Monday, May 11, 2020

Balancing Work Life & Mom life Amidst Quarantine

Last Friday, as apart of the Mother's Day message from my daughter's school, the administrative team dropped hints that in September (the new school year) chances are, homeschooling would continue. To take it even further, they gave us new resources that we would be using effective today, in preparation for our "new normal". After reading the communication, cuss words followed. Don't get me wrong, I love my daughter and the homeschooling because of COVID has not been THAT bad, but do I want to continue into the new school year, heck no! 

Honestly, I think that we haven't been doing too bad. All homework assignments are being turned in (whether late or not) and I am keeping my composure every day. Even if it means sending her to her room to watch Netflix, while I take a much needed break. Again, surviving, but definitely not prepared to continue for an even more extended period. Between homeschooling my 8-year old daughter, trying to come up with out-of-the-box solutions for me to remain valuable to my company, preparing for the arrival of my son (yup 4 weeks to show time) all while trying to keep my new marriage together (my husband's love language is quality time ), sis was not prepared for this to be my new norm. 

On Saturday, I spent most of the day trying to figure out homeschooling options in The Bahamas, to the point where I were I became obsessed. I realized that perhaps I was overreacting a bit and took a step back. Sunday morning, my awesome little family woke me up to lots of love. From breakfast in bed, to a clean kitchen and washed clothes, both of them got up super early to make sure my day was made. I had two naps for the day and the weather made it a perfect, stay in bed and cuddle experience (thank you May showers). They truly put my mind at ease. 

                          Today, I am in a better frame of mind: as they say, a Sunday well spent, brings a week of content!

Let's face it, we all have our moments where we feel like we are not doing enough. That was my moment, but now I am back. I was reminded by my husband of all the amazing things I have been able to complete for the house, on my job and even creatively, despite being on lock-down. As he said "this may have been your most productive season yet". So here are a few tips for how I have been able to balance and manage work life/ mom life and wife life during this season: 
  1. Be Realistic: Realistically, I can not do it all. I don't even try anymore at this point. I know what need to be done, I set up a task list based on priorities and I complete what I can when I can, leaving anything extra for the next day. There was a time in my life when I would be defeated if I didn't complete a task on my list for that specific day. Now I am comfortable knowing I am not super human and I can not do everything in a day, even if I tried. 

  2. Communicate Often: As simple as this may seem, this has made all the difference in my success as home-school teacher, employee, wife and parent. At the start of every new week, I send a weekly recap to my boss reporting on what has been done, outcomes and results and what I intend to complete for the upcoming week. She loves this, because rather than hunting me down and wondering if I am working, I give her the confidence that I am not at home catching up on trash T.V. all week long (although some days I am). I communicate with my daughter's teacher daily. From sending feedback on the new apps that the school is using, to asking questions about the assignments, I do not let days pass without connecting with her. I communicate with my daughter what her assignments are for the week and we discuss the best ways to tackle them. Finally, I communicate with my husband all day every day. My hubs really has become my best friend. He is my safe space. I share my frustrations with him and my joyous moments, the wins and the L's and it really creates a sense of comfort  that I appreciate. 

  3. Set Boundaries: At the beginning of all of this, I was getting work calls all hours of the day. People assume because we are not in office, it means that they can call and send emails at anytime and get immediate responses. Nope! Just as there are boundaries in the real world, there are boundaries in quarantine. I can not tell you how many video calls I have denied, like seriously, what happened to regular voice calls?! Setting boundaries can be difficult but in the long run are the best way to maintain your sanity. 

  4. Know when to switch roles: Remember you are playing the role of teacher, mother and wife, but it is key to know when to turn off roles and pick them back up. The first two weeks of quarantine, I was so focused on my daughter doing school work and not falling behind that I drilled her daily. She was frustrated, I was frustrated and ultimately the entire family was frustrated. Our evening dinners were not as animated as they usually are and we often went to sleep exhausted. For me, knowing when to turn off teacher mode and get into loving parent and wife mode was key. 

  5. Have Fun: Yesterday, in my daughter's Mothers Day speech, she said to me, she wished I could home school her for the rest of her life because these past weeks have been the best. She said she likes her teacher, the work is hard but I help her through it and the lunch lady (me) has been on point. HAHAHA  Fun is now an element that we include in every day learning, from baking to swimming, to picking flowers and even building tents around the house, including fun and excitement in our days allows her to release extra energy and not become overwhelmed with what is happening around her. 
At the end of the day, our kids will not remember COVID-19 and its economic impact on the world as we know it, what they will remember is how they felt during this time and the things we did to keep them going. Work life is tough, throwing homeschooling on top of it and entertainment can seem impossible, but with some planning and adjustments I guarantee you it gets better. 

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