Hey, Boss Lady! Happy (snowy) Tuesday! I live in Michigan which usually means one thing in the winter… snow days!
I thank my lucky stars daily that I have had positions allowing me to open my laptop and have the flexibility to work from home when I need to. Although, I have to admit that it’s still an internal battle with myself sometimes to not feel guilty about it.
Most of the time I find working from home to actually be more productive - less distractions, interruptions, and travel time.
But, when I’m working from home because of having a sick child… that’s another story. Every action I take feels like a conflict. If I cuddle my baby too long, I start stressing about the emails piling up in my inbox. If I pick up my phone, I worry that I’m neglecting my kid. I constantly struggle with feelings of guilt and being unproductive. And for a high-achiever like me, that leads to anxiety and even more un-production.
For my own sanity, I set some very clear ground rules to make my last minute stay at home with sick kid days as effective as possible, for both work and life.
One. Prioritize the mission critical tasks.
There are going to be tasks that can wait until tomorrow, and there are going to be things that can’t. The sooner you differentiate these two things in the day, the better. Focus on the mission critical items, and allow yourself to let things slide into the next day if it’s possible.
Two. Work in bursts.
Chances are you aren’t going to be able to set aside 2 hour blocks of time to get everything done.
And that’s ok.
Instead, aim to work in bursts. Check your email for 5 minutes on the top of every hour. Work for 20 minutes and then take a break. Get done what you can, then rest, and go back to it. You’ll feel productive, and still get things done, without feeling completely unavailable to your child(ren).
Three. Ask for help.
If you’re anything like me, you felt a shooting sensation in your heart reading those three words. Ask.. for… help? As if it was some sort of foreign language.
Ah, mama, I feel you. I am you.
But this is critical.
If possible, ask for help getting tasks done that you can’t put off for tomorrow, but also can’t prioritize today. Ask for help from a friend or family member to be around the house for a couple of hours while you get something done. Have your groceries delivered. Ask for an extension on a deadline.
It’s okay to show your human side sometimes - and it will help you focus on the important things.
(Spoiler Alert: I’m still learning this one, too!)
That’s all I have so far.
Do you ever experience Working Mom Guilt?
Let me know what other tips you have to balance those unexpected work-from-home days!