We’ve all gotten somewhat used to the idea of working from home, after all, who doesn’t enjoy being in the comfort of your own home, having a flexible schedule, and not having to worry about daily commute? However, when we think of this work format, seldom do we include kids in the story. For those of us who don’t have children, the picture is clear, but what about those who have the second ‘job’ of parenting?
Evidently, having children in the household makes it fun and lively, but how does one efficiently combine parenting and work duties? Since we wanted to better understand how it works and thus, support each other, we decided to find it out directly from DevelopmentAid parents.
When surveying our WFH parents, we discovered that there is an almost equal split between those who have 1 child and parents with 2 children. Parenting is not the same when you take care of a newborn compared with the experience of a parent WFH with a primary-grade kid, both with a variety of unexpected challenges for the family. In our company, there are few parents taking care of children below 1 year, some more with children aged between 1-2 years old, together with their older sisters and brothers of the preschool age, and others already dealing with the complexity of the homeschooling in their primary grades. A pretty fun and diverse age group if you ask us 🙂
When asked about a general feeling regarding this experience, the vast majority think of it as ‘manageable’, and none saying it’s ‘impossible’. Right away, some mentioned the help and support they get from their families or spouses, the ease of knowing kids are safe under their watch, and the difficulties of giving kids the attention they deserve while parents work from home.
Let’s talk about positives…
Since our article is meant to provide an outlet for parents as well as support them in knowing they’re not alone in this experience, we decided to start with the main positive aspects that parents believe WFH with kids provides. Thus, combining work from home and parenting leads to:
- Spending more time with kids, offering them more attention, and personally watching out for them
- Having an organized schedule, teaching kids the importance of structure, and looking forward to planned breaks & meals together
- Participating in cooking for their children and their activities, like online lessons
- Taking this opportunity to teach kids the importance of work and responsibility
- Get to know your kids better – what they like, their talents, their preferences
What about challenges?
Whether we want it or not, combining these two big responsibilities can (sometimes) lead to challenges. Our parents know this best, so we asked them for their honest recount of the difficulties they’re facing. See them below:
- Noise and distraction
- Kids having way more free time than their parents 🙂
- Lack of time to spend with children after work
- Their education & activities needing the parents’ involvement
- Working while kids are asleep
- Combining WFH with parenting!
Do you want to rock at WFH parenting?
As expected, the last point encompasses the struggle of parents ‘suddenly’ being home all day and their kids thinking it’s the best thing ever. To reconcile the two parts, we’ve asked our working parents to give us their best tips and tricks for combining WFH and being a parent. Hopefully, these will be useful for those who struggle in finding the right balance yet:
Our tips need to be complemented by two important mindsets: being realistic – reassessing work goals and making them possible to achieve, and self-care – making time to rest, relax, and take care of yourself. This way, you can really rock at WHF and parenting, and stay sane in the process 🙂
Let’s have some fun!
Even though the challenges of WFH and parenting are clear, we would like to say that we admire our DevelopmentAid parents and how they’re handling the situation! Looking at the positive aspects and tips they offered, we understand how well they’re coping, and that gives us a strong feeling of hope and resilience. For parents who are still finding it hard to combine work + parenting into one happy format – hang on tight! The positives outweigh the challenges, and the time spent together as a family (even in times of struggle) will for sure make us come back stronger and closer than ever. And to finish off strong, we’ve asked our parents to share the funniest stories they’ve had with kids while WFH 🙂
One respondent told us how she had to deal with a ‘smelly’ surprise of her child while working with her child on her lap. Similarly, another parent told us how her kid walked in on her call with a client and announced that she needs to go to the bathroom 🙂 Luckily, everyone got the situation and laughed it off! Also, imagine this situation: a child spilled his soup all over the place during his parent’s presentation, so they had to multi-task hard while cleaning and continuing the call at the same time. That must’ve been a fun day!
Parents told us how their kids touch lots of buttons and help them discover new functions and options. Another child got into the habit of announcing their parents whether today is an ‘off day’ to do nothing, or a ‘workday’ to focus on Legos and games! We’ve also heard the story of a child walking in on his parent’s Skype call and disturbing the background image, causing little ‘ghost’ hands to come up and down the screen 🙂
Just like that, some kids copy their parents’ work behavior. For example, one child wakes up earlier on weekends asking parents if they’re going on their work computer already so they can watch TV in peace. Another kid decided that they like company Friday meetings, so they join them together with parents. We’ve also been told about kids pretending to have calls, meetings, and ordering food – just like grownups!
However, it’s not always children disturbing their parents – sometimes it’s the other way around! A parent told us a secret – due to lack of time, they sometimes make the child’s kindergarten homework and crafts by themselves then present it as the kid’s work. In another situation, a parent told us they busted in on the kid’s school calls without knowing that the camera is on, so they had to face the teachers and say ‘Hiiii!’ 🙂
After all, WFH with kids can be a lot of fun if we take it lightly and focus on the positive sides. We thank all parents for their contribution and wish all a lot of patience, optimism, and a fun spirit! Take care of yourself and your loved ones!