In the United States, 72% of women with children under the age of 18 were working, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With this many mothers making work a part of their daily routine across the country, you would think balancing work and motherhood would be easy. But that’s not necessarily the case.
Moms who work outside of the home face unique challenges, like finding childcare and sticking with an established schedule.
This is part of the reason why remote work was and continues to be welcomed by working moms. A remote work environment typically comes with flexibility and empathetic leaders. It also gives moms space to care for their children themselves.
In a recent survey, 79% of moms agreed they prefer remote work for this environment. And we don’t blame them. That said, they take on a tough challenge commingling work and parenting. But luckily, making remote work easier for moms is a few tips away.
Talk to Your Kids
Your kids won’t know you’re working from home if you don’t tell them. They’ll do like most kids do and pull you every which way for whatever they need, — whether it’s making them something to eat, helping them with homework, or playing.
Talking to your children about you working from home is the best way to set essential remote work boundaries. You should also have a conversation about your new work situation beforehand to see if they’re comfortable with it.
Whether you’re talking to a toddler, school-aged child, or teen, break remote work down in a way they can understand. This could look like:
- Showing your toddler your home office and explaining what a shut door means;
- Showing your elementary school-aged child your remote work tools and explaining when you use them;
- Showing your teen what you have to accomplish while working from home and how you do it.
After talking about your remote work schedule, dive into what’s acceptable and what isn’t when you’re working. For example, when the do not disturb sign is hanging on the door, they can’t come in unless it’s an emergency. When the door is open it’s okay to come in. Or, establish rooms where being loud is okay and rooms where it isn’t.
Talk to your children so that you all can work together to make remote work more manageable for you and them.
Plan Your Day Around Your Children
Even if you’re focused on building your career, your kids are your priority at the end of the day. That’s why the flexibility of remote work is so helpful to working moms. Of course, the amount of autonomy you have regarding your work schedule is up to your employer.
But hopefully, you have enough to plan your day around your children. Adhering to a strict 9-5 schedule while working remotely is nearly impossible for a working mom. So, having the ability to break up your schedule throughout the day is monumental.
When planning for the right schedule, think about your child and their needs. For instance, when must you drop them off and pick them up from school? If you have a toddler, when are nap times? How often are meltdowns and why do they usually happen? When are meal times? If you have a pre-teen or a teenager, what are their after-school commitments?
The more you understand about your children’s lives, the easier you can plan your workday. This could look like:
- Capitalizing on nap times;
- Arranging a carpool for your kids to get home from school;
- Scheduling your lunches and breaks to coincide with your child’s meal times;
- Making sure you have small breaks scheduled throughout the day to check on your kids;
- Waking up early to complete priority work tasks before you have to take your kids to school.
Planning each workday around your kids is critical in making remote work easier for moms.
Adopt Work From Home Best Practices
Yes, you want to ensure your children are well taken care of when you’re engaging in remote work. However, you must also produce high-quality work and maintain productivity while working from home.
To help with the latter, adopt work-from-home best practices. The following tips and tricks make managing a remote workload while caring for children much easier:
- Create a daily routine;
- Reach out when you need help;
- Set work hours and stick to them;
- Meal prep and never give up lunch breaks;
- Finish a project or task before you start a new one;
- Use technology and work essentials you’re familiar with;
- Challenge yourself and take on meaningful responsibilities;
- Stay active to promote creativity and cognitive function.
Implementing these work-from-home tips is fundamental in making remote work easier for moms.
Watch Your Kids Without Watching Them
As much as you might want to, you can’t be constantly watching your kids while you’re working from home. Your kids will inevitably need to entertain themselves while you take a meeting or work on a project.
So, you’ll need to figure out how to watch your kids without physically watching them. For example, if your child is old enough to control the television and you give them free rein to do so as you take a meeting, safety is important.
Enabling parental guidance is a must. We say parental guidance instead of parental controls because you want to guide your child in how they engage with digital tools rather than control them. Filter the content they can watch on TV, set screen times, and up your privacy settings to ensure kids can entertain themselves on digital devices safely.
Of course, you’ll keep a close eye on your children when you’re working from home and taking care of them. But having systems and tools in place that help watch them without watching them is incredibly helpful in making remote work easier for moms.
Working moms can achieve their career goals despite taking on the challenge of working and parenting from home. It’s all about making remote work easier for moms. We hope the advice above helps you do just that.
Photo by Kampus Production on Pexels
Guest Author Bio
Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but business, technology, and digital marketing topics are his favorite. When he isn’t writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or getting into the latest tech.