Stay-at-Home, Work-from-Home: Too Much to Soon?

In my lifetime I’ve had to make many difficult decisions but often had time to think about my options carefully and then make a choice. Like choosing whether to be a stay-at-home parent or a working parent. There are many pros and cons to consider in each scenario. With COVID-19, I did not have to make a choice. The decision was made for me…
As a working parent, my children had their routine and I had mine. We each had a schedule to follow. When to get up in the morning to be ready for school and work… What time to catch the bus and when to leave for the morning commute… Mid-year school year is not any easy time to change. Friendships and activities are established. Important learning is happening, big assignments are due, and testing is taking place.
This year many parents are feeling the pressure as they transition to being a stay-at-home parent while also maintaining other work-related responsibilities and trying to create balance. It can feel like a literal balancing act!
If you are starting to feel alone in the struggle, know that many other parents are there too.
Common experiences include:
  • Demands Balancing Work and Home Responsibilities
  • Feelings of Social Isolation
  • Increased Toll on Physical and Mental Health
One of the things that a lot of parents are navigating right now is how to separate (or integrate) work and home. As a parent, it may seem that you are “always on call” and depending on your outside responsibilities, it can be challenging to find the time, space, and energy to balance multiple roles and responsibilities with the transition to stay-at-home.
Some helpful strategies include:
  • Define parent and child work and school spaces
  • Set boundaries with use of time and space
  • Create a routine together
  • Communicate expectations and enforce limits
  • Reinforce positive behavior
It can also be more challenging to take a break and utilize social and self-care outlets such as getting a coffee with friends, working out at the gym, or getting a massage which can lead to feelings of isolation. If possible, rotate breaks with a co-parent while working together to tackle household tasks. The idea of the “good enough” parent comes to mind as striving to become a good parent while also being kind to yourself (and others) despite a desire for perfection.
Ways to help reduce social isolation include:
  • Schedule a virtual social outing with friends
  • Use apps for physical activities
  • Take breaks throughout the day
  • Engage in meaningful activities and hobbies at home
Finally, as caregivers, we often focus on our children and neglect to care for ourselves. Maintaining good physical and emotional health is so important, especially during times of increased stress. Strategies to keep ourselves and our families healthy and strong such as exercise, eating healthy, and maintaining health and wellness goals are vital. Many ideas can be integrated with children. Ideas include: