You are probably like the rest of us, working at home during this LONG pandemic. Though it was good to see our kids more during the day (and I mean a LOT more), it really makes it hard to get everything done. We were superheroes before the pandemic, but now, we’ve been forced to be superheroes, stay-at-home-moms, fitness gurus and our own psychologist ALL THE TIME.
Not going to lie, as the pandemic has worn on, there have been days I stay a few extra minutes in bed, relishing that I’m awake and no one is asking anything of me. I used to feel guilty about staying in bed. All the greatest people in history are known to be early risers and not to “waste time” lying around when you could be starting to work on your dreams!
This quote from Marcus Aurelius, a famous Stoic philosopher, sums it up quite nicely:
“At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: ‘I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?’
— But it’s nicer in here …
So you were born to feel ‘nice’? Instead of doing things and experiencing them? Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you’re not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren’t you running to do what your nature demands?
— But we have to sleep sometime …
Agreed. But nature set a limit on that — as it did on eating and drinking. And you’re over the limit. You’ve had more than enough of that. But not of working. There you’re still below your quota.
You don’t love yourself enough. Or you’d love your nature too, and what it demands of you. People who love what they do wear themselves down doing it, they even forget to wash or eat. Do you have less respect for your own nature than the engraver does for engraving, the dancer for the dance, the miser for money or the social climber for status? When they’re really possessed by what they do, they’d rather stop eating and sleeping than give up practicing their arts.
Is helping others less valuable to you? Not worth your effort?”
All in all – Don’t be lazy, don’t waste your time, live for the moment, yada yada yada…
Marcus Aurelius must not have been the sole caregiver of kids.
So how do we get everything done, Amanda?!
Here’s some things I’ve learned that works well.
1. Your First Workspace is Your Bed.
My kids are VERY light sleepers, just like their mom. So when my alarm goes off in the morning, I have roughly 20 minutes before my sweet little monsters wake up and crawl all over me for morning cuddles. Whether its the noise from the water running from me brushing my teeth, or the sound of me walking around the house, they are awake sooner than you can pour your first cup of coffee. Working from my bed in the morning buys me a little bit of time to focus my energy, meditate a bit and get my affairs in order for the day.
2. Go With the Flow, Don’t Force It.
I find myself constantly having to remind myself of this one. I find myself getting the most frustrated when I am on a roll, super focused, all of the best ideas are flowing through me and THEN- your kids have a meltdown over not sharing, they-want-something-ELSE-to-eat-no-not-that-something-ELSE-I-don’t-know-what… and you think to yourself “I just need to finish this one. last. thing.”
Yeah, this is when my anxiety kicks into overdrive. Take a breath. Kids aren’t exactly Completionists. They’ll start playing with 5 different toys within the span of 20 minutes, jumping back and forth from different activities.
Best advice I can give you is this – when the kids are jumping off the walls and you are still just trying to finish that one thing… Take them to a playground. No matter what, your kids are probably bored and bursting with energy. Where does that energy go when they don’t have an outlet? It goes into breaking stuff, hitting siblings and tantrums. Save yourself A LOT of worrying and trouble by bringing them to a playground for 30 minutes. This will let them get some energy out, give you some headspace and keep those anxiety attacks at bay.
3. Take Advantage of Your Driving Times
Talk-to-Text is probably the most underrated tool a home-working mom has at her disposal. Some days, the only time I have to myself is when I’m driving or cooking. These are times that I can use to my disposal to ‘brain dump’.
I will use the Talk-to-Text on my phone to jot down all the important information floating around in my head. This can later be dissected and rewritten into a post, blog, newsletter, email, etc. later on in the day.
4. Don’t Forget to Squeeze in a Workout!
When it comes to BIG projects that need HOURS of my time and attention, it’s easy to get lost in the computer. There are times when I hit a ‘mental wall’ and just can’t seem to get past it. I’ll keep sitting there, spinning the proverbial wheels in my head, trying to push past the obstacles in front of me, but it just leads me to being stressed out because nothing is getting done.
Again, Breathe. Push back from the computer, get some workout clothes on, and get your sweat on. There is TONS of research out there that shows how beneficial exercise is to your brain, especially when it’s used as a break from sitting in front of a computer.
Whenever I feel myself getting anxious because nothing is ‘going my way’, I put my life on the shelf and go do a kickboxing workout. Not only am I doing something I love, but it also is a form of meditation for me that is irreplaceable in those times of stress.
What are your strategies to work around your kids? Leave a comment below!