Diary of a (Sudden) Work-from-Home Parent (Part 2)

Mistakes Were Made…


We began our social distancing journey Friday, so by the time we hit Wednesday, we were 5 days in. I was feeling pretty confident about our daily schedule and the days were in fact getting easier as we adjusted to the new normal. We were feeling cozy and I might even dare say grateful for the time together. We also moved recently. As in less than a month ago. This is wonderful because we have a little more space to meet this stay-at-home challenge, but it also means that we still have a lot of unpacked boxes and projects at every turn. You can see how this is the perfect setup for a disaster. Wednesday was, well, hard.


Now, if a friend of mine had asked me if suddenly learning to balance being a stay at home caregiver with being a work from home parent with no social outlet was enough of a challenge I would have told them “Yes! You have a lot on your plate – go easy on yourself.” But I didn’t take this advice. So on Wednesday afternoon, while my children were completely engaged in watching a CalTrans employee cut down a tree next door and while my home computer struggled to download all the apps I needed to work remotely, I decided that now was the perfect time to try and refinish a dresser. This was not the best call I’ve ever made.


Working from home is hard to master. But painting a bureau? That seemed pretty clear cut. Of course, it took far longer than I expected and was way more involved. And, the very moment I got out all of my tools and dragged the bureau outside, the children got bored of watching the tree trimmers and started squabbling. Then they needed snacks. They didn’t want to paint. Then the washing machine started leaking. Still, it felt good to work on something, even for just a few minutes. I like the idea of fixing things myself and I especially like the idea of my kids seeing Mom do it. But it was simply too much to do.


Needless to say, the bureau is still unpainted. It will likely stay that way for a while. The boxes are still packed. The laundry isn’t folded. Mistakes were made. But here’s what I learned the hard way – I need to set realistic expectations for projects. These early days are the time for getting through each day, staying kind and staying positive. Thursday was better. 


Here are 9 tips I found on working from home from CNBC that could also be useful:

  1. Be upfront about expectations.

  2. Set up virtual babysitters.

  3. Plan activities that don’t need supervision.

  4. Prioritize your schedule.

  5. Split the work in the household.

  6. Take mini breaks.

  7. Reward good behavior.

  8. Stress less about screen time.

  9. Get creative with office space.

Keep sharing your projects with us @kidspaceMuseum or @KidspaceChildrensMuseum and foloow #KidspaceAtHome!

Thanks for reading. Let us know how you’re doing and what you’re learning!

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