risky if you do not secure consistent longterm clients. After a year of flopping around in the deep end, I secured 2 longterm clients which now generate 2 streams of business income. I finally feel a bit more secure with my self-employment. This brings us to where I am today.
The first 2 weeks of working from home during the pandemic was a chaotic hot mess. At first, my husband and I both tried to work during daytime hours and keep our daughter occupied. We quickly learned that this would not work for us longterm. Now that we are into week 6 or 7, we employ a shift schedule and alternate caring for our daughter. Our schedule looks a bit more like the following:
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Both my spouse and I wake up. I retreat to my upstairs office with a coffee in hand and work until 11am or until my daughter wakes up. My husband logs in and works from his basement office. We each have separate and defined workspaces.
I watch my daughter, we do approximately 1-2 pages from a workbook for school, we water our outdoor garden, she plays outside, eats lunch and watches a show. At most my daughter works 10-15 minutes in a workbook. That is what her attention span can handle. If I feel a tantrum coming on or I see that she starts to get frustrated, we take a break. I let her know that she has the option to cool down and then we can return to it later. I also incorporate outdoor learning. Every day we complete our outdoor observations where she notes the weather and temperature. She observes if it's cloudy, sunny, warm or cold. She has this awesome magnetic calendar by Melissa and Doug that she fills in every day with the day of the week, current month, weather, etc.
My husband gets off work and we rotate. He handles dinner, usually puts on a movie, and keeps takes care of our daughter and the dog for the rest of the evening.
Our schedule is not foolproof and often I get burned out working in the evenings. I also miss the opportunity to have family time after work. I am always adjusting my schedule and testing out different things to learn what works best for us. Recently I discovered that I can do some tasks with my daughter in my office if she is sufficiently entertained. When she has her iPad and headphones, I can actually work for about 1-2 hours.
With two working parents and young children in the house, there is no magic formula to have a smooth-running day. My number one piece of advice is to acknowledge that we are literally being tasked with completing the impossible. There is a reason that teachers, nannies, and childcare services exist as occupations. There are amazing individuals gifted with discernment and knowledge to enrich young minds. The act of homeschooling, caregiving, and working a full-time job is actually 3 jobs in one. For this reason, do not feel bad or guilty if some days you crash and burn. We have our new routine and a new sense of normal.
Do your best and give God (or the universe ) the rest. You can get through this and you are not alone.
-Carla, Author of My Soul Venture Blog