The coronavirus pandemic has fallen, I would say, like snow on our heads, taking all parents by surprise. Transfer to telework was not easy for anyone. Hence, here comes the stress, decline, chronic fatigue, and irritation. However, all this can be avoided by organizing the work of the parent and working activity properly. Moms and dads all over the world combine remote work and parenting for quite some time. During this time, they had the opportunity to make many mistakes, learn some lessons, choose the optimal daily routine and even come up with several life hacks, with which it turns out to work from home with children and find time to complete important tasks. All working parents had a hard time. Nevertheless, most often it is women who face the additional burden. How did they manage to find a balance between doing business from home and raising children?
The American Forbes Woman found out from female company executives what conclusions they came to about combining work and parenting during quarantine and what advice they could give to those, who found themselves in a similar situation. All parents have their own approach. After talking with the founders of various companies and inspired by their experience, Forbes gathered the best tips for mothers who now have to work remotely and look after their children.
The founder of the telemedicine platform for women, CurieMD, Leslie Meserve says the importance of locking the door to her makeshift office: “I have two wonderful children. They are pretty good at reading – except when there is a sign on the door to my bedroom (that is, my office) that says “Mom needs to answer a business call. Don’t come in if it’s not very urgent.” I could just as well have hung a sign that says, “Please burst into the room with a roar and loudly ask me why we run out of milk and why they need to unload the dishwasher.” I began to lock the door with a key during work calls. It worked great! However, I am sorry to admit that this system won’t work if you have small children. However, it may be perfect for those who have elder children, like mine,” the entrepreneur notes.
Leslie Meservé also decided to buy office equipment that would remind her of her usual workplace. “Hoping for the best, I first clearly underestimated how long the self-isolation regime and distance learning would last. Initially, I did not think that I should buy another large computer monitor, a comfortable wireless headset, and an ergonomic desk. I was wrong. I’ve recently ordered all this, and now I look forward to the moment when I can work from home efficiently in comfortable conditions,” she adds.
Invite children to attend some meetings
That’s exactly what Allison Evans, co-founder of Branch Basics Cleaning Products, does. She encourages all her subordinates to follow her example. “At this unique and difficult time, we introduced a completely logical corporate policy – children are allowed to enter! That is why sometimes our videoconferences are accompanied by giggles, requests, tears, nagging, hitching, and courteous reminders that you need to turn the mute mode on our cellphones. At such times, we, working mothers and parents in general, need to do everything possible so that we can all combine remote work and raising children. We can and will do it. We will become stronger and overcome all difficulties,” Evans emphasizes.
The founder and CEO of stellarreviews.com, the feedback platform, Allison Downey has a similar approach. “On the day of the school shutdown, I held a meeting for all employees of our company and encouraged them to invite their children to take part in it. Children still often take part in our morning meetings as silent (or not very) observers. Besides, I learned another important lesson. If I tell the children that I can play with them at certain times, they will not interfere with my work. For example, I can tell them that at 11 am we can draw together. Until that time, they will not distract me from work,” Downey says.
Involve children in your work
The founder of the brand of natural cosmetics Primally Pure, Bethany McDaniel, allows her young child to “test” new care products. “If I am experimenting with a new product or formula, I always let my three-year-old daughter apply the product to the skin and smell it to get her involved,” says McDaniel.
Sandra O Lin, founder, and CEO of KiwiCo Developmental Kids Kits subscription service talks about how her daughter accidentally heard her talking to her colleagues during a video conference. Later, the daughter noted that her mother’s voice sounded completely different. “First, I thought that it would be funny if my children criticized me during work. Then I realized that my children had a unique opportunity to learn more about who I was, and what I did. Now we work from home, and our children are in distant learning. Over time, we have more and more common ground. We learn more about who does what. In my opinion, it’s very cool that during the isolation regime, children can appreciate how versatile their parents are,” emphasizes O Lin.
