4 Work at Home Interruptions Quarantined Parents Face (And Ways to Cope)

Amanda Clark-Rudolph

Work-at-home tips to help navigate the madness.

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Photo by Helena Lopes/Unsplash

Does COVID-19 have you working from home? If so, you've discovered those beautiful visions of typing on your computer while your kids play quietly beside you are nothing but a fairytale.

By now, you've found out that all those stock photos online are actors. Let's be real, what two-year-old sits and smiles at a typing mama?

Your reality: Kids hanging off your legs and dancing to the Macarena.

Juggling children and working at home presents its own unique set of challenges, and I can only compare it to walking a tightrope while carrying a stack of porcelain dishes - no easy feat!

So, in addition to these 4 work at home interruptions quarantined parents face, here are a few ways to cope. Because we're in this together and leaning on one another works wonders!

1. Pets

Have a pet? Then odds are you've been interrupted by your furball when working from home. In my house, there are rare occasions when both of my kiddos are FINALLY asleep, but that's also when the cat becomes Speedy Gonzales and turns into a meowing maniac.

I don't know if this is because my husband jacks our beloved Hemingway up on catnip as a joke or if he feels neglected after the chaos of the day.

I imagine it's a combination of both.

Regardless, our kitty wants attention and attempts to massage himself against my computer screen. After all, he's attracted to bright lights and me, so it's a double whammy.

Most evenings, this results in petting the cat with one hand while typing with the other. Eventually, I cave and end up tossing my affection-seeking pet off of me. Sorry, Hemingway!

Solutions

Option 1: Have your kids occupy your pet(s).

Depending on your kids' ages, they can play, walk, dress up, cuddle, etc., your four-legged friend - distracting ALL of your precious animals in the house :)

Option 2: During work time, put Fido and Fluffy outside.

2. Toddlers

My toddlers are not fans of me working in the back room. So, on some occasions, they enjoy pummeling trucks against the door while screaming, "Mommy come back!"

Not exactly the most conducive work environment.

Solution

Option 1: If able, get in your car and drive to a shaded spot. From personal experience, I've discovered the driveway is not always far away enough.

Option 2: Set your busy bees up with engaging independent activities. Ideas include backyard play, coloring, blocks, legos, etc.

3. Partners

As many couples know, lockdown 24/7 with your partner - while also working from home with kids - has its drawbacks.

Luckily, my spouse steps up to watch the littles while I work. The kicker: his man voice illustrates all the activities of the day.

"I'm doing the dishes now. Time for a diaper change. Let's leave the dog's tail alone." You get the point.

I do my best to ignore this noise fest. But it's almost like he gets louder so I can hear his "struggles".

Solutions

Option 1: Set work time boundaries. The rule now is simple: If you're working, you're not to be interrupted (except for rare circumstances, like a fire).

Option 2: Suggest your partner participate in a quiet activity with your kiddos while you work. Suggest watching a movie or naptime. Another option: Have him/her take the kids outside.

4. Housework

I can't tell you how many times I've sat down to work only minutes later to be picking up toys, dirty onesies, crusty socks - we'll stop there because you get the picture.

Before working from home, you may have easily ignored the dust mites on your TV, but quarantining brings all those neglected house projects to light.

Plus, during isolation with young children, your house gets double the use than before.

Solution:

Option 1: Clutter-free your work zone. I once cleared out a closet and locked myself in there. It worked.

Option 2: Set a timer for a specific amount of chore time before getting down to business. (Alexa works like a charm), Twenty minutes represents my go-to number, and when the time's up, it's up. NO EXCUSES. Put down the mop and tackle that memo.

You Can Do This!

I've been working at home for almost three years now, but before COVID-19, my experience looked very different than it does now.

For starters, my kids were in part-time daycare, and I used to go to Starbucks, where I was on a first-name basis with baristas. Also, my mind was a lot clearer without the added strains of a scary virus and triple the duties than I had before.

Despite my freelancing history, working from home with kids after the COVID-19 outbreak has challenged me in more ways than I can count.

But I also recognize how blessed I am to still have a job, my health, and the comforts of home.

It's all about perspective, and we will persevere; these changes will not last forever.

Your resiliency gained from parenting, in general, can get you through almost anything, including working from home with kids during a quarantine.

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Hi, I'm Amanda - a freelancing mama who writes about family, travel, holidays, and more! In addition to freelancing it up, I'm a Content Coordinator for neighborhood magazines. My favorite pastimes: Writing, slurping lattes, and playing freeze tag with my two sons.

Ocala, FL
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