My husband was out of town all of last week, and this week my youngest kids are out of preschool, so it seems like a good time to revisit the whole "how on earth do I work when I have to look after my kids at the same time" idea.
Here's how I've been managing. Without adversely affecting a.) my liver or b.) my reputation.
1. Give them some work of their own. My 5-year-old is about to start kindergarten, and she's thrilled with the idea of homework. Hahahaha! That'll change. But for now, I'm going with it. I've downloaded a ton of stuff from some of my favorite educational websites for kids, and tossed in a Kindergarten-level word-search or 70. She works on them while I work on, um, this.
2. Make a schedule (and share it with your kids). Work is, well, work. And kids are, well, kids. Kids -- especially little ones -- don't understand why the work is so important. Rather than make them feel second-best, tell them that you're going to spend half an hour doing whatever they want, and then you have to spend an equal amount of time (or more) doing the work thing. Be prepared, however, to do at least a some of your work with a 3-year-old on your lap. (OK, maybe that's just me.)
3. Don't be ashamed to ask for help. Late last week, my youngest son spiked a 102.3-degree fever at preschool and I had to ask a friend -- a breadwinning working mom like me -- to pick up my boy for me. She works around the corner from the school; I work 90-minutes away with traffic. I felt horrible having to ask for such a favor, but she understood and was happy to help. She knows I'd do it for her in a heartbeat. Your working mom friends get what you're up against -- lean on them if you have to, whether you're stuck in traffic or facing deadline from home, and be willing to be leaned on sometime down the line.
How do you keep your kids occupied when you have to work from home?