Skip to main content

Sonoma Family Life Magazine

6 Ways to Effectively Manage Parenting and Working at Home

By Christina Katz

Working at home alongside kids or with kids in school comes with its own unique challenges. But you can discipline yourself to work happily and productively so you can maximize the benefits of being a work-at-home parent. Here’s how.

1. Schedule Sunday prep-time. Set aside Sunday morning to spend quality time with your family, but reserve an hour or two during the afternoon or evening to get a jump on your workweek. If you can empty your inbox, do a bit of planning, and make a to-do list, you will get off to a great start. If this works well for you, consider adding in a family meeting afterwards, to go over schedules, consolidate errands, delegate tasks, and send any necessary family-related emails for the upcoming week.

2. Activate your cool, calm, and collected powers. When you are a work-at-home parent, you don’t usually get to sleep in. So go ahead and set your alarm an hour earlier than you would normally get up so you can have a few moments all to yourself each weekday morning. What do you consider a joyful morning meditation? For some it will be drinking coffee and journaling. For others, it may be fixing a smoothie and reading inspirational passages. Some parents love a morning jog and hot shower. Whatever gets your day off to the best start is time wisely invested.

3. Exercise at home. Studies have shown that sitting at your desk all day without taking breaks is disastrous for your health. So make exercise a part of your daily routine. If you have kids at home even part of the day, establish family exercise time. Try putting on your workout clothes when you get up in the morning to remind yourself you are serious. If accountability is an issue, join an online exercise support group where you can check in after a workout. On days when you don’t exercise, get up from your desk every hour and stretch, twist, reach, and bend to chase the kinks away.

4. Take chore breaks. Why not do little chores between business tasks to take mental and physical breaks from your computer throughout the day? I’ve had some of my best business inspirations while doing the dishes, sorting the laundry, or driving around town doing errands.

5. Eat lunch in the kitchen. You may be tempted to scarf a sandwich while catching up on Facebook but try to resist. You will feel happier and digest your food better if you sit down at the kitchen table and eat lunch like a civilized person. Why not turn on some upbeat music or listen to an inspirational talk? You might want to tackle another quick chore or take a walk around the yard before you sit back down. However you spend your lunch break, try to make it more refreshing.

6. Keep life balanced. Don’t try to keep up with parents who make volunteering their full-time job. The more you can accept the limitations of balancing parenting and work, the happier your whole family will feel. Contribute how and where you can outside of work and family, but never give so much that you start to lose your balance. Remember that your family’s happiness is built on your good health and positive attitude.

Have Young Children at Home? Here’s Your List of Dos & Don’ts
During the pandemic, a lot of parents are working at home. Here are a few tips for navigating this tricky time.

Be realistic; don’t overcommit. If your income is needed, then work has to be a priority. Don’t commit to anything unless you know you have time in your schedule. Get used to saying, “I’m sorry I can’t commit to that.” Then offer what you can do.

Baby-step, don’t multi-task. Trying to do many things at once often lowers the quality of all results. So rather than multi-task, squeeze in baby-steps here and there until single tasks get done. Then repeat. You’ll get more done faster and better.

Plan for success; don’t hope for it. Trying to do more than you can reasonably accomplish each week will only lead to frustration and disappointment. Set realistic goals and reach them. You’ll get faster and more efficient the more you focus and keep tasks simple.

Know when to expand your work hours. Parents who work at home often need to think creatively about the calendar in order to squeeze in enough hours to make a workweek. The best opportunities to expand your work hours are whenever you have more focused, alone time available to you.

Christina Katz has found working at home to be maddening, interesting, impossible, and occasionally fantastic.