Hi there, my name is Susmitha and I am a mother of two: the younger one is 3.5 year old and the older one is 9 years old. I am a working mum

In mid-Feb as the deadly virus was spreading and the decision was made for a lockdown, I was as worried as any working mum would be: two challenges stood in front of me. One was to keep kids at home and make sure they are healthy and happily engaged. The other was to deliver work without missing deadlines and keeping up expectations.

Having had the opportunity to work remotely in the past, I was fairly used to working with my kids around and managing it all with work, however doing this everyday is another story. This said here are a few tips and tricks I found useful to successfully handle the challenges.

 

But first…

First and foremost speak to your employer or client (if you are in a client facing role). I must say I am very lucky to have an employer like Cloud Integrate: I was able to adjust my work timings and it automatically helped with handling other challenges to keep the kids engaged. Especially in such circumstances, people are becoming more comprehensive of each others’ situation.  Secondly, maintain a healthy and good daily routine.

Here are some do’s and don’ts I would like to recommend.

 

Do’s

Start the day together

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started”. Start your day with pleasant music and some exercises/yoga together. This is the best chance to involve your kids in a routine start now that there is no rush to drop them at school/day care/travel to your workplace. A good beginning is half strength to rest of the day’s activities!

 

Be with them

The biggest secret to keeping the little ones (less than 6 years old) busy and not letting them disturb the older one doing their school activities is to ‘ Be With Them’. Yes, it works. Don’t let it alter your work, but instead involve them in your (household) work, speak to them about everything you do and ask them to observe or give them a chance to do it (if it is not harmful!). 

Whenever possible, also try to make time to exclusively spend all together throughout the day such as meals. The feeling of togetherness is more important in times of social isolation. My most favorable fun fact is also to watch shows they like together with them once my work is done, play imitating animals sounds and movements, share my childhood memories of happiness, excitement and lessons learnt from mistakes. 

Studious atmosphere at home with my daughter teaching her younger brother, recreating school at home!

Keep on giving them responsibilities 

When you have more than one child, let the older one be in charge of the other(s) under your supervision. 

It is a playful way to make them more responsible at home and it gives you time to get your work done.

It is also the best time to sort mixed up building blocks, puzzles, toys. Let them sort their things out while you let them play with them. One shot, two birds ;). 

 

Make use of their imagination.

It is only normal that kids start feeling sick of everything when locked at home for days but remember: imagination is the gift to kids…! In this case, it might be the best occasion to watch videos or photos taken on your trips or outings. Take them into the imagination of that day’s events by playing some games, clapping, laughing out loud. I remember a saying in my language which translates to  ‘Happiness is halfway to being healthy’. In situations like this, where you avoid going out for your own safety and health being happy is most important.

Don’ts:

Do not mix work and life. 

Adjust your work timings such that you have control over your circumstances. I recommend choosing your work timings based on kids’ sleep timings.

 

Do not get upset

While you allow kids to be part of your household work, they may spill off or drop down things. That’s part of life!

So, finally I would like to convey to stay safe and be happy in globally affecting situations and be ready for re-start. There is no use in getting stressed or getting panic. Be extra cautious to pass through hard times. You have child(ren), they learn from you.