With COVID-19 moving employees away from the office and into their homes for a dose of social distancing, many parents find themselves working from home with the kids.
And every entrepreneur who works from home knows that running a business has its own set of unique challenges when you’re by yourself. Add school-aged children, the dog, and two cats, and those challenges get bumped up a notch.
I’ve known Angie (she asked that I not use her real name) for over a decade. We moved into our neighborhood at the same time and have watched each other’s family grow.
Like my family, Angie and her brood moved to Texas from Southern California. We immediately connected. I quickly learned that she was working from home for her Southern Californian employer. Ten years ago this was a pretty big deal. Not only was she not in the office working every day but she was 3,000 miles away.
I’ve been inside Angie’s house and for her to have little people underfoot, her house is immaculate.
I thought who else to talk about balancing working from home, minding the little people and staying on top of household chores other than Angie. And no, she doesn’t have a maid.
Here’s her story.
TWK: What kind of work do you do and how long have you worked from home?
Angie: Web Designer, 15 years
TWK: What was your original reasoning to want to work from home?
Angie: I decided to expand my family and I couldn’t do that with the work I was doing previously.
TWK: How do you manage work and small children? Pregnancy?
Angie: You must have a daily routine and follow it. No excuses. I think with smaller children you should set schedules, for example, reading time, outdoor play, game time, and nap time (this will give you time to work without distractions). I made it a rule not to bother Mommy while at my computer unless it was urgent. While pregnant, I ate healthy snacks, went for walks and took naps when needed in between working.
TWK: I’ve been inside your house…how is it your carpets are spotless? LOL! How do you manage chores, work, and family all under the same roof?
Angie: I grew up in a military family so I’m used to doing daily chores. I normally do light cleaning during the weekday (early morning, while kids are in school, and when I have some free time). I do all the deep cleaning on the weekends. And now that my kids are older they have daily chores so that helps a lot and I started training them to do chores since they were five years old 🙂 On Sunday evenings I write down my meals for the week and make school lunches ahead of time. I live off my daily planner (phone and organizer).
TWK: What advice do you have for those who find themselves working from home for the first time with little people underfoot?
- Have Patience
- Stay on daily task
- Be organized
- Set early bedtimes for younger children so you can complete any of things you didn’t do earlier
- Most important take time out for your self even for 10-20 minutes (light exercises or take aromatherapy baths)
TWK: Do you have any favorite/must-have tools/apps/services that make your life easier?
Angie: I can’t live without my Alexa device. It’s good for my reminders, notes, alarms, grocery lists, and updated news. I love that it is hands-free which gives me the freedom to walk around the house. It’s like having my own personal secretary.
Lisa N. Alexander is the author and founder of This Woman Knows and What Million-Dollar Brands Know. She is an award-winning filmmaker, director, producer, and writer and is the owner of PrettyWork Creative.