When the pandemic hit, my husband was just about to match into his residency program, so he’s a full-time medical student and I am a full time working mom. I’m the Marketing Coordinator at a nonprofit that aims to end homelessness in Philadelphia. I am fortunate enough that as businesses were closing, and daycares were closing their doors, I didn’t lose my job. Our nonprofit was able to stay open and all employees that could, would work remotely from home. For my husband, the call came and his rotations were canceled and he had to begin working remotely as well but doing modules.
There’s a reason why you are either a stay at home mom or a work full-time mom. I know there are some moms out there that do both but their schedules are extremely flexible and they don’t have to conform to normal business hours. There are always exemptions but don’t let anyone make you believe that they have it all together in this. But here is the secret to juggling it all: nothing. Nothing. There is no secret, we are only surviving in my household and I will not lead anyone to believe that we are having a picture perfect time. I feel so blessed to have more time with my daughter but every day it is a struggle to manage it all. There are things that I’m doing that’s helping but don’t think that I’m actually succeeding in juggling anything.
Make a work station
My first week working from home was a disaster, everything was a mess, I couldn’t find anything and Cecilia was getting into all of my stuff. I was overwhelmed. Finally, in the second week of our lockdown, I took time and got myself together. I made a small area next to the couch to put all my work supplies and paperwork and then I committed to one spot at our dining room table for working. I feel just a little bit better and organized each day knowing that this is my spot and that all my stuff is in one area.
Spend a day organizing
I often feel like organizing things is a waste of time but then I waste time because I’m not organized. Just commit a day to get everything together. It took me a while to sort emails and other items but I felt so much better after doing it. Working from a remote desktop isn’t the same as my work computer so it needed to be done.
My family has been using Cozi since 2012, well my husband and I were (we were just dating then). It helped us keep track of each others schedules and now it helps us keep track of our work schedules. We both have to work at home so this helps us prioritize who has work meetings and who needs to watch our baby.
It’s so easy to get distracted at home especially if you have a little one and you’re having a tough time adapting to being stuck inside. Focus-To-Do is an app for your phone that is also integrated with a chrome app or desktop app. It uses Pomodoro to get you focused on your tasks and gives you breaks. What sets this app in particular apart though is that you can put in each task, set an amount of time or pomodoros it’ll take to finish a task. Then it’ll take all your tasks and calculate how long you need to work to complete them. This is helpful for me when I’m trying to prioritize what and how much I can get done in a day. You can also set tasks up for the future so I have been setting it up for the whole week.
On top of Cozi, Focus To-Do, and basecamp that I use with my team, I do have an old school planner that I write everything down in. There’s nothing better than getting to physically cross something off. My planner also has a section for home items and appointments so I won’t forget paperwork or other things that need to be done at home. It’s not a close up photo of my planner but you can see that it’s not a small one at all.
Work breaks into your day
I am a first time mom, I’m still learning how to juggle it all and we have no family nearby to help out. The best days that we’ve had are the days I intentionally work breaks into my day. Not just 5-minute breaks but an hour break in the middle of the day to go on a family walk. It helps me get into a better headspace and tires out my daughter.
There’s no right way to be managing this. I feel like every week, every day is different. It’s exhausting and draining. We’ll get through it and I’m so incredibly thankful that I have a team at work that understands that this isn’t easy. I hope you all stay happy and healthy, I hope you all give yourself some slack because what we’re being asked to do is not easy and not realistic. Just hang in there momma.