FINDING the right balance between being a great parent and a great employee can be difficult, especially when you're a parent of young children. Working from home in and of itself can be chaotic, with conference calls, noise from construction next door, dropped Internet connections, and other challenges — then throw a toddler in the mix and that can be the recipe for disaster.
Toddlers come with many demands and meltdowns, and you don't want to be a neglectful parent. On the other hand, you don't want your employer to see you as a liability because you can't juggle like a champ. But there are moms and dads who have been scoring big points in this area, and this week they share their best tips.
Tammy, mom of twin five-year-olds:
It's all about timing and scheduling. I keep them on the same schedule as kindergarten — including nap time. I also make sure that my office prearranges conference calls so that I can plan ahead to keep them distracted while I have to work. When I do have a meeting I will put on their favourite show, and lock myself in the office to complete my call in private.
Akeem, dad of a two-year-old:
Both my wife and I are now working from home, so we take turns. Even if it means taking the calls in the car, or going outside on the lawn with the computer, I try to ensure that my work interactions are still professional, with no kid noise in the background.
Whitney, mom of a three-year-old:
She knows that the afternoons are her time, so she's not as demanding of my time during the days. When I work, she's usually content to colour or watch her shows. And we both break for lunch and snacks. But you'd better know that at 5:00 pm promptly, if I'm not logged off she will take up my shoes and hand them to me, and put on her shoes, and let me know that it's time to go outside.
Kellian, mom of a one-year-old:
Thankfully, my work is more task oriented than call oriented, so there are not a lot of meetings or person-to-person interactions. Because of that I can pause when the baby needs me, and return to work afterwards because my job is flexible once I complete my tasks. I also ensure that I spend a lot of time with my daughter, and allow her to sit in my lap and watch me work on the computer. We also take breaks just to play her songs, and our evening strolls are mandatory.
David, father of a six-year-old:
Everything we do, we do it together. I'm in IT so I only need to take calls when something goes wrong. Otherwise my son can be at my side while I work. My office is also pretty chill, so even during Zoom meetings my son can be there beside me, and everyone will just say hi, and treat him like staff.
Anita, mom of a three-year-old:
I must admit that because my job has a one-day-per-week deadline, I save all the work for the day before, then cram. The other three days I spend doing early childhood lessons with my kindergartener. So on a Wednesday, the night before my deadline, she usually understands that I have to work, and she will be good for the most part since she knows that I will give her attention when I'm done working.