Ashley Carty is a seasoned medical professional with over 8 years of experience working at the top hospitals in Southern California, including Hoag, Saddleback Memorial, and UCSD.
Working a medical job doesn’t always mean you’re working in a hospital. However, most roles are traditionally done from an office. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most roles are transitioning to remote positions to help keep employees safe. If you’re one of those workers and you’re currently also a mom, you may be struggling with juggling mom life and working remote during COVID.
I remember when I first started babysitting while I was going through college. It was interesting to learn how different parents structured their child’s day, meals, adventures, etc. Some parents were open-minded and less structured than others. I would walk into one house, and the parent would direct me to feed them whenever they are hungry and let me know the budget for takeout was on the counter. Others would provide me with a complete schedule of what was to be cooked when, how long their tv time could be, what activities to do with the child, and exactly what time to brush teeth, read a book and go to bed.
Over time, I realized how vital both structure and diversity were to the child’s overall well-being. If they knew when they were going to eat, that they would get a certain amount of time to watch tv, and that every day involved a new outdoor or indoor activity, they had something to be excited about and look forward to.
The more chaotic experiences were with the children who didn’t have structure or routine, set consequence for misbehavior, or things to look forward to. As adults, think about how well we do with structure and routine and how we feel when that structure and routine changes.
Your child is most likely used to having a school routine, new experiences every day, and time with friends, now they are experiencing change they aren’t used to. Granted, I am sure most children are thrilled their parents are home (given they are younger than a teenager), but they may become more demanding of your attention.
Rather than getting frustrated, create a schedule for both yourself and your child. What time will you wake up, what time is breakfast, what is going to be served for breakfast, what morning activities are done for the child, what activities or responsibilities fo you need to do for work etc.
Some parents, like those I’ve mentioned above, would order new activities online or purchase bulk activities at the store and rotate them each day. Allowing the child to learn and have new and exciting activities to keep them entertained and engaged. New toys can also help keep your child active, not all activities need to be around learning. Popular items incluse a new hoverboard, playground equipment, and boardgames.
In addition to creating a schedule, it’ll be imperative that you also scheduled break time and playtime with your child. This will allow you to have the necessary time to take a short mental break from work but also have the time to spend with your child. COVID is an emotional experience for everyone. We should all use our time wisely and use it to create stronger bonds and relationships we may not have had the opportunity to without this additional time.
One of the biggest mistakes I see parents make is they will attempt to work somewhere that allows for distractions. Think of it as if you worked in an office, and your cubicle neighbor always walked over to talk to you, and when they weren’t doing that, they had the TV blasting or were playing with friends. Now imagine if you had your own private office with a do not disturb sign. Which scenario would you be more productive in?
It may seem impossible to find a dedicated and quiet workspace, let alone a school space for your child. This may take some creativity, but you will likely find your child and yourself a tad more productive once you do.
Seeking help is never something you should be ashamed of. It’s always amazed me that there aren’t more parenting classes on behavioral psychology for parents. Understanding how to respond (or in some cases, not respond) and why can be key to a happy household. There’s more to parenting than screaming at a child and getting frustrated when they don’t listen. A good friend of mine, Ashley Seling is a parenting coach and she opens up and talks about all the taboo things most parents are too scared to talk about. Her classes and quick resource guides are unfiltered. Here’s a quote from her website to give you an idea:
“Your parenting BFF who keeps it calm AF while helping you learn how to balance being kind + maintain boundaries with your children– with mutual love and respect. While giving you the tools you need to be confident in raising your child into a successful adult.”
This one can make you want to reach for a glass of wine just thinking about it. Co-parenting and determining when to trade-off can be a tough one to navigate. For those of you who are co-parenting in separate homes, we are grabbing a glass for you. Scheduling out time will be vital, especially if both parents are working from home. Rather than expecting one or the other to “jump in” to help, it’s best to have traded work hours in blocks. Consider splitting time between morning, afternoon, and evening. Talk it through with the other parent to ensure that the hours are fair, and make sure to consider what work hours tend to be the heaviest for both of you. There may be a scenario where Monday mornings are heavy work for you and light for the other parent and vise versa.
Also, don’t forget self-care! As a mom, it’s easy to forget to take the time you deserve to care for yourself. One of the best ways to do this is to dedicate one hour per night to relaxation or exercise or by having “self-care Saturdays.”
If you have any additional suggestions on juggling mom life and working remotely during COVID, let us know in the comments below.
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