Someone recently posted a question in a freelance group for parents I’m a member of. They were wondering how we get work done, clean/sort the socks, mind the kids and look after ourselves…during the pandemic.
It really stirred up some things for me.
Maybe because I’m so against trying to figure it all out.
Or because I feel angst and rage bubbling below the surface every time I see another headline about the number of caregivers (primarily women), who are thinking of opting out of the workforce because they can’t ‘keep up’ to both their work and family responsibilities as the lockdown restrictions continue and people’s work and home lives become more enmeshed.
I’m sharing my written response, in case it will help someone else feel a little less alone right now.
This is what I wrote:
I feel you on this one.
Current house status: Three piles of clean laundry (and growing) to be sorted, toys strewn everywhere, work to-do list ready but parked right now as I’ve been sick over the weekend.
But I did my bookkeeping, applied for a grant, did virtual meetings and completed a remote work engagement, in between watching our two kids (2 and 4) on weekdays with virtual school for the oldest.
I have done a LOT of mindset work and it always continues as a practice for me, around managing my own expectations of myself as a parent and self-employed person. Because when it comes down to it, not a lot of people are actually coming to my house right now (the Gov in Canada is cracking down with fines!), so we don’t really have an incentive to run around cleaning up after everyone because we’re the ones living in it and if we’re ok with the mess, that’s all that matters.
Think of your inner critic, the words you tell yourself, the feelings you internalize. Are the expectations you’re placing on yourself kind, forgiving and realistic? If not, it may be something to think about and work towards as I’ve found how I speak to myself really does make a difference and you can teach others how you want to be treated.
On a practical note, I use time blocking, batching tasks, whiteboard wall calendars, written lists, calendar reminders and we just ignore piles of dirty dishes and clean laundry and get to them when it’s ‘their time’, which means we’re batching those tasks too. And I have some pretty firm boundaries around my time, needs and how accessible I am to other people right now.
I have a free digital time blocking template (Google Sheets) I created for this, I’ve been using time blocking over the past decade before and after kids. Keeps me sane, helps me batch tasks and compartmentalize my days/weeks.
Send me a message if you’d like the link and I wish you all the best with the socks…I have a growing pile of them still looking for their missing partner!
Sending you and your family good wishes, do your best, it’s hard with a toddler and I don’t think I’ve been on top of anything since becoming a parent but sleep is a priority for me right now, so the messes can wait. xx
The. Messes. Can. Wait.
Unless tidying brings you joy (Marie Kondo fans that’s for you), then by all means declutter and decide how you spend your time accordingly.
Please feel free to comment below with what’s working for you (or NOT working for you) at the moment.
The free time blocking Google Sheet template I mentioned is linked below if you’d like to try it out.
I also made a quick video about the different ways (digital and hard copy) that I try to manage my time…because I’m that passionate about spreading the word to you and others. 🙈
Give yourself a couple of weeks to see if it helps clear the mental fog, structure your days and knock some tasks off your list.
If you’re like me, at the very least you can tell yourself you tried because you downloaded something in an attempt to experiment with a new routine, even if it doesn’t get implemented every day or you half arse it most of the time.
Do what works best for you and your family right now.
Big (virtual) hugs all around.
Stay well everyone,
– Amy (+ Family) xx
Download the free template:
Remote Work (With Kids) Time Blocking Made Easy [DOWNLOAD]
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