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Working From Home: Confessions of a (barely) working parent

Looking for the top #WFH tips to hashtag live your best life during the COVID-19 pandemic? This isn’t that article.

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Halfway through Day 32 — or was it Day 3?

My wife and I are still “adjusting” to working from home with our 2.5 y/o daughter.

adjust: verb, to move regularly between anxiety, hysteria, acceptance, and optimism––preferably on a schedule alternating with a partner or housemate’s own “adjusting”

So, since things are going so well over here, going to share

Get started early

This one actually hasn’t been much of a problem. Not that we have any choice.

Adapt your exercise routine for #StayAtHome guidelines

If your first thought was “what exercise routine?” then congratulations––you’re either a fast learner or you’re reading this while your child…Look, I’m not here to judge you. Between friends, let’s be honest: neither of us know what your child is up to now, right?

For a few days, we did try out some toddler yoga on YouTube. Our daughter was quite into it––especially the part of the routine when she decided to help herself to a snack and lie down on her mat. Other days, my daughter replaces most normal conversation with the phrase “I want UP.”

I’ve taken to calling this “Arm Day.”

Meditate, journal, reflect.

Here’s a rhythm that’s really helping my own practice these past few weeks. Put your fingers in your ears, drowning out most of the screaming around you. Remind yourself of your commitment not to scream today. Or at least to scream less than yesterday. Take your fingers out of your ears––someone is still screaming. They’re making quite a racket, so you can barely hear your child ask––for the 9th time–– “Why you screaming, Daddy?”

Eat a balanced, nutritious breakfast

Whatever three initial offerings the toddler refuses to eat, that’s your breakfast. As long as you draw from different sections of the fridge, you’ll likely balance your processed carbs with processed fats, so that’s something.

The first thing the toddler starts to eat and then decides they’re tired of? That’s your snack––now you have something to look forward to today. They’ll be demanding a snack within 15 minutes, so it doesn’t really matter what they eat anyway.

Get ready as if you were going somewhere for work

Is today your day to shower, or your partner’s? If neither of you can remember who showered yesterday, then split the difference and both wait for tomorrow.

Start work at a consistent time each day

Begin your daily check-in meeting with your team 45 minutes later than you planned. Let it be interrupted two to three times by coworkers’ children (not your own this time? Overachiever, you!), then reschedule for the afternoon. When you resume the call in the afternoon, another colleague will have children refusing to nap, and everyone else will appreciate the excuse to go ahead and cancel for good.

Make time for gratitude

Make a mental list of the times you didn’t want to cry today. If the brevity of this list also doesn’t make you want to cry, then congrats: this is what you now refer to as a “good day.”

Treat yourself

You made it through another day. It wasn’t easy, but you did it! Indulge a little bit––some dark chocolate, a glass of wine, ice cream. You. Earned. This.

When you hear your partner start to emerge from the bedroom, wipe the traces of your special treat off your face and glance at the clock.

It’s 10:30––a.m.

Time to head to your makeshift workspace. You have three hours to complete the workload from your eight hour workday.

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Christopher Lewis

Christopher is the co-founder of Fathering Together and the Chief Information Officer. He is the father of 2 daughters that are now in their tweens and teens. He started Dad of Divas, a blog to share his own personal experiences in being a father in 2007 and in 2018 started the Dads With Daughters Facebook Group to allow dads to connect, learn and grow together. He works in Digital Media on a daily basis, but also has over 20 years of experience in higher education administration.

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