Following the onset of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, Jeanne Pinder, founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts, a medical price comparison service, even hired her daughter. “My 26-year-old daughter recently moved from Los Angeles back to New York. She planned to start living again in her beloved city and find a job. However, the pandemic destroyed all her plans. Now she lives with us and works in my company while developing her journalistic abilities. Phoebe is a great journalist. I am glad that she is working with me now. If you have the opportunity to involve children in your work, do it. It will benefit not only your children and yourself but also your business,” Pinder says.
A clear daily routine is our everything
Amy Nelson, founder, and CEO of The Riveter Coworking Network, manages her company from home and brings up four children at the same time. She always believed that the key to success is the balance between work and family. “I have significantly changed my daily routine. Now I wake up and spend time with my children. I start working only at 10 in the morning. Before the pandemic, I constantly started working at 8 in the morning. However, I realized that for me the best way to start the day is to play in the garden with the girls, have breakfast, and draw with them. I can’t be productive from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. sitting at my desk and holding video conferences on Zoom. It seems to me that if I divide my day into parts, then I can work more efficiently and spend more time with children,” Nelson says.
HATCH Maternity Clothing brand founder Ariana Goldman also practices this approach. “In my opinion, the feeling that we have a specific daily routine helps us in one way or another. My husband and I start every morning from the moment of silence, for example, with a short walk. We also take a few deep breaths before starting work. So we prepare ourselves for what will bring us a new day (or another roundup). We try to check our schedule to navigate the flow of various tasks and video tutorials in Zoom. Besides, I believe that it is very important to end the day with a small ritual so that “work from home” does not turn into work 24 hours a day and 7 days a week,” Goldman notes.
Paulette Pantoja of Blu Digital Group says her main rule is stability. “We wake up at the same time, and then we take off our pajamas and put on ordinary clothes. We also eat and go to bed at the same time. It is very important for us. We wanted to create a semblance of stability. My husband and I are working full time, so we, unfortunately, cannot pay too much attention to our sons. This is really not easy! We are doing our best to keep them busy. Now they have a children’s table for games with water and sand, as well as a trampoline. They can jump on a trampoline if the weather is nice. We also turn on educational games for them on the iPad so that they can have fun and learn at the same time,” Pantoja says.
Put up with the chaos
Kimberly Lapides maintains a blog on eatsleepwear.com and believes that in these difficult times, everyone does what he can. According to Lapides, it’s enough. “I would like to have a magical formula with which it would be possible to achieve the perfect balance between work and family. But it’s unreal. There is no balance between work and family. There are good days, and there are bad days. For me, the key to success is to work while my son has a nap. Besides, late in the evening I sometimes pour a glass of wine and open my laptop to work on those tasks that I did not manage to complete calmly because I always put childcare in the first place. Before the birth of my son, I never really appreciated my spare time. But now that my little son is managing my life, I began to work surprisingly productively for those few hours a day when I succeed,” Lapides says.
Dipti Sharma from FoodToEat.com, a food delivery service, urges everyone to put up with chaos and disorder. “People constantly ask me how I take care of myself. Honestly, I just don’t have time for this, because my husband and I run two different companies from home, where we live with two young children. Therefore, I involve children in my personal care. They train with me. First, we do yoga and meditate together, and then do video training exercises for children. Now they constantly spend time with me, but it’s still better than sitting in front of a laptop in your room all day and just working,” Sharma adds.
The founder of the online platform for girls GOLD Comedy Lynn Harris refers to the current situation with humor. “It’s a perfect time for entrepreneurs with children because now they can work on the development of their startups. Especially if the main task of a startup is to make life easier for working parents. Suppose that you will develop your company at a turtle’s speed. “Turtle speed” is the name of a gin and pickle cocktail that you prepare on the 47th day of self-isolation,” Harris says smiling.
Being parents is not easy. But it’s even more difficult to maintain self-control and not turn into an “evil shrew” when your children need attention and simply do not allow you to work normally. If you still haven’t found that treasured balance while working remotely, tips from successful women should help you. Combining a successful career and a successful mom’s work is real! Patience and success to you, dear business ladies